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Old 05-15-2018, 09:12 PM   #1
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Key West Crossing

We have a new to us Mainship Trawler 34.
We are planning a crossing from Marco Island to Key West for New Years (December).
We are interested in any advice members may have traveling this open route in a small semi-displacement Trawler.
Any input is welcome; weather, preparation, what to watch for, etc.
We plan to leave Marco at at sunrise and land in Key West mid-afternoon if all goes well.
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Old 05-15-2018, 09:39 PM   #2
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I have done that trip twice, but in slower 6 kt sailboats. I left in mid afternoon and pulled in to Key West mid morning the next day. It is a little over 90 NM from Factory Bay in Marco to Key West Bight. You can make it in daylight hours but you need to be able to make about 12 kts to get there in mid/late afternoon, but that should be doable with an older or newer 34.

The weather can be tough that time of the year. I did it both times in a sailboat in February and the second time I had 20 kts of wind and 3-4' seas on my port quarter all the way down. Was a nice fast ride, but those conditions would probably give you a rough ride in the Mainship. The first time was 12-15 kts and 1-2' seas and was very nice. So all you can do is check the weather. Seems like that time of the year the winds are often out of the NE.

David
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Old 05-15-2018, 09:43 PM   #3
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Where are you planning on going? Marina? Anchoring?

New Years Eve in Key West is great, but you need to have reservations, arrive early, and enjoy. Key West doesn't just drop a silly Times Square Ball.
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Old 05-15-2018, 09:52 PM   #4
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We are booked for 5 nights so we won’t have the luxury of holding out for the perfect weather window. That said I’m not setting out if conditions are miserable. I’ve experienced the boat in 4+ following seas and it’s no fun; the boat is much worse than I expected in that situation.
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:26 PM   #5
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Weather isn’t a luxury, it can be as serious as life or death or just really uncomfortable. A lot of boaters get into trouble because of a schedule.
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:49 AM   #6
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You might consider giving yourself the option of leaving a day or 2 early and anchoring out for that extra night or 2.

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Old 05-17-2018, 09:58 AM   #7
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been there multiple times. Marinas in KY are used to dealing with weather delays. In the event of bad weather some people dont leave so not all reservations could be honored. If the weather or forecast is bad just dont go but call the marina and ask
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:13 PM   #8
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You might consider giving yourself the option of leaving a day or 2 early and anchoring out for that extra night or 2.

Ken
There's great cruising along the coastline, but you are then way off course to get to KW.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:26 PM   #9
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We've done the trip a couple of times, though we were in a slightly larger boat and moving a little faster. What the others said about watching the weather cannot be over-emphasized, especially that time of year. But when it's right, go for it. Our first crossing stands out in my mind as one of my top memories.
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Old 05-17-2018, 01:53 PM   #10
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It's a lovely overnight or a long day's trip. As others have emphasized, pick your weather. At that time of year, the least favorable conditions will likely be a cold front which begins with strong southerlies and then clocks around to the NW and blows for 24 hours or so. Good news there is you'll always have plenty of notice and can plan around it. If need be, go early and anchor out 'til your slip opens up. Enjoy!
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Old 05-17-2018, 02:50 PM   #11
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It's a lovely overnight or a long day's trip.
The time of the year the OP is going has very short days. That is a big problem for us trawlerites.
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Old 05-17-2018, 04:09 PM   #12
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Semi Displacement boats generally don't like following seas. In that situation i drive from the lower station and depend on my auto pilot.
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Old 05-17-2018, 05:44 PM   #13
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head for marathon, faro marina, then key west if time allows. cold fronts come thru about each week that time of year. strong winds clocking west thru north, and may last for several days. makes for a rough crossing. good weather window, four days , will help. then you got to go back, A front in the western U S will take about a week to cross and hit the gulf. enjoy
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Old 05-26-2018, 10:16 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by daviddraper View Post
We have a new to us Mainship Trawler 34.
We are planning a crossing from Marco Island to Key West for New Years (December).
We are interested in any advice members may have traveling this open route in a small semi-displacement Trawler.
Any input is welcome; weather, preparation, what to watch for, etc.
We plan to leave Marco at at sunrise and land in Key West mid-afternoon if all goes well.
Hi David -

Just seeing this and thought you might find our write-up on our crossing from Marco to Key West helpful: Marco Island to Key West, Florida – Boat. Plans. Life..

Cheers!
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Old 05-26-2018, 10:20 PM   #15
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Our first crossing stands out in my mind as one of my top memories.
Same here. I left Fort Meyers in the afternoon. Temp was in the upper 70's all night long. The wind was about 8-10 just aft of the beam. Waves were about 1 foot the whole time. I was on a sailboat and flew full sail and made near hull speed the entire trip. The only boat I saw once I left the Fort Meyers area was the ferry. The only hazard was crab pots, which were mainly a problem for the last 15 miles or so. Arrived in Key West about noon after one of the best sails of my life.

Leaving Fort Meyers I headed SW until I was about 20 miles offshore, then headed straight for KW. This was in April IIRC.
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Old 05-27-2018, 06:27 AM   #16
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We made that trip about 2 years ago and what we did to break up the 90 mile run was to go to Marco Island and then spent the next night at Shark Island and then went into Key west the next day. Easy trip that way
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