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Old 03-04-2019, 03:51 PM   #1
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Key west

heading to Key West from Punta Gorda for the first time. Plan is to leave April 1st and spend the night in Marco , then weather permitting leaving at the crack of dawn for Key West. Having never done this trip before , any information you could share would be great. We will be on our Mainship 34 Pilot and we cruise at 15 knots.
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Old 03-04-2019, 04:58 PM   #2
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I have done Marco to Key West a couple of times overnight in a 6 kt sailboat. But leaving at the crack of dawn and cruising 15 kts you can easily make it in the daylight.


Nothing particularly special about the trip. Clear the Romano shoals outside of Marco and head straight for the first marker on the KW NW channel.


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Old 03-04-2019, 05:20 PM   #3
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You can do it in one long day. Try to get wind on the stern. Easy run go into Shark River for the night.

We stayed at Stock Island Marina for a couple months. They also bought A&B downtown.
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Old 03-05-2019, 07:58 AM   #4
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I did this trip yesterday only I began in Key West and ended in Naples. 104nm, I did 90 of them at 10kts and 14 at 15kts. We left Key West Harbour Marina on Stock Island a bit after 6am and arrived in Naples at 4:15pm.

Keep an eye open for crab pots they get thicker as you near the 1/2 way point of the crossing.
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Old 03-05-2019, 09:14 AM   #5
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An easy trip in good weather. If the forecast is not good wait.
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Old 03-05-2019, 09:15 AM   #6
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If the weather is right, it's an easy trip. (Guess that's true of all trips) Woodland Hills is right about the crab pots. They're near shore on both ends, you'll find lines of them offshore, and there are some about in the middle, too. They can be a bit pesky so keep your eyes peeled.
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Old 03-05-2019, 09:45 AM   #7
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Key west

Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
I have done Marco to Key West a couple of times overnight in a 6 kt sailboat. But leaving at the crack of dawn and cruising 15 kts you can easily make it in the daylight.


Nothing particularly special about the trip. Clear the Romano shoals outside of Marco and head straight for the first marker on the KW NW channel.


David

I did the jump from Key West to Marco Island back in 2015 in my semi-slow 7-7.5 knot boat. I did it solo in mid June and had nice calm weather. Left KW at first light and anchored in Smokehouse Bay around sundown.

Is Smokehouse Bay still a good spot after Irma? It was a long winding way to get in there IIRC.

With the sails installed now I like to go a little slower (quieter) and play like Iím sailing, around 6.5 knots. Planning on going to KW in April then up to a good jump off spot for Bimini. Do you remember what time you left Marco for your overnight cruise? My night vision is not too good anymore. Or maybe I will just go 7.5 knots and do it in the daylight hours.
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Old 03-06-2019, 04:08 PM   #8
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What is the right weather for making the trip?
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Old 03-06-2019, 07:03 PM   #9
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Wind on your stern is nice. Can be a great ride.

The islands will protect you from most wave action if it gets bumpy.

Just a short time of open water exposure.

Watch the Key West channel entrance!!!!!!!!

The Key West main channel jetties can be underwater. Go into the mouth and stay in the channel.

I have watched two boats cut the entrance and hit the rocks.

Go by the waterfront area before docking.
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Old 03-06-2019, 07:06 PM   #10
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Just reread the post, we left at day break or before from Shark River. Never left from Marco but ran to it from KW.

Was a long day at 7-7.5 knots.

Watch the crab balls. They are thick.
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Old 03-06-2019, 07:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhodewaves View Post
heading to Key West from Punta Gorda for the first time. Plan is to leave April 1st and spend the night in Marco , then weather permitting leaving at the crack of dawn for Key West. Having never done this trip before , any information you could share would be great. We will be on our Mainship 34 Pilot and we cruise at 15 knots.
Nothing to add, other than I'm across from you at the marina. Small world.

Good luck with your trip, we're planning to do the same this summer.
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Old 03-06-2019, 07:58 PM   #12
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What is the right weather for making the trip?

Depends on the captain and the boat, but for me and my boat if itís over 3-4í short period waves on the bow or beam thatís not the right weather for a 10-12 hour cruise. If itís a following sea itís not bad.
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Old 03-15-2019, 02:15 PM   #13
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In Marco, Smokehouse Bay is still a fine anchorage. Esplanade Marina is there too and has everything there, or near by walk. No fuel.
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Old 03-15-2019, 02:38 PM   #14
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We did a very extensive write up on our trip from Marco to Key West including weather advice here: https://myoloh.com/marco-island-to-key-west-florida/
This was from a February travel day but it's still a good baseline of info - hope it helps.

It can be a spectacular trip as long as you pick your day. It can be quite unpleasant if you throw caution to the wind. It always bears repeating: the worst thing to have on a boat is a schedule. Plan carefully and enjoy!
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Old 03-15-2019, 04:20 PM   #15
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Reverse route

We did reverse in our Mainship. See link. Lots of biting bugs in Little Shark River!

http://pathfinderlog.blogspot.com/2007/11/?m=0
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Old 03-15-2019, 04:53 PM   #16
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In Marco, Smokehouse Bay is still a fine anchorage. Esplanade Marina is there too and has everything there, or near by walk. No fuel.

Thanks!
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Old 03-15-2019, 07:18 PM   #17
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For fun and extra local knowledge
Get Cruising Guide to the Keys by Claiborne S. Young
Young also had a Guide the West Coast of Fl

And a second guide is by Frank Papy…
Check Amazon....sometimes very cheap for a used copy
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Old 03-17-2019, 05:09 PM   #18
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Made this trip last month

We made the trip
from Marco to Key West last month in our Beneteau 34ST. We averaged 12.5 knots, 8 hours down, 9 hours back. The return trip took longer because on the trip down we fought those G.D. Crab pots for almost the entire way. On the way back, based on advice we got in Key West, we headed out beyond the 10 fathom line. It added an hour to the trip but it was SO MUCH EASIER!! Obviously we still needed to keep a sharp eye out but we reduced the number of crab pits by 60-80%. We stayed at the Galleon which has a great location and restaurant, although it ainít cheap.
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