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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:10 pm 
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Location: Columbus, Indiana
My buddy Jan is putting together a long distance trip...Key West to the Dry Tortugas starting the week of March 15th.

Sounds like fun! :shock:

Any sane sailors interested?

My usual sailing buddies Lance and Bianaca , jump right on it. So we will be on my 21SE. :P

Looks like 4 boats are already in to this adventure.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:26 pm 
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So tempting. Perfect end to the winter blues! Need to see if I can get crew.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:08 am 
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Location: Hanover, PA
Sounds a fun trip for sure. Website for Dry Tortugas has good info on camping.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:56 am 
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Let's hear more about the planning as it develops. Apparently it's 67 miles in all, the first 25 or so of it passing the last of the Keys beyond Key West. Then it's 40 miles of open water to East Key, and about five more to the park.

A 20 or 21, even an 18, sounds great for that, but I don't have one. Would have to decide if the 16 was feasible or if I should find a bigger boat.

The prevailing wind seems to be from the east, meaning a lot of tacking to get home.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:58 am 
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Location: Hanover, PA
Here's a good resource for weather averages down in the Keys for March.
https://weatherspark.com/averages/30220 ... ted-States

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:43 am 
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This trip sounds like a blast - I've always wanted to sail around the FL keys. I bounced your idea off my sailing buddy and he wants to crew with me. We'll be on my Hobie 20. I've been to various island hops on it in the gulf and it handles like a dream so the offshore sailing I'm not worried about. Is there a chase boat? Everyone have a VHF radio and gps? I'd be coming from Memphis TN if anyone around here wants to convoy down or make a pitstop by me for a hot meal on the way down.
Keep this thread and on thebeachcats updated as things develop please :0)
I'm hoping to get a couple more boats in my area to go!

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:04 am 
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FWIW that BeachCats thread is here:

http://www.thebeachcats.com/forums/view ... pic/15347/

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:45 am 
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Location: Metuchen NJ
For safety, may I suggest at the very least you file a float plan with the USCG. Even better would be for at least one boat to carry a Yellowbrick, APS-EPIRB or similar tracking device. I believe the Yellwobrick can be rented.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 6:36 pm 
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Yes this is Jan and yes there are Hobie 16's 100% in. I currently have a NACRA 5.2. This a bucket list trip and hopefully wind and weather will cooperate. I believe we will have a chase boat and yes this will require quite a bit of preparation. Bill has been and continues to be extremely supportive and will be a key the success here. All in all this will be an "Off the Scale" trip for both me and my son who is flying in from UofA for this trip on his spring break. :D


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 12:32 pm 
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Location: Sarasota,Key West FL
hawk592:
I'm from that area (we have a second house in KW) and sail our Tandem Island (hardened for off shore with engines, and massive sails) to the Islands west of Key West sometimes (never as far as the dry Tortugas though), the prevailing winds are almost never from the west that time of the year, so the trip out will likely be fun but the trip back might be a bugger, On a few occasions I have been quite a ways west of Key West during that time of year and it was pretty tough headwinds to try to get back to Key West for us (just FYI, remember KW is just a tiny dot). Later in the spring, or early summer is a little nicer for that kind of trip. If the wind are from the north, be very careful (not good).
The water that time of year has still not warmed up enough (still below 70f to 75f some years), we typically still wear our wet suits that time of year.
A support boat might be a good idea.
Hope this helps
Bob


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:43 am 
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Location: Charlottesville, VA
I'm still very interested. To me it will probably come down to the support as I would not do that trip carrying 4 or 5 days worth of provisions.

The return trip is a problem. Assuming a steady wind from the east, we're looking at tacking the whole way home. At the 6-knot VMG that seems typical for these boats, that's 12 hours of tacking, plus some rest and so forth. That's a lot and any problems will delay the whole fleet. Heavy seas will also slow that VMG. The Marquesas Keys would be a nice stopover (and still are in an emergency) but camping is not allowed by the Park Service.

The navigation is not really a concern for me, and of course we will be in a group so there's a safety edge there.

Anyone need crew on a 20 or 21?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:31 pm 
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Location: Sarasota,Key West FL
People tell us to stay away from the Marquesas Keys because of drug smugglers, they tells us to stay clear of the remote islands, that's what we have been told, though we have been to many of the closer keys (closer to key west) and never had any problems. I have no idea whatsoever if any of this is true, I'm just going by what my friends are telling me down there, and am heeding their advise.
Bob


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:56 am 
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Location: Lake Norman NC
Thought I had posted on this must have forgot to hit enter

Well well well here we go again on a long offshore Hobie trip. The great Key West to Fort Jefferson (Dry Tortugas) and hopefully back again. I have sailed and motored this area many times. This is not a good idea. One of the posts stated that it is only 75 miles which is true however unless the wind is perfect a tack or two or 50 tacks will slow the boats down quite a bit. There is a strong current that must be accounted for also the weather is not very predictable. There is not a whole bunch of daylight in the early spring and getting caught sailing at night would be no fun. There are many many coral heads just below the surface.

I have noticed that most of the boats interested are Hobie 16's which is a great boat but not intended for this kind of sailing. The mighty Hobie 21 is a better choice. The hobie 16 is much slower than the 21 on any point of sail the 21 will carry heavy loads. A tent food and water supplies will slow a 16 down a lot.
I have sailed around Key West- Rigged the boat on Smathers Beach-Sailed to Sand Key and most of the close islands and would never think of sailing to the Dry Tortugas.

This is my experience on going to the Dry Tortugas. Spend weeks waiting for weather to be good not perfect. Stocking the boat with food water clothes ice coolers life jackets vhf radio strobe safety lights. Good Gps and backup VHF and backup gps and current paper chart. anchor and adequate rope tool kit spare parts on critical stuff.
Started the trip a 06:30 and got home @ 7:30 pm sore and sunburned.
This was on my Hydra Sports 24 foot center console with a 250 hp motor going straight line at 35 mph or faster.

It would be fun sailing near Key West
Captains consider safety of crew and vessel carefully

Former Hobie Cat Admiral Gary
Hobie 21 SE Stars and Stripes
Hobie 16 (I have a two)
Hobie 14 and a 14 turbo in distant past
Four time winner and current champion of the Key West to Cuba Race


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 11:14 am 
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Location: Sarasota,Key West FL
Gary:
Good advise, even though I have my TI all rigged and hardened for offshore specifically for that area with twin outboards, and massive sails (260 sq ft), I don't think sailing out to Ft Jefferson will ever be on my list of places to go. I sail in that area just west of Key West often and have broken a couple rudders on those coral heads you mention, you have no way of knowing where the coral heads and shallow areas are there in the middle of nowhere. Once you break your rudder out there it is almost impossible to sail back to key west against the normal steady 15 mph headwinds from the east (thus the reason for my twin emergency outboards).
I do want to go out there, but I would likely tow my TI behind (or on) a larger boat, then once there use the TI to bum around.
I have a friend who has taken his 24 ft center console powerboat out there a few times, and he tells us that trip is brutal, he feels his boat is too small and prefers to go out there on larger boats than his.
Of course we are divers and spear fishers so most of our trips revolve around our favorite pastime (BTW spear fishing is very restricted out there), and our TI is just our means to get out there, so we are not sailing purists.
In my opinion a more fun and a little safer trip for a group of Hobie's would be north to south jaunt following US 1, then stopping every few hrs at bars and resorts along the way (nothing hard core). If it's multi-day then I would stop at a different resort each night, making my way from say Key Largo down to Key west. Many of the resorts we have stayed at along the route have facilities to store our boat for the night. Actually what we typically do is drive to the resort, then launch from there on day trips in and around that area (they all have launches), then go to another resort a little further down (via car) then repeat.
Like I said earlier we are not hard core campers (sleeping in tents or on board is something I would rather not do (LOL)), or sailers (if it's rough or cold and rainy, or too windy we don't go out (we are definitely not "hard core")), We do however like to eat at all the really good restaurants along the route and enjoy meeting people along the way. This is by far the most beautiful road trip on the planet in my opinion.
Obviously our boat is specifically rigged for this area, and we are mostly out there in the summer months (April-Nov) when the typical winds are 4-8 mph, and the water temp is tolerable (we are divers, and the visibility is too poor when it's windy and wavy).
Just trying to throw ideas out there.
Bob


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 5:07 am 
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Good points, all. My main concern revolves around the support needed for small boats. A boat needing help out there could mean four or more boats needing help, and that would be overwhelming for one and maybe even two support boats. Much better to be on a boat large enough to be self-sufficient. BTW I'm all ears about the merits of a 20 vs. a 21 for offshore sailing in general but that's probably a question better asked elsewhere.

As for the brutality of the trip on a planing hull motorboat, I can picture that 100% having been on boats like that but I'm not sure how relevant it is. They are flat-out uncomfortable compared to sailing.

FWIW the Largo-KW option has been gaining traction. The discussion (what there is) is happening at CatSailor but you might want to load up an ad blocker before you visit; it's pretty hard to isolate the content otherwise.

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