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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 6:54 pm 
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Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Hello, all.

I just bought a 2010 AI this wekk and I will have one day this weekend (Sunday) to take it out. I will be in the Tampa/St. Pete area and was wondering where the best place to wet it would be.

I sailed a 16' sloop many years ago, but I feel like a beginner all over again, so I wouldn't want to be too challenged by the trip. I would like to stop on some spoil islands/beaches for pics and lunch is possible. Any advice from locals?

Thanks in advance.


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 7:46 pm 
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BTW.... I DID search the forums and ofund some very good advice....I was just kind of hoping to narrow it down to the most scenic, with the most possible pretty, small surf beaches to periodically land on for photo pics, spoil islands or no.

Thanks again!


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 4:04 pm 
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lboiv001,

Welcome to the Hobie Island world. You will have fun on your AI...I'm a TI owner myself. I live in the Tampa Bay area. There are many great places to sail and fish! I will tell you that if you want easy launching and a scenic location, head out to Ft. Desoto. There is a bridge as you are heading out that is right before the Ft. Desoto boat ramps. Don't cross the bridge...to the right is a nice little area to launch your AI. You are very near Shell Key which is beautiful. You can also easily head out into the gulf. Watch the tides...sometimes it could be difficult getting back in from the gulf if the tide is going out. However, you can still get to Shell Key. Great place. Many other locations to...like launching at Davis Islands and sailing to Fantasy Island; Launching from Shell Point Marina in Ruskin and fishing/sailing in the bay (at mouth of the Little Manatee) then beaching it a Little Harbor beach at the Tiki bar for lunch (and your favorite cold beverage). I have not yet been to Caladesi and Honeymoon Island, but that is on my list as I hear that is nice too.


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 8:29 pm 
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Location: sarasota,fl
I agree ft desoto is a great place to go out the first time, there is a large protected area you can roam around in without having to go out in the gulf. I would hold off going out to Egmont key for a bit though, it can be very dangerous going past the cruise ship channel, and quite a few of us have got in trouble (high winds especially offshore winds and very heavy seas can come up fast.
If you have a trailer it's just as easy to launch from the public boat launch, but it costs $6 bucks. Many AI's and TI's out there on the weekends, I think most launch by the toll like mikesail discribed. I don't recommend going out in the gulf if the winds are blowing offshore (I never do) but banging around shell key ( both inside and outside) can be fun. If you do go out in the gulf just stay close to shore, lots to see on the south and back side of ft desoto with a lot of kayakers out on the weekends.
Hope this helps.
Bob


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 6:09 am 
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Good advice from Fusioneng. I would recommend only going out of Bunces pass into the gulf on a good day with not so much wind, no high waves, and on favorable tides. Like Fusion states, you can get to the Shell Key without going into the gulf...and it is beautiful. I find the TI easier to launch from the beach/shore area than the boat ramps...and it is free!

If you desire to link up there sometime, just holler. Myself and several others can link up with you there!

Mike


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 2:01 pm 
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Yea just save a trip to Egmont key until you have a few outings under your belt or you go out with one of us regulars out there. More than one boat is always safest and I think the Egmont key run is on the advanced list.
Bob


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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 8:05 am 
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I'm busy for the next two weeks. But after that I could meet anyone at Bunces Pass for a sail. I know Fusioneng sails with the Dolphin Island club...as I do too. There are several other TI sailors that I know that would be game to do Shell Key in a few weeks. Perhaps we can schedule a rendezvous. This time of year (afternoon thunderstorms almost daily) it is better to get out there in the morning and be off the water by 2 pm. I've been caught out there with a storm with 35+ mph winds....you aren't going to fight that with the TI....unless you are FusionEng...he can crank on one of his Honda outboards!!!!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:37 am 
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Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Thanks for all the tips.

I plan to head down there again in a couple weeks with the AI. I will give everyone a heads up on this site so that maybe we can do the fleet thing. This would be very cool indeed!

I was a little uncertain about the Egmont key run, but I intend to get a lot of practice in before I actually pull the trigger on it. :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:45 pm 
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Location: Jacksonville, Florida
MikeSail wrote:
Good advice from Fusioneng. I would recommend only going out of Bunces pass into the gulf on a good day with not so much wind, no high waves, and on favorable tides. Like Fusion states, you can get to the Shell Key without going into the gulf...and it is beautiful. I find the TI easier to launch from the beach/shore area than the boat ramps...and it is free!

If you desire to link up there sometime, just holler. Myself and several others can link up with you there!

Mike


Is it very shallow in the Bunce's Pass area? It looks there must be a great many pretty sites to beach at in that general area..... I am considering on pulling the trigger next week if any of you guys would like to join up. I will be leaving Jacksonville sometime Thursday and coming back Sunday/early Monday.

I will be spending time with my girlfriend the first half of Saturday, but other than that I am hungry to put in at that area, or at the shell point marina in Ruskin (with a stop at the Tiki bar, maybe), as suggested above.

Anyone up for this and available next week?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:03 am 
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Yep. I can get a few others to join. Saturday will probably be best...weather dependent. Easy sailing to Shell Key. Let me know. You can send me an email at:

rector.michael@yahoo.com


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:21 pm 
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MikeSail wrote:
lboiv001,

Many other locations to...like launching at Davis Islands and sailing to Fantasy Island; Launching from Shell Point Marina in Ruskin and fishing/sailing in the bay (at mouth of the Little Manatee) then beaching it a Little Harbor beach at the Tiki bar for lunch (and your favorite cold beverage). I have not yet been to Caladesi and Honeymoon Island, but that is on my list as I hear that is nice too.



Where is Fantasy island? I found Davis islands on the map but not fantasy island.

Thanks for the pointers, BTW. I am planning my logistics around the above mentioned places.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:46 pm 
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Location: Jacksonville, Florida
I will be heading down from Jacksonville later this week and will spend my 3 day weekend sailing in the beautiful Tampa Bay area (provided my job doesn't put a brake on my plans...)

I have recieved several excellent tips fom a few of the locals already, and now I am in the last phase of logistics planning. I just have to narrow down the best possible trips to maximize my precious time off of work. I will be busy on land for the first half of Saturday, but from Friday to Monday morning I am going to try to get in as much sailing as possible on my new (used) AI.

I have a few good choices so far......

1. Ft. DeSoto to Bunces pass/Shell island

2. Shell Point Marina in Ruskin to Little Harbor beach and back

3. Davis Islands to Fantasy Island (??? Not sure where Fantasy Island is)

4. Possibly Caladesi/ Honeymoon Islands....don't have a route for that one, yet.

Can anyone give me a top 3 or top 5 personal favorite day sail to select from? My aim is a relatively easy day (I have sailed before, but only once on an AI on a day with no wind, otherwise, I'm a relative newbie).....I want to be able to pull up/sail to a few scenic sandbars/islands, and/or be able to stop at a cool watering hole (Tiki bar at Little Harbor brach I'm thinking, but I've never been on the water in Tampa, so I am only going by forum advice and google maps/images).

Is there anything I might be missing, or need to take into consideration (besides the daily monsoon, of course)?

Are there some area with the cheaper motels that I should really avoid? For that matter, does anyone have some hotel/motel recommendations?

Any and all help on this is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

BTW, I wouldn't mind some company if anyone wants to join in.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:53 pm 
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Location: Jacksonville, Florida
While I am asking, Does anyone camp on any of the small keys in the Bay area? That would surely save a pound of gold on hotels.

Thanks again.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:10 am 
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Location: sarasota,fl
lboiv001:
If you can get a campsite at Ft Desoto that would be great. They even have some waterfront sites but unfortunately it's the busiest campground in Florida. They have some sites that can't be reserved in advance ( I think their called walk up sites) that always open up on Thursday first come first serve thru the weekend.
Shell Key is only accessible from water, tent camping there is free, but you must register at the rangers office (Ft Desoto). Of course you would park your car at ft Desoto boat ramp overnight ($6.00 per day with trailer). It's about 1/2 mile to shell key from the ft Desoto boat ramp. Shell key camping is dry camping (no facilities or water) so you have to bring everything you will need.
There are a lot of beach front condo's for rent at places like Madeira beach and if you can find them you can sometimes get a nice deal (this is slow season)
Hope this helps
Bob


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:55 pm 
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Location: Jacksonville, Florida
fusioneng wrote:
lboiv001:
If you can get a campsite at Ft Desoto that would be great. They even have some waterfront sites but unfortunately it's the busiest campground in Florida. They have some sites that can't be reserved in advance ( I think their called walk up sites) that always open up on Thursday first come first serve thru the weekend.
Shell Key is only accessible from water, tent camping there is free, but you must register at the rangers office (Ft Desoto). Of course you would park your car at ft Desoto boat ramp overnight ($6.00 per day with trailer). It's about 1/2 mile to shell key from the ft Desoto boat ramp. Shell key camping is dry camping (no facilities or water) so you have to bring everything you will need.
There are a lot of beach front condo's for rent at places like Madeira beach and if you can find them you can sometimes get a nice deal (this is slow season)
Hope this helps
Bob


As always, good advice and very helpful input, Bob....I really do appreciate it.

I am going to gauge it on the fly depending on when exactly I can arrive in the area, and if it is way too hot I will end up near the Dunedin Causeway and try to make it to Caladesi from Honeymoon Island, working my way south. I imagine I will be in Shell Island/ De Soto by the next afternoon.

BTW... I meant to post my last entry as a new thread, which I will do now.... I hope it doesn't look to bad to do so.

Thanks again.


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