First post, First trip

Thread starter #1
Hi, my name is Austin. I'm 21 years old and have been sailing for about 6 or 7 years now with my sunfish. I live on a river so I have gotten plenty of expirence. I live in Florida and this December I am planning on doing a trip from Key Biscayne to Key West in my sunfish with a friend in hers. This will be the first trip like this for me. I thought I'd pop over here and see what kind of advice ya'll could offer on doing a trip like this. I figure I'll alot a week overall to give time to stop at each key and enjoy the trip without trying to rush.

I'm open for any stories of trips on your sunfishes, and certainly open to tips or advice on planning the trip.
 
#2
Austin! Good to have you here.

Going from Biscayne to Key West is quite a trek.... but it'll be great. While I was down in Ft Lauderdale, I did a similar "Island Hop", but not quite as far..... and then earlier this year I did a voyage from Dauphin Island to New Orleans along the northern Gulf of Mexico. There's nothing quite like voyaging in a tiny boat.

You've got the right idea about enjoying the stops along the way. On my New Orleans trip, I stopped at the various islands that dot the coast.... Dear Island, Cat Island, and Ship Island.... and really just beach-bummed it for a week or so. I even spent the night at an old Civil War Fort along the way. It was really COOL!

Advise: work out your storage before you go. I rigged a set of bungie cords on my deck, kayak style, and they really helped me carry what I needed. There's a post here at Sunfish Talk about how I rigged it. The other thing: bring a wide brimmed hat, with a string to tie it around your chin..... and wear a light cotton long sleeve shirt. It always amazes me how brutal the sun can be on a long Trek in an open boat.

Good luck! and let us know how the trip goes.
 
#3
Hi, my name is Austin. I'm 21 years old and have been sailing for about 6 or 7 years now with my sunfish. I live on a river so I have gotten plenty of expirence. I live in Florida and this December I am planning on doing a trip from Key Biscayne to Key West in my sunfish with a friend in hers. This will be the first trip like this for me. I thought I'd pop over here and see what kind of advice ya'll could offer on doing a trip like this. I figure I'll alot a week overall to give time to stop at each key and enjoy the trip without trying to rush.

I'm open for any stories of trips on your sunfishes, and certainly open to tips or advice on planning the trip.

Sounds exciting!

I'll throw in a few things I'm sure you know about already, but might be new to someone.

Anytime from now until April should be really nice, but it goes without saying to track the weather. You will be mostly reaching which will be really nice, and if you are lucky you will have that steady 15mph breeze through long days. I certainly have never done anything like this however when I have Sunfish-sailed in the keys I have found the leeward sides of the islands really fast and enjoyable, since you still get that steady and constant breeze but on that side of the islands you have generally flat water, so you can really fly without getting beat up. It's the best Sunfish sailing imaginable and I envy you for that.

You mention having plenty of Sunfish sailing experience so my only sailing advice would be to keep your sail positioned lower than some might be used to recreationally, and be sure to always use some vang on the gooseneck and don't be afraid to crank it down early. Personally for this kind of trip in the breeze you are likely to get I would 'set and forget' the outhaul and downhaul settings fairly tight and keep on plenty of vang as the wind will likely build during the day, but everyone will have their own ideas. For me, simplicity wins out. Knowing the wind would build while I'm out there I'd set the gooseneck back further and vang down (did I mention that?). My own experience even on the leeward side of the keys is that it's wise to set up anticipating heavy air, and it is easier to set up that way early than make adjustments out there.

I would be sure to carry extra sail ties tied off where you can reach them, make sure your fittings are all in good shape, and that your hiking strap is sturdy and comfortably padded and things generally reinforced. If it were me I would be sure to have high quality lines and a mainsheet block with good gripping teeth. Or I might consider using the larger size Harken hexaratchet. I'd be liberal with the mainsheet hangars and use a few.

As you probably know Florida has a nicely organized state circumnavigation trail for kayaks and I would take advantage of that. In it they have the state coastline broken down into easy segments, including detailed maps showing where you can obtain fresh water, resupply, camp legally, etc, along the way. They also have some good safety tips and safety gear requirements.

http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/paddling/saltwater.htm

Segment write-up covering a portion of your trip.
http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/paddling/Segments/Segment15/Segment%2015.htm
Here is a map sample:
http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/paddling/Segments/Segment15/PDF/Seg15MapsMM50-27.pdf

Seven days sounds ambitious, especially if you are making stops, but it sure does sound fun! I'm envious.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#4
I'd be concerned with mosquitoes and no-see-ums: even the best-run mosquito control in the Florida Keys doesn't assure their best results on the lee side of the Keys. Wind does keep them down, but no-see-ums (AKA "sand fleas") seem to find ankles particularly easy to find. :oops:
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#5
cold pressed coconut oil helps keep noseeums away and also keeps them from biting. When i work in the yard I rub some on the ankles, knees, arms and neck
 
#6
Austin,
Before you go island hopping in your Sunfish, get a copy of:

This Book Is Drunk: The Madman Who Sailed from Miami to Boston on a Sunfish Sailboat! New: $12.02, Used: $16.20
Author: James Lee Meadows Amazon.com

This short book is a hoot. In the 1970s at about your age, James Meadows convinced AMF to give him a new Sunfish that he then sailed from Miami to Boston...drunk and stoned most of the time (if you believe his account at face value.) That said, he was one hell of a sailor and has some good tips on the logistics of long distance Sunfish sailing. Ah, to be 21 again...

Alan Glos (not 21)
Alan Glos-1.jpg
 
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