Sunfish from Key Largo to Key West

Thread starter #1
Hey all, new to this forum. I was wondering if anyone has sailed a sunfish from key largo to key west or knows of someone who has. Planning a trip for this summer and wanted to see if anyone else has attempted this. Thanks!
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#2
Hey all, new to this forum. I was wondering if anyone has sailed a sunfish from key largo to key west or knows of someone who has. Planning a trip for this summer and wanted to see if anyone else has attempted this. Thanks!
That's a lon-n-g-g trip... :oops: It'd be shorter to sail from Key West to Havana! Hobies make the trip (one-way) and get abandoned, but they're a much more capable boat for such trips. EPIRBs (emergency beacons) can be rented from BoatUS, and other organizations.

Summer offshore in the Keys is going to be hot, but that's not a bad thing when you're in a totally-open boat. (Cool ocean breezes and spray can be debilitating). In summer, there may be days without any wind. :confused: When the wind is "up", the waves can be daunting. :oops: Check the horizon for a wiggly, jerky line (where a straight line would be desirable). Large powerboats may be using electronics to steer their course, and may not be looking for you. :( Large sports-fishing boats (and there are many) throw huge wakes. Many will positively stream out of oceanside canals—especially on weekends. As you get to Stock Island and Key West, shrimp boats take up large, wide, spaces, and can't turn readily when their nets are spread out far to each side.

One Sunfish sailor sailed day-long about 60 miles along Florida's panhandle, and reported on the trip here on this forum. I've tried a search, but all I can remember—of any key words—is that extra cellphone batteries were needed. I don't remember any difficulties, except that sundown occurred a bit too early to make his desired meet-up with trailer and crew.

The most scenic part of your proposed trip is heading southwest from Marathon. (About mid-point). Funny, the trip from Marathon to Key West is mostly heading west! :rolleyes:

Porpoises can be expected to swim alongside. :) I wouldn't expect to "camp out", due to mosquitoes and no-see-ums. Mangrove trees indicate both are present. Close to shore, both [fresh water] alligators and [saltwater] crocodiles can be expected. :eek:Portuguese Man O' War season is over by summer, but other jellyfish should be researched—and antidotes prepared beforehand.

If you're stuck out at dusk—and it's windy—maybe seek out any of the three major Florida State Parks along that shore. There are some remote State Parks along your proposed journey, but you'd be pulling yourself ashore across "porous coral-rock", which means there are deep potholes every few steps. :confused:

Bahia Honda State Park is one of the "World's 10 Best Beaches", and bugs should be "knocked back" by the breeze. (And, by landing on the beach, you'll save the $8 entrance fee). ;)

.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#3
As L and VW said - One Sunfish sailor sailed day-long about 60 miles along Florida's panhandle, and reported on the trip here on this forum. I've tried a search, but all I can remember—of any key words—is that extra cellphone batteries were needed.

These posts were from the last 18 months or so and had great info on planning a long-distance trip. I was thinking the trip was in Alabama. Great info if you can find it!!
 

norcalsail

Active Member
#4
Are you guys referring to "58 mile trip" ? This thread is a little over half way down page 5 of this forum. A great video...but it might not still be accessible.
 
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Thread starter #7
thx for the reply. I didn't add a whole lot of info but heres some background. Im currently 20 and have been avidly sailing sunfish since I was about 10 years old. I have also been camping on empty hammocks and barrier islands for as long as I can remember so bugs are not a problem lol. I have a very nice handheld vhf (typically use it on my larger boat) and portable/lightweight solar panels to charge phone and vhf. Also, I intend to keep line of sight with the shore. A big detail I omitted is that this would be a one way trip down. My parents have agreed to drive down to the keys and pick me up in Key West as well as meet and resupply me as needed. I really appreciate all the feedback, thx!
 

andyatos

Well-Known Member
#8
That's right around 91 miles straight line distance. Kevin did 58 miles in 9 hours. So, that's an average over the ground speed of 6.4 mph.

So, let's say you can do a similar average speed. 6.5 mph. 91 miles divided by 6.5 = 14 hours of sailing time.

Northwest or southeast winds would give you beam reaching conditions. Northerly or easterly winds would give you broad reaching conditions. Good stuff.

- Andy
 
#9
That would be one heckuva voyage... you could always break it into two days, camping somewhere in the middle. Weather conditions would have to be perfect to make it in one day... including an early start with the breeze rising pronto, and you probably finishing the voyage after dark. A broad reach would be ideal, that's a fast point of sail for any Fish... just gotta pick the right day with the right forecast, LOL. :rolleyes:
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#10
I've always wondered why some of the big catamarans moved so slowly off the Keys.

Now I've realized, those taking your direction are fighting the Gulf Stream! :confused:
 
#12
Sailing close inshore would be safer, but not so close that the land interferes with the breeze... I know the Keys are low in elevation, but wind generally rises as it crosses a land mass warmer than the surrounding ocean, and it takes a little while for it to drop back down to the surface. I speak in the most general terms here: the higher the land mass, the farther the "wind shadow" in the lee of that land mass. Point Loma in San Diego would be a classic example, but at roughly 425' elevation it's much higher than the Keys... there might be zero wind directly in the lee of the Point, but halfway across the channel a sailor can still make good headway, since the breeze has dropped back down to the surface. I'd usually work the far side of the channel where the breeze was greatest... just my $.02, in case you find those low-lying Keys still affect the breeze, aye? A Sunfish rig is NOT the tallest rig on the planet, LOL. :rolleyes:
 
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