Welcome anonymous guest

Please Support
TheBeachcats.com

Beach Launch Okaloosa Island  Bottom

  • So a few weeks ago I took the Hobie to Okaloosa Island with me on the family beach vacation. Let’s just say it was a learning experience. Growing up in that area back in the 70’s and 80’s it was common to see Hobie Cats on the beach for rent and whatnot but that isn’t the case anymore. I was determined that I was going to have my Hobie on the beach though and took precautions to not interfere with all the beach chairs and swimmers by launching early in the morning before it got too crowded. I set up the boat on the trailer in the parking lot of The Boardwalk, formally known as Wayside park and was directly at the access corridor. I found out from a nice man in a truck that if I blocked the corridor I would be “wearing a ticket” if the sheriffs Deputy saw me so it was a hurried process to get the boat off the trailer and onto the cat trax pushing through the sand and out of the “emergency corridor”. Yeah that was a lot of fun there. Down at the waterline it all went fairly well and we hit the water. The surf wasn’t very high and there was a nice breeze and off we went sailing towards Destin from the fishing pier. It was a really nice sail, nothing outrageous and most of you on here would have been bored to death but I was enjoying the peacefulness of it all and how the boat handled the rolling waves and all. We surfed in after about an hour or so, needed sunscreen and got some breakfast. I had the boat parked in an empty part of the beach at Beasley State Park and she got all kinds of attention. People were taking pictures of the boat, taking selfies with the boat and a young couple with two small children were standing at the boat when I came walking up to it for another sail and I asked the kids if they would like to sit on it. The Mom asked me “are you sure”? And I was like, oh yeah go ahead, so she put the young boy and girl up onto the tramp and I started showing them what everything does on the boat and they absolutely loved it, I really enjoyed that. Not long after they left we started back out and the surf had built up a bit and somehow my glasses came off and my phone was ripped out of a pocket on my life vest, the zipper was still zipped. Sadly, that was the end of my sailing for the day, also ripped my swim trunks. I had a great time anyway and know that I will change some things the next time I beach launch for sure. It’s kind of a pain in the butt to launch at the Island with everyone telling me it wasn’t allowed, blah blah blah, I did it and would do a few things different the next time but all in all, I loved it and loved the attention that my Hobie got.
    By the way, Damon, I met a really nice man named Tom Clark that said he knows you and a few others on here, though he is not a member. He was from Memphis Tennessee if I recall correctly. Really nice guy, he and his family were sailing in the bay. I wasn’t taking my boat out that day, but when I saw the tequila sunrise sails of a Hobie Cat from my balcony, I had to go check it out. Anyway, sorry for such the long post guys and I hope that you all enjoy the read.



    Edited by martyr on Jun 21, 2019 - 09:13 PM.

    --
    Marty
    1984 Hobie 16 Redline Yellow Nationals, "Yellow Fever"
    Opelika, Al / Lake Martin
    --
  • Nice job, and tip of the hat for getting out there and making it happen. How are the water and beaches there? I'm imagining clean, clear and beautiful.

    It's too bad you had to stress out over whether you'd be hassled or even ticketed for merely trying to launch. Seems sometimes you really have to want it just to do a little cat sailing.

    Can relate to the idea of wanting to go back and recreate the happy sailing memories of youth. Turns out that sailing as an adult, where you have to own, maintain, store, tow and launch a boat, possibly worry about breaking down, being towed or ticketed, etc., ends up being not quite the same as those carefree memories of youth, where probably your dad or some other adult fixed it so all you had to do was jump on and start having fun without ever thinking about the other stuff. (Kudos/nod to all the dads that made it happen.) Still worth it once you finish though.



    Edited by CatFan57 on Jun 22, 2019 - 12:38 PM.

    --
    1998 P18.2
    Sailing out of SHBCC, NJ
    --
  • Haha, thanks. I grew up in that area and had a Hobie 14 but had never launched it from the beach. The summer of ‘87, I lived in a rental house on a somewhat private drive and beach, place called Tango-Mar, just west of the Sandestin Beach Resort, and there was a little Sea Snark at the house that I had access to, used to take it out off the beach all the time and had a blast that summer. Yeah, I was dead set I was going to beach launch no matter what. I was very careful to stay away from swimmers and all. The water there is very clear most of the time, beaches are pure white sugar!!! I go back every year, and will do it again for sure.

    --
    Marty
    1984 Hobie 16 Redline Yellow Nationals, "Yellow Fever"
    Opelika, Al / Lake Martin
    --
  • You are lucky the cop didn't get you! This kind of act may get us banned from any sailing events on the beach in the future. Please refrain in the future so those of us who live here don't get caught up in it. There is a launch site at the park on the inside and you can go out the pass from there. Change happens.
  • wxguyThere is a launch site at the park on the inside and you can go out the pass from there.


    Where, what park? (Hoping to check the area out at some point.)

    --
    1998 P18.2
    Sailing out of SHBCC, NJ
    --
  • There is a park with a launch that is the first thing you get to on 98 when headed into Fort Walton from Destin. It’s easy to find. I assume it’s the same one that wxguy mentioned as it’s good access to the pass



    Edited by jalex on Jun 23, 2019 - 09:15 PM.
  • Wow, banned from sailing events at the beach? Really? Are you kidding me? What events are you referring to?
    If anyone of authority had actually said to not use the access then I would not have used it. That access has been used to launch beachcats in the past, and a jet ski rental company uses it to get their jet skis to the beach as well, so what’s the problem with using it for getting a Hobie Cat down to the beach? The only real concern from the nice man in the truck, (he worked for a beach clean up service), was blocking the access, which I wasn’t doing. I also made sure that it was early enough in the morning as to not be in the way of the clean up crews or beach chair rental people.
    Yes there are a couple of parks on the bay side of the island, Gulf Islands National Seashore, which I have launched from before and Marler Park which is at the end of Santa Rosa blvd, both are nice launch sites for sailing in the bay. Oh and by the way, I did see a deputy riding a 4 wheeler down the beach, went right past my Hobie which was sitting there with sails up and he didn’t say a word about not being allowed to launch off the beach. Hope that puts you at ease a bit, I definitely was not wanting to cause any trouble or put anyone in harms way, I just wanted to launch my “beachcat” off the beach like it was made to do, so I did.

    --
    Marty
    1984 Hobie 16 Redline Yellow Nationals, "Yellow Fever"
    Opelika, Al / Lake Martin
    --
  • Martyr,

    Have you try to launch at the Chicken Bone ramp right before the entrance to Fort Pickens ?

    I have used that spot in the pass with my kids without a problem. icon_cool

    --
    Bill 404 21SE
    --
  • I am not familiar with this area but wxguy's post has merit

    it is really important to contact the city before launching if you are not aware of the local laws - it could put a black eye on beachcats
  • No, that would be on the Pensacola end of the Island, I was in Ft Walton. If I was military I probably could’ve used the Elgin AFB Officers Club property. There is a very wide and flat access there and the club is at the Destin end of the island. I think the only real issue with the access that I used is blocking, you don’t want to block it, I didn’t have it blocked so it should not have been a problem. There is a Sheriff’s office at one end of the Boardwalk and I walked down there to try to talk with someone of authority but there wasn’t anyone around. I arrived on the island on a Saturday and waited until early Monday morning to launch in order to avoid the crowds. I grew up down there and love it there. I have read posts before of other beachcatters using this same access point so...

    --
    Marty
    1984 Hobie 16 Redline Yellow Nationals, "Yellow Fever"
    Opelika, Al / Lake Martin
    --

This list is based on users active over the last 60 minutes.