In 2 weeks we will be on our way for a 7-10 days sailing trip. The pleasure of traveling starts when planning the trip. 2 weeks in advance, weather forecast is not very accurate so I like to have a few options.
The first option is the 10.000 islands. From Burnt Store, sailing off shore to avoid crab pots and going way down Marco Island to avoid the shallow water, it is 111 NM (200 km). Counting an average speed of 4 kts it is about 24 hours sailing. The plan may be to stop in Marcos Island to load some ice before disappearing in the wilderness. There is no real navigation challenges in this trip (maybe some crab pots and then shallow water in the Everglade). We also have the option to stop south of Sanibel and Marco Island to avoid night sailing. The 10.000 islands offers plenty of anchorages for our 4.6 draft.
From there we have the option to go down to Cape Sable. That s about 40 extra NM. Around 10 hours sailing. At that point we have around 144 NM to come back (a bit less probably since i will take a direct route)
Obviously all this without counting the wind direction !
Option 2: Dry Tortugas
Dry Tortugas is a national park west of Key West. It is around 150 NM or 37 hours sailing.
What is attractive about this option is the long sailing off-shore. Down side is that the place seems crowded and the anchorage is not well protected. The risk of being stuck their by bad weather is as well increasing. In the other hand, the place looks wonderful, pristine waters.
A question I have a lot is why 4 kts? Seems low.
Well, yes and no. We like to sail, so putting the engine because the wind is too low is not part of what we usually do. So 4 kts end of April is actually a bit aggressive. I am not even counting here the wind direction. We may end up the double of mile tacking
Of course we can put the engine and run against time, but them what is the point? I see a lot of sailboat with engine when sailing the area. Too much wind, not enough wind, not the right direction…That is the thing about sailing, it is not an engine your turn on and off as you want. I like to think that I do with what I have. Of course, it is easy to say because we don’t need to be anywhere. Everything in the area, south of Sanibel will be new for us.
Remind me the definition of sailing: The slowest, the longest and the most uncomfortable way to travel from point A to point B.
We will keep you update !