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Old 03-09-2007, 02:03 PM   #1
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Im picking my new boat up in Ft. Lauderdale and will be selling her home to Louisiana. I have 10 days to do it in and was looking for some advice as far as possible routes. The Crew will be running shifts. This wont be a pleasure cruise, just point to point sail. This will be my first gulf crossing, so any advice will be appreciated.
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Old 03-09-2007, 08:16 PM   #2
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Im picking my new boat up in Ft. Lauderdale and will be selling her home to Louisiana. I have 10 days to do it in and was looking for some advice as far as possible routes. The Crew will be running shifts. This wont be a pleasure cruise, just point to point sail. This will be my first gulf crossing, so any advice will be appreciated.
OK, I am going to jump in here as nobody else did yet. Considering the time zones, some of the sailors on this board are sleeping, some maybe still in yesterday, some are already in tomorrow. I know that 3 day combination is impossible as we only have one sun, but you get my point.

We know the Port of Debarkation, Fort Lauderdale FL USA. We lack the exact destination the Port of Embarkation. That is a problem in connecting the dots.

In Map Quest I entered:

FROM: FT Lauderdale

TO: LA (That is similar to a drunk and very dizzy blind person throwing darts, in that we are not really sure of our target - just take a chance - pick a spot - depending on luck, we might hit it. If the blind person holds on to the dart, (or you never weigh anchor) the objective will not be met.

My interpolation of the information provided by MapQuest:

It appears as a very shallow draft through the Everglades, and than completely impassable beyond that wide river. If you could extend your 10 day schedule and wait for the predicted artic regions melting, certainly the passage would open and allow you to proceed to your destination; but that would be another problem.

Given the parameter of a "rushed 10 day point to point passage", with the second point being unknown, that information does not seem to useful in answering your question. SO....

Next I consulted my Rand McNally 1988 North American Motor Carriers (Truckers) Road Atlas. Oh boy we are on to something now! Here and now would be a good time to interject that I lived, worked and trained in Fort Lauderdale Florida USA, and get this: ON SHIPS! That alone speaks for and adds to my credibility. Add to that: I have been in Louisiana, but I must admit it was kind of up North near the Arkansas Border.

I'm sorry that I kept you waiting on the edge of your seat, but I had to explain all of that. I do have a solution! Which is:

Start the engine. You have one, correct? I'll assume you do. Putt-putt, chug-chug (gasoline / diesel / petrol unknown) to the East. Here you need to pay attention. Go East! But watch out for those big cruise line ships, cargo freighters, and tankers. TANKERS! Oh - oh - oh! They don't come into port. They moor and unload offshore, so watch for the buoys marking the pipes and protruding valves!

Whew! Got past that maze. Got draft? Not beer! - Free Space under the boat! Good. Watch it though, I heard it could be bad in spots and change in others. Good.

Look astern. When land disappears, alter you course to 180. Sail South for a while. Keep in mind your draft and that you need to go West sometime in the future. We don't know when, yet. We just know we have to. Well when? OK here is a good check, make the compass read bigger numbers. 185 - 190. Hold that course for a while, while looking to starboard for land. You don't want to go there (to land). You just want to know if Florida is still over there on your right side or towards the afternoon sun. {These directions only apply if you are where I want you to be in the afternoon}. If you didn't see it yet, make the numbers on the compass go bigger, but not past 270.

< Note Worthy and Important but a Deviation from the Prescribed Course >

Something important to keep in mind: "If you ever see land off the bow, on this leg of the passage, it might be Cuba. My latest research indicates it would be best not go there. If that happens, make the compass read anywhere from 270 to 360. That will not solve the problem of reaching an unknown port in LA, but it will give you some time to figure it out.

< Back on Topic >

When you see land, (that should still be the Atlantic East Coast of Floridai) kind of skip along the coast and follow it. You always have to watch for something. If you see ships, draft may not be a problem. Than again it could be. Unless you are to the ships stern. New Sailors Tip: "Let him plow the ditch in the sea, he's got a bigger keel!"

If you don't see land soon, now it becomes difficult. Now I'm lost as to how to help you. Call 911.

Should you happen by chance to make it around or through the keys, make the compass read kind of in the NW by N area, some place at and usually over the 315 number but less that 355. If you sail to long with the compass at or just greater that 270 and you see land ahead, that would be Mexico. Texas is a good target, in the 280-290 range. But that is to far West. Come back East some. If you think you are lost, pull ashore and just ask anybody. They are friendly Southern Folks and will certainly be happy to tell you where you are. Heck, they got them thar free road maps down at Bubba Gumps Gas Station! If the Folks tell you are in Florida, Mississippi or Alabama, keep going in Westerly Direction.

Oh I forgot to mention, if it seems like the wind is strong, and you are not making much progress, trim the sails, and check the anchor.

~ ~ ~

Manash:

Surely an attempt at humor. I don't know if it was a good attempt or not. (Future posting will revel that). I meant no offense to you or anybody from anywhere.

Welcome to a very good sailing disscussion board. You will find valuable experiance, good information, friendly and helpful people here. Although you probably already hate me, for my response to your question in the first half of this post.

I noted and wanted to point out a few important things. You did not not specifiy your destination, so nobdy can really provide a complete recommendation. I with no sailing experiance, question you as a new member to this board, depending on a shotgun approach to people you do not know, to provide sound advice and your source of navigation. It sounds like you are on a rushed schedule, with no allowances for delays.

What if the weather is out of favor? The wind blows the wrong way; doesn't blow enoungh, at all, or to much? What if a through hull fitting fails? You need to allow for "what if's".

You just purchased your yacht. Not having gone to sea trials you demand, expect, and assume everything is going to work like you want it to. Further, do you understand the systems and know how to make them respond as you desire, when you desire. I think your expectations are to high, unrealistic, and will cause you great frustrations at least; at worst endanger or risk lives.

Ten days - "point to point":

Is this a fair assumption? Somebody in the crew is taking 6 days off of work, and combining that with 2 weekends, which adds up to 10 days?

There is no allowance made beyond 10 days, as somebody must be back at work. You plans are pushing limits.

I think this is a fair assumption:

You and the crew are not familiar with the vessel or the passage, but have plans to sail her 24/7, day, and night to meet the 10 day window. What I percieve is that you are going to complicate things with "Darkness".

I am inexperianced, but I know things about your planned passage:

Parts of your passage are through shipping lanes, parts with shallow draft, debris left over from hurricanes, off-shore rigs, bouys, tides, and other things to consider.

Surely you were not going to depend on this post as your source, for your course of passage. Were You? You need to know your stuff.

It appears your question was not asked in earnest, or you are ill prepared for you passage and should not attempt it as you do not have adequate information to make the passage safely. Granted it is a perception and maybe a misperception.

Best wishes, good luck, on your decision, and safe passage.

OK. Start shooting back at me!

Manash is going to:

* Provide insight and explanations

* Defend himself / justify

* Never come back to the board - I vote he will and hope he does.

I am going to:

* Hope board members (especially Manash) understand my attempt at humor.

* Hope board members (especially Manash) understand my concerns.

* Watch the responses

* Be prepared to accept severe critisium.

* Hope I am not banished from the board.

The Board Members:

* May chuckle

* Bite my butt - maybe big time

* Confirm my concerns

* Provide a much better answer to the Topic Question - Mine came with a few flaws and errors.

Light House (formerly Admin) and Moderators:

* All of the above.

* Moderate & Control

* Contribute Experiance(S)

* Remove my post

* Banish me from the board
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Old 03-09-2007, 08:42 PM   #3
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Acqua Man,

Thank you. I needed a few laughs this afternoon!

It sounds like trucking the boat would be easier.

Blessings,
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Old 03-09-2007, 09:26 PM   #4
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Seriously ...

Fort Lauderdale to Marathon in the Keys (also known as Boot Key Harbor) : two days

Now you have eight days to round Cape Sable and proceed Northwest along Florida's east coast and see how far you can get. Figuring (say) five knots for a maximum of 24 hours you'll do a maximum of 120 miles a day. Times eight equals 960 miles. On the surface of it, it looks "do-able".

Now enters "hazards of the sea excepted" ... lack of wind or too much wind (this time of year Northers come through Florida with annoying regularity), insufficient fuel capacity requiring one or more stops along the way, equipment failure, mechanical failure ... the list of possible delays is endless.

All in all, I think you'd better have a good "Plan B"

Anyhow, good luck with your plans. Both of them.
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Old 03-09-2007, 09:52 PM   #5
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If your mast height above the water is less than 55 feet you could go up to Stuart and the across FL via Lake Okeechobee, out at Ft. Myers. It's about 125 statute miles across. That saves you about 200 miles if you went down and around and up again. Then you have to watch the weather.

The trip across the lake, and through the locks on both sides, probably 3 days (we did it in our power cat from Bradenton, two ten-hour days at 12 knots.), and two days to get to Stuart from Ft. Lauderdale.

Or go around the Fl Keys. Draft is a problem, but usually 6 feet. Then it's a couple days from Ft. Lauderdale to Marathon (125 statute miles, about) then offshore north to LA. This is probably faster, and you can sail for a great deal of it. Put all food and stuff you want on in Ft. Lauderdale and don't expect to get anything in the Keys, though you can pick up some stuff in Marathon.

edit add: we're in the keys right now and it's terribly frustrating to find anything, or to dinghy to shore from an anchorage. It's not quite as I say above, but not great.
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Old 03-10-2007, 01:47 AM   #6
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I would agree with the waterway through the lake, IF you are under 55 feet. We did it in two days St Lucie to Ft Myers.

Once into the gulf I did the trip to La in about 6 days running time, including a part way gulf crossing ( Cedar Key to Carrabelle. We were being plauged by a low pressure system that kept drifting back and forth across the coast, so had to stay inshore the rest of the time.

No matter what, on approaching La, I'd come in into Mississippi Sound, then run up Lake Bourne and to the Rigolettes. There's a great well protected anchorage behind Little Rabbit Island right by the railroad bridge to the Rigolettes. Big abandoned oil rig/tower ashore there- you cannot miss it. From there you can go up the ICW to N.O. and through Industrial and Harvey locks (I assume Harvey is open again- was closed in June) or up the Rigolettes to Ponchantrain as needed. I certainly would NOT attempt to come in past the river- the rigs are very thick out there and the water is shallow. We left Vermillion Bay last June coming to Texas and when 75 miles out of South West Pass we were only in 73 feet of water. You DON"T want to get nailed there with a frontal system for sure. Pretty easy to get OUT, not so simple coming back IN. Of course you COULD run MRGO, but you'd be sharing it with a BUNCH of commercial and it ain't that wide

Don't plan on any marinas along Missiissippi Sound- most are closed- Biloxi had one functional marina and Gulfport still doesn't have slips reinstalled from what I hear although the yacht club slips are functional.
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Old 03-10-2007, 11:15 AM   #7
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Thankyou for the advice, and I apologize for the generality of the question asked. I will have a licensed captain on the trip. He is going to be planning the trip, but I am unfamiliar with Florida waterways, so just wanted to get some ideas from this community. Im enjoying researching this trip and thankyou again for your advice.

Some more Info on trip that might help with your advice.

All Info has been dicussed with captain, but would like more input.

Sailing experience: Have been sailing a 28ft Islander for 5 years with father and have been on one trip to Virgin Islands. 40ft cat. So Im not unfamiliar sailing, but by no means a seasoned sailor. I have planned for more time to do the trip in, but would like to get it done in 10 days if possible, which my captain says is doable, (IF) there is no major problems.

--Trip Date: April 16 through April 26

_ Question: whats weather like that time of the year in Florida...I picked this date, because it beats hurricane season and most northerns dont make it down that far.

--Boat Info: Hunter vision 32

Mast height 53'

Draft 4' 3" bulb wing keel (should be able to cut through in Marathon. is the assumption corrcet?) From looking at charts it seems doable.

--We are going to Sabin Pass....this is located on Texas/Louisiana border.

any expeirences you have had with this trip good or bad or FUNNY would be appreciated.

Aquaman: no feelings hurt, looking back on the question I can see how it was very uniforming. After reading your post the second time, its kinda funny. By no means was my feeling hurt though and hope you get in no troubles for the post. I was just looking for general discussion on the topic, but looking at my original post, I can see it was definitly to general.

--thanks again
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Old 03-10-2007, 01:29 PM   #8
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Reference the Okeechobee Waterway:

Several references have been made to "55 foot clearance". My (admittedly older) cruising guide states that the Port Mayaca railroad bridge has only 49 feet of clearance when fully raised. Has the amount of clearance been increased?
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Old 03-10-2007, 08:13 PM   #9
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Reference the Okeechobee Waterway:

My (admittedly older) cruising guide states that the Port Mayaca railroad bridge has only 49 feet of clearance when fully raised. Has the amount of clearance been increased?
thank you for that check. *I don't have a cruising guide, and overlooked the fine print for that bridge when I was checking the charts! *yes, it has a vertical clearance of 49 feet. *Bah! to eccentric engineers. *or to tightwad budgeteers. *And thank you to heads clearer than mine.
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Old 07-09-2007, 03:30 AM   #10
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Im picking my new boat up in Ft. Lauderdale and will be selling her home to Louisiana. I have 10 days to do it in and was looking for some advice as far as possible routes. The Crew will be running shifts. This wont be a pleasure cruise, just point to point sail. This will be my first gulf crossing, so any advice will be appreciated.
Be sure to get the current forecast for the Gulf "loop current" Geo
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