Just wondering...a 21-footer from Florida to the Bahamas?

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Just wondering...a 21-footer from Florida to the Bahamas?

Postby johnniethek on Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:38 pm

Greetings mes amis,

Just wondering if anybody has made the trip from Florida to the Bahamas in a 21-foot Ranger Tug. If so, do you have any pearly words of wisdom to offer? I understand that the best time to make the trip is in April, May and June where there may not be major winds out of the north.

Thanks,

Johnnie the K
John
2019 R-27 OB Hero Red "Salish Searcher" - on order.
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Re: Just wondering...a 21-footer from Florida to the Bahamas?

Postby knotflying on Tue Jan 13, 2015 4:46 pm

Make sure none of the wind predictions have a northerly component.
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Re: Just wondering...a 21-footer from Florida to the Bahamas?

Postby Levitation on Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:34 am

Given the speed of an R-21 I would think long and hard before hitting 80+ miles of open ocean, especially across the Gulf Stream.
Yes, many a small sailboat has made the passage at 6 knots, but that is with the positive righting moment of a lead keel and the ability, if the weather or the engine goes sour, to turn tail and sail west by northwest running with both the wind and current..
And many a 21 foot powerboat has done it - at 30 to 50 mph.
But if you go, post pictures here.
denny-o
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Re: Just wondering...a 21-footer from Florida to the Bahamas?

Postby Emmy Lou on Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:55 am

It is 52 miles from No Name Harbor, Miami to Bimini. You have 3-4 knots of northerly Gulf Stream current. Make sure you calculate that into your course in case your electronics go down. Otherwise, you could miss your destination completely. Having done this trip, but in a sailboat, I would definitely go with a buddy boat. On my return leg, I left Bimini and my intended route was Miami. I had equipment problems during a terrible lightning storm. It took me 45 minutes to get things working and by then I was at Ft. Lauderdale. It took me 2 hours of heading south, against the current, to get into Government Cut, Miami. My ETA was originally 1800 but after all was said and done, it was 2100 and dark. This was in late April. Really work on your back-up plans. Work on the "what-ifs" and feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance.

Stu
Ham Radio: WA6BTK
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Re: Just wondering...a 21-footer from Florida to the Bahamas?

Postby Stella Maris on Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:55 pm

John,
I would bypass the thought of going to the Bahama's. Instead, I would launch in Fort Meyers and head south. Once south of Naples you are in the true wilds of Florida. You can visit the Little Shark River and watch the hammerheads swim beneath your boat. You can then head east deep into the Everglades making your way to Flamingo at the south end of the state. From there, you can head to the keys or turn north east and make your way to up to Stuart where you can enter the St Lucie River and head for the Okeechobee Waterway cutting across the state back to Fort Meyers.

This would be mainly inland waters with some very remote cruising. Bugs will be abundant so, screens are a must. Carrying some extra fuel would be a recommendation as well. This is a trip that I always wanted to do when we lived in Florida but never made it.

David
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Re: Just wondering...a 21-footer from Florida to the Bahamas?

Postby NorthernFocus on Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:35 pm

I've long since moved north but did a fair amount of boating down there. While the months you mention may be less prone to extended northerlies, that isn't the only challenge. Those months are getting into thunderstorm season. I've made that crossing in both power and sail boats of various sizes. The challenge in crossing with a slow open boat is that conditions can change dramatically between departure and planned arrival time. I've run across there a few times in the same size boat but it was only a two hour trip so conditions were more comfortably predictable.

In squalls it is not unusual to see brief localized winds in excess of 40kts. Not necessarily deadly but darned "interesting" in a small open boat. If you have done all/most of your boating in the PNW, Fla is totally different. Not necessarily worse, but different. You should understand that prior to setting out. In my experience, west coast weather can be more severe at its worst(excluding hurricanes) but east coast weather changes faster. Also weather typically travels west to east so on the east coast it can blow up between you and home.

It's hard for anyone to advise you on something like this because we all have different definitions of risk and tolerance thereof. When I was 20 I'd have done it in a heartbeat. Having been there, done that and now nearing three times that age, I'd not.
Dan

Never confuse confidence for competence.
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Re: Just wondering...a 21-footer from Florida to the Bahamas?

Postby knotflying on Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:04 pm

I may have been a bit too brief with my previous response. David has some good ideas regarding Florida in lieu of the Bahamas. I have done all that in our R-27.You would have no problem going down the Shark River to the wilderness waterway and down to Flamingo. The accommodations in Flamingo are not great, but you can stay for the day for free and then leave and anchor out again. Some great wildlife experiences and beautiful waters as you head south to the Keys. Weather-wise it should be the same as the Bahamas, albeit a bit different experience, but any new experience is always great.

Enjoy.
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Re: Just wondering...a 21-footer from Florida to the Bahamas?

Postby Irish Mist on Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:40 pm

In Marathon you can be at a reef and snorkeling in about an hour from the 7 mile bridge.. Not the Bahamas but it would be probably a wiser choice given your equipment.
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Re: Just wondering...a 21-footer from Florida to the Bahamas?

Postby GA-Midnight Cruise on Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:46 am

Yes, someone has. Rick Huizu did on "Kentucky Colonel'. This was the first R21 Classic which was Rick's concept in collaboration with the former owner of Ranger Tugs, Howard (Smitty) Smith and a hull Rick purchased from Smitty. Rick spent 15 months finishing the boat to what later became the R21(Classic). Google; "ALASKA, In 21' Mini-trawlers?" by Rennea Hemmingway-Douglas.
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Re: Just wondering...a 21-footer from Florida to the Bahamas?

Postby GA-Midnight Cruise on Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:40 pm

Bringing this relic of a string forward for R21 Classic lovers. If you go to the article, "Alaska, in 21' mini-trawlers" you will see pics of several bent VHF antennas intended to eliminate annoying antenna slap against the hosting mast. This was a challenge to the early R21 pioneers whom I have a reverence for. The angle reduces the effective gain of the radio signal and attracts the eye to the problem esthetically. There is a solution. Go to dinner with your special someone. Buy a very nice bottle of wine that has a flawless 2" cork. Enjoy dinner and the bottle and then re-purpose that cork as a silencer. Drilling a hole along it's length internally to the diameter of the antenna. Create cork stops or tape beads on the antenna with two, 1/8" wide, 2" long ribbons of duck tape (or 100 mph tape referred to the service). Roll it on (like toilet paper onto itself on a roll) at the position at the bottom and top of cork on the antenna centered straddle across the base of the anchor lamp at the mast head. It effectively silences the antenna slap, lasts for years and reminds you of that great evening you and your honey had out, while maximizing VHF gain. A great excuse for a boat project, effective and a very Irish solution to a maritime challenge. -Cheers!
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Re: Just wondering...a 21-footer from Florida to the Bahamas?

Postby Capt'nKarl on Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:52 pm

Johnnie the K. We haven’t made that leap of faith,YET,but it’s been on my list. We trailered our 21 to Key West earlier this year and went out into the wild for 2 overnights. The weather was calm(mainly) and we had no issues and that gets your courage up. Right now we’re content with where we’ve been and looking forward to more offshore adventures. Let me know if you decide to make the trip. We’d likely be right there with ya.
Cheers,
Capt’nkarl
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