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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 9:04 am 
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Location: Lake Norman NC
Well well well Here we go again about sailing in the beautiful florida keys, Now the current idea is to sail from Key Largo to Key West, Sailing or boating in the Florida Keys is kinda unusual and strange and hard to describe. There is a lot of water around the Keys Right? Actually there is a whole bunch of water that is very shallow. I am talking Rudder dragging for miles shallow. Many areas have dug out channels thru the shallows that are very hard to manuver when sailing. There are hidden coral heads just ready to crush a rudder. Looking for a nice beach in the Keys Good Luck with that. Sand beaches are few most beaches are rock made of old sea shells. Bad thunder storms check. even water spouts

The Largo to Kew West does sound a lot safer and more doable than the Fort Jefferson Run or even the Trans Cuba Ride.
About the benefits and hard ride of a motor boat compared to a sailboat. I have been beat up on both. I can say that I have been injured many more times on any of my Hobies more than any of my motor boats. After all I do have a deep v Hydro sports center console the best ride on the water.
Former Hobie Admiral Gary


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 10:36 am 
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Location: Charlottesville, VA
gary eudy wrote:
Well well well here we go again on a long offshore Hobie trip...Well well well Here we go again about sailing in the beautiful florida keys..


It must be such a burden to have to read about sailing on this forum. At least you make it sound that way.

Shallow water, rocks and thunderstorms happen all over. People do long trips. They sail in the Keys. The people who are interested in this sort of stuff are gathering actual information, such as which stopover spots might be boat-friendly and which might not be. Have anything positive to contribute?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 8:08 am 
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Location: Lake Norman NC
I have tried to get actual info about the Great Florida Keys to everyone. I have been there done that on a real Hobie Cat many times. Please feel free to take your Hobie cat anywhere anytime as you are the Captain use my experience or advise as you choose. There are some great places to sail around Key West. Smathers Beach used to be a great place to launch and store the boat on the beach overnight. Good sailing during the day and good drinking on Duval Street at night. Sailing around KW takes most of the day however it is beautiful and close to land.
And yes there rocks and thunderstorms and shallow water almost everywhere but the Keys are a different place. This place is unique in the USA.
Your Hobie 16 should be ok for sailing around key west have fun. A hobie 16 to Fort Jefferson not so much.
Have a good time in the beautiful Florida Keys
Note there is a commercial high speed cat that will take you to Fort Jefferson for the day and lunch is included. This would be a whole lot more comfortable than sailing there


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:21 pm 
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Location: Memphis, TN
http://www.thebeachcats.com/forums/view ... 0#pid54031

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:33 pm 
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Location: Dothan, Alabama
I've been folowing this thread and I have read the other on the beach cats forum as well.

A little background on myself. I'm 27 and in well above average shape (active Crossfitter) and have been sailing since I was about 18. I've owned and sailed a Macgregor 25 first for a couple years, then a Watkins 29 in Panama City Beach for 4 years, onto a Montgomery 17 for a about 3-4 years and now a Hobie TI.

I have made two solo trips down around the Keys. The first was a 7-day solo trip from Marathon to Key West and back via Hawk Channel (the southermost side if the Keys). My next trip was a simple overnighter the first day I purchased my TI down in Tavernier in the Keys. I made a short overnight stay on Dove Key traveling from the bay side to the Hawk channel side and back.

Here are some Youtube videos of my trips -
Montgomery 17 Part 1 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vRBTTlWPj8
Hobie TI Overnighter - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4fFgZEpV-Y

I have contemplated making the trip to the Tortugas but after extensive research I have learned that it seems like staying around the Keys is the better idea. I thought about it on my Montgomery 17 (pretty tough sailboat) and decided against it. The trip from Marathon to KW was pretty exciting solo.

My next big plans is for a week long trip in the lower keys backcountry. I have been doing as much research as possible and have learned of several remote keys that you can camp on. (Tarpon Belly Key, Marvin Key, Snipe Keys, Mud Keys, and more)

When I compare the two trips (Tortugas vs Backcountry) I see a lot more options with the backcountry. You still get to travel to beautiful remote places but you don't have as much risk in doing so. If I wanted to make a trip to the Tortugas I think I would have to be wanting to prove to myself that I can do it. If I wanted to go there just to visit then why not take the ferry???

With everyone needing to take off from work, just waiting for the right weather window getting there could use up one or two precious days easily. Then the more important weather window is the return trip and with people needing to get back to their lives, this might end up forcing people to go for the crossing when they really shouldn't.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:33 am 
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Location: Sarasota,Key West FL
SailingandSuch:

Great video, your quest brings up part of the problem sailing in the keys, it's a left side right side of the road thing. There are only a few crossing points in the upper keys, and all but 1 require the mast to be dropped. Also there are a lot of low power lines, and very shallow areas, 'not a sailing friendly area for anything with a deep draft'. Most of the nice resorts are on the left side but the cool places to sail and snorkel are on the right side of US 1.
Hobie sailers meet Adams Waterway in Key Largo, pretty tough to get a Hobie cat without a motor thru there:
Image

Key West is also not all that sailing friendly, as there are only a couple places to launch in key west, many shallows, and no good places that I have found for trailer storage or overnight parking (with trailer). Also parking is extremely difficult and expensive pretty much anywhere on the island.
We have a house in KW, and are out sailing down in the keys often (when we are there I would go out every day if I could), I was thinking sharing a little local knowledge might help some of the guys who might be planning a trip there. We are mostly Scuba divers and snorkelers, so most of our activities revolve around those things.
Image

Image

Image

If you do go up to Cottrell key, this is the recommended route (I've lost two rudders trying to go the other way)
Image

We have a Hobie Tandem Island, that is pretty much rigged for our area and the typical low winds( hardened for offshore, massive sails, and twin hybrid outboards, .... basically rigged mostly for scuba diving and island hopping), specifically rigged to average 8-12 mph in the typical under 5-10 mph winds thru the summer, and we are not dependent on the actual wind or wind direction at all (the wing sail makes it's own apparent wind so we don't need much natural wind, or particularly care what direction its actually from.).
Here is a video of my rig (really boring video), it's a little different from a normal hobiecat or TI, but then again I live in the area and am out pretty much every weekend.

I specifically do not want to put anyone in danger.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaaBSQtlcA8


Bob

EDIT:
We typically only go out offshore when the seas are very flat like in the video, and the weather is perfect, I'm no hard core sailer, yea the boat can take pretty much anything within reason, but it's not a fun experience for us if it's rough especially far offshore, so we typically stay home in most anything over 8 mph winds. The main reason being when the wind and waves go up the diving visibility goes way down....We also most of the time have the boat way overloaded with dive gear and passengers, just FYI.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:33 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:23 am
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Location: Lake Norman NC
just spent some time looking at my nautical maps for the lower Keys and Key West. Brings back old memories of sun and fun.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:21 am 
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Location: Lake Norman NC
I had a beer or 12 with my best friend Ted and discussed the Fort Jefferson Key West tour. His latest sailing was renting a 40 foot cat with two diesel engines in Key Largo, He had the boat in the spring for 10 days and the weather never allowed him to sail to fort Jefferson. Indeed the shallow water ripping currents coral heads big waves kept him from going very far at all.
Back in the day we sailed our 16's around the island of KW which took a day and we went to Sand Key and spent a whole day Great times. note Sand Key is 7 miles out of KW
I have taken my hobie to the Keys and never got it off the trailer again very bad weather 25 mph winds all day and night, There were whitecaps even in the swimming pool. I know some will say 25 mph this is great well not so with a 100 foot wide channel that is miles long surrounded by white rock.
My real advice for what it is worth is to rent a motor boat. The rentals will even bring the boat to where you are staying.
some have commented that I am trying to ruin their Fun in The Sun however this is not the case at all. It is just that trailering a Hobie 2000 miles round trip and not having any fun is not a good idea.
For what its worth and no i am not trying to spoil your trip.
There are some great long distance sailing areas in Florida east and west coast
Sanibel and Captiva Islands are great
Daytona Beach is pretty nice
Charleston Hilton Head Edisto Beach Hunting Island area would be great
Myrtle beach up to Cape Fear
Carolina beach area
The NC Outer banks
Virginia Beach from the bay to Sandbridge beach
I have sailed all of these and all are much more cat friendly than the Keys
However The Keys are the best place to drink
Former Hobie Admiral Gary


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 25, 2013 6:26 am
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Location: Dothan, Alabama
Wow Bob!

That is some great info there! Thanks for posting and for the work on the photos as well, they are priceless.

I certainly remember that 6mph current around KW you spoke of. I remember getting a little nervous when rounding the north tip of Flemming Key. It was my first time navigating in a current like that, and it's pretty narrow where it rips through there. I guess I went through right at the worst time as it looked like I was trying to go upstream in a fast flowing river.

You sure have put a lot into your TI, I bet it would be a blast to see how that thing works. Well done.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:53 pm 
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Location: Sarasota,Key West FL
Yea there are strong currents all around the area, there is another strong one at the south west tip of the island trying to drive you into the rocks near ft zackary.
Yea we don't usually go up in that area around flemming key, it's too shallow most everywhere around there, and some of the channels have swift currents, most of the channels are all real narrow (hard to tack in those channels especially when they have a strong current the wrong way). That's why we stick mostly south of the island.
I'm sure there are lots of other areas we don't know about. My wife usually has to work in her store during most days, so I go out day sailing, on weekends we try to dive as often as we can mostly south of the island. I have a 4 person inflatable that we tow behind the TI with all the tanks and gear, coolers, etc. we also have a couple inflatable kayaks that we tow with extra people, we have gone out a few times with as many as 6 people (usually during lobster season), it has to be pretty calm and we don't go out that far with that many people, another reason for having twin outboards and giant sail (260 sq ft). That's our family boat and that's what we do. When we are up in sarasota I'm out in sarasota bay and just offshore pretty much every weekend. We mostly day sail, on the norther keys we usually stay at resorts then day sail from them. We like Fiesta key near islamarada because they have overnight moorings. When we have our camper our favorite place is a place called blue water rv resort at mm13, they have a canal and docks where we just keep the boat in the water for a week or two and go out every day. Bahia Honda is very nice also. We have stayed at the Koa several times as well. We like to have fun (lol).
Bob


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:17 pm 
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Location: Columbus, Indiana
I totaled my tow vehicle and can not make this trip.... :cry:

Two boats headed down from Indiana this week and hopefully they are ready and all well rested from the grueling drive...I hope the wind and weather is nice.

Keep us in the loop on your progress and the have the best of times.... :D

I should have a different tow vehicle in May just as the season get into full swing here in Southern Indiana.
We are planning a small party in early May at our regular hangout...Paynetown State Park.... :wink:

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:43 pm 
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Location: Memphis, TN
Doesn't look like I'll be making it either. My help at work quit leaving me to cover double the duties. Will be a month or two until I can reschedule time off work :(
Definitely keep pictures and records of the event to help plan he next one!
Tim

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Memphis, TN fleet 134
Hobie 20! G-Cat5.0 and 2 Hobie 14's
Photobucket now wants $100 to post pics on forums......... pass.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:26 am 
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Location: Lake Norman NC
so how was the sailing


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:40 pm 
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This sounds like a trip of a lifetime. I live in the middle keys and have thought about a trip to Fort Jefferson and the Marquesas for a long time. I have been there several times on 40+ foot boats in fact we used to go every summer for several weeks to camp and fish before the marine sanctuary ended all that. I currently have a couple hobie cats a 14 and 18. Due the their age I would not think of taking them that far offshore. I have been in some wild weather between key west and the fort over the years and some really bad storms even while anchored off the fort. I have been thinking about a more conservative trip maybe from long key state park around key west and back.


Last edited by shakyrudder on Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:42 am 
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Did any Hobie make the trip to the Keys and or make it to Fort Jefferson and back?


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