Author Topic: Dry Tortugas  (Read 1280 times)

Offline Chris Danz

  • Rigger
  • ****
  • Posts: 35
  • Karma: 4
Dry Tortugas
« on: December 19, 2015, 11:15:32 AM »
Hey Everyone,
First off, I apologize if this is in the wrong subject, but I wanted as many folks to see it as possible. I am curious what some of you think of a sail from Key West to the Dry Tortugas in a Compac 16? Is it a trip that is remotely possible? Has anyone else done it? I would love to hear of anybody's experience or knowledge of the matter. It looks like it could be a really neat journey. Any thoughts?
Thanks
Chris
Com-pac 16 #540, s/v "Easy Wind"

Online JBC

  • Captain
  • *****
  • Posts: 224
  • Karma: 11
Re: Dry Tortugas
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2015, 12:02:20 PM »
Don't have any direct knowledge of this, but Robert Burgess in his book Handbook of Trailer Sailing has a chapter about two CP 16s taking a trip to The Marquesas Keys from Key West.

Offline hoddinr

  • Captain
  • *****
  • Posts: 330
  • Karma: 10
Re: Dry Tortugas
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2015, 12:13:46 PM »
Hi Chris,

I've been to the Dry Tortugas in a Catalina 27 from Key West and From Tampa Bay.  It's very remote, and the main problem is coming back.  The winds are relentlessly out of the east or SE.  And they blow most of the time out there at trade wind (18-25 knots) velocity.  Beating back from the Marquesas, which I've also done, in a SeaPearl 21.  Is a rugged trip, and would be a good first step for your off shore adventures.  Then, when you get back to Key West tie up and take the ferry for a day trip to the Dry Tortugas, or even a float plane.

Warmest Regards,
Ron Hoddinott

Offline Salty19

  • Fleet Admiral
  • Commodore
  • ******
  • Posts: 2390
  • Karma: 37
    • Island Time Pictures
Re: Dry Tortugas
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2015, 01:24:22 PM »
I never sailed out there, but did take a high speed ferry from KW to the Dry Tortugas one year in early November to see the Fort Jefferson. There were thousands of lobster pot buoys to avoid and it was fairly rough, and as mentioned especially coming back and while only a few hours in a fairly smooth ferry, were glad to be back on land. 

My heart kinda sunk, and my stomach for that matter,  for a moment when the engines suddenly shut off and we coasted quickly to a stop.  Thoughts of sitting there like a cork in the waves until rescue arrived 2 hours out from KW were not too pleasant.  Turns out we had fishing line in the props, and they were prepared to untangle it with dive gear and knife.  They got it taken care of pretty quickly and we were off on our way.

Back on land in Key West, my friend and I were joking that we would make the trip in the 19. Our wives were hysterically laughing at the proposition, so of course we had to egg them on by starting to plan the excursion. It made for lots of laughs hanging out at the local bars that week, but in reality we are just not hardened enough to make that trip on such a small craft.

The Marquesas are not as far out in the Gulf and could offer an incredible experience with less risks.  Seems doable with very careful planning and preparation.
16's have been to the Marquesas as well as Bahamas, Bimini and all around the Keys.

Offline ferdjohns

  • Rigger
  • ****
  • Posts: 44
  • Karma: 2
Re: Dry Tortugas
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2015, 02:04:56 PM »
I have cruised to the Marquesas from Key West a number of times -- in a friend's Dovekie, a friend's Shearwater and a MacGregor 26x (very comfortable). No sweat if you watch the weather. In 2000, I sailed my O'Day 23 to the Dry Tortugas from Bahia Honda. Two of us aboard. We stopped by Stock Island to top off our gas, and sailed from there all night to anchor at Fort Jefferson about 1100 the next morning. Beautiful sail. We had a much more exciting trip back. The wind clocked around so it was fair to return, and, although we knew it would continue around to become a norther, we left for Key West. The wind clocked faster than we sailed. It was probably the worst trip I have ever made in a small boat. Winds up to 40 knots, dinghy swamped twice, unable to motor because the prop was out of the water most of the time, etc., etc. We finally made the Marquesas and waited out the weather, having averaged two knots made good for 50 miles. The boat held up fine, we survived, and eventually motored into the prevailing east wind back to Key West after a day of solid rest. We should have waited at Fort Jefferson, but the favorable wind for a return to Key West (a rarity) seduced us into leaving, and then quickly turned very unfavorable. Dumb.

I think the 16 could make the trip in good weather, but it is not particularly fast, and, with that shallow keel, would need to motor all the way home in normal weather, so I too recommend the Marquesas as an easier, safer alternative. That is doable, and good fun.

Ferd

Offline Chris Danz

  • Rigger
  • ****
  • Posts: 35
  • Karma: 4
Re: Dry Tortugas
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2015, 02:16:16 PM »
Sounds like the Marquesas might be the way to go. Love hearing the stories about everyone's excursions. I think it would be pretty cool to sail off the coast of southern Florida, but don't want to get in over my head, so I find your experiences to be pretty valuable for me. Looking for adventure but not too much. I talked to some friends who were park rangers on Dry Tortugas and they thought February or March might be a good time to sail those waters. Seems like it might be a bit too epic for fun to go all the way to the park. A person can dream though.
Com-pac 16 #540, s/v "Easy Wind"

Offline cw021382

  • 2nd Watch Helmsman
  • *****
  • Posts: 118
  • Karma: 1
Re: Dry Tortugas
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2015, 02:36:18 PM »
I don't remember where, but somewhere online there is a writeup from someone who took a 23 to the dry tortugas.  Seems like he trailered  from Texas to Tampa to make the trip.  He didn't have any trouble, but the 23 is larger than the 16 by quite a lot.  The writeup was on his own Personal website.  He posted great pictures and wrote a very good account.

-Chris


Offline ferdjohns

  • Rigger
  • ****
  • Posts: 44
  • Karma: 2
Re: Dry Tortugas
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2015, 06:06:53 PM »
Try meyersix.org

Offline ferdjohns

  • Rigger
  • ****
  • Posts: 44
  • Karma: 2
Re: Dry Tortugas
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2015, 07:01:59 PM »
 ......and when you read his account, be sure to also look at the U Tube video.  He had a diesel inboard, so his prop stayed in the water, unlike my outboard, and I presume he carried enough fuel to motor both ways in poor conditions. No fuel or water or other supplies available at Fort Jefferson.  I wouldn't want to leave port in any small boat unless I could get where I'm going and back under both sail and engine ........ with a margin.

Offline capt_nemo

  • Commodore
  • ******
  • Posts: 1052
  • Karma: 24
Re: Dry Tortugas
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2015, 10:19:14 PM »
My trip to the Dry Tortugas in Jan '98 aboard a 35' Island Packet involved an overnight anchorage at the Marquesas enroute to Ft. Jefferson. Got stranded at Ft. Jefferson anchorage for several days longer than planned due to a severe storm. Lost one of my storm anchors but managed to retrieve it after the storm passed by snagging the rode with my folding dinghy anchor. Made 70 mile trip back to Key West in 10 hours by motor sailing.

Make no mistake about it, the trip to the Dry Tortugas is definitely a Blue Water passage with all the inherent potential dangers and not to be undertaken without careful boat preparation and planning. The suggestion of a small boat trip to the Marquesas as an alternative for gaining experience is definitely worth serious consideration.

Sail SAFE!

capt_nemo


Offline Craig

  • Commodore
  • ******
  • Posts: 566
  • Karma: 10
Re: Dry Tortugas
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2015, 08:21:26 AM »
My neighbor had a similar experience a few weeks ago. Bad storm while anchored at Ft. Jefferson. Anchor dragged and they wound up on the beach. Had to be towed back to Key West. Boat suffered serious keel damage. Capt Nemo is correct! Not a trip to be taken casually!
Craig, Horizon Cat "Kailani"  Punta Gorda, FL

Offline kickingbug1

  • Commodore
  • ******
  • Posts: 1776
  • Karma: 23
  • CLR sailor
Re: Dry Tortugas
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2015, 11:17:54 AM »
just call this "old man speaking". it seems to me that many among the human race want to attempt something a bit reckless, pushing the odds to the limit. there are many stories of sailors attempting passages in very small boats (one comes to mind of a guy who sailed a catalina 18 (my present boat)from california to hawaii. he made it. i wonder how many of these "adventurers" haven't. any good sailor learns what his boat can handle and pushes her to the limit. this is an important step to becoming a good sailor. overcoming that apprehension. however a long offshore passage in a com-pac 16 seems to fall in the catagory of "tempting fate". the little 16 is a fine, well built craft (i sailed one for 6 years), but like everthing built by man it has its limitations and design compromises. first she is only 16 feet with just a 6' beam. she sails pretty well off the wind but isnt particularly good to windward. i have sailed mine on an inland lake in maybe 3 foot waves to windward. she has trouble on a beat in anything but moderate seas. she was designed to be an easy to rig, easy to launch, easy to sail trailer sailor. these things she does pretty well. the com-pac 19 would be a much safer choice. with 8oolbs of ballast and a 7ft beam she is much more stable. she also has much more room to carry provisions and very easy to overnight. most importantly the 19 would be safer. sailing at its best can be a bit of a "white knuckle" experience but nothing should overshadow safety on the water.
oday 14 daysailor, chrysler musketeer cat, chrysler mutineer, com-pac 16-1 "kicknbug" renamed "audrey j", catalina capri 18 "audrey j"

Offline Chris Danz

  • Rigger
  • ****
  • Posts: 35
  • Karma: 4
Re: Dry Tortugas
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2015, 08:16:08 PM »
Thank you all for taking the time to add input to this post. Sounds like Dry Tortugas out and I am most grateful for the kind words of advice. I most certainly am not looking for the "white knuckle" experience, just a little light adventure down around that way ( the Keys ), but with in the limitations of the Compac 16. Definitely not trying to be a hero or prove anything. Something nice and warm that the family would enjoy. It looks like Marquesas could be an enjoyable exciting journey in and of itself. Maybe even cruising down the Gulf coast of Florida would suit my wanderlust. Everyone's wise words of advice is just what I was looking for. I have been known in the past to jump into a some situations that were a bit over my head, but these days I prefer to enjoy myself and relax.
Com-pac 16 #540, s/v "Easy Wind"

Offline Chris Danz

  • Rigger
  • ****
  • Posts: 35
  • Karma: 4
Re: Dry Tortugas
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2015, 09:10:39 PM »
And a great read on sailing to the Dry Tortugas Ferdjohns, Thank you.
Com-pac 16 #540, s/v "Easy Wind"

Offline DaleM

  • Foredeck Crew
  • *****
  • Posts: 72
  • Karma: 2
Re: Dry Tortugas
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2015, 09:12:27 PM »
I enjoyed reading all the honest feedback!  Grateful for being part of a crew of folks willing share experience with those of us starting out.
Dm