Marco Island to Key West

Discussion in 'Sea Ray Lifestyle & Cruising' started by A'Boat, Dec 6, 2016.

  1. A'Boat

    A'Boat New Member

    3
    Jul 18, 2016
    Central Florida Gulf Coast
    2002 Sea Ray 260 Sundancer
    Single remanned 5.7 MPI w/Bravo III Drive
    Hello,

    I'm now an owner of a 'new to me' 260 Sundancer.
    I have a fair bit of experience with previous sailboats I've owned (35+') , but my 260 is my first powerboat.
    I want to experience New Years Eve in Key West this year (2016).

    Does anyone have advice or previous experience for making the hop from Marco Island to Key West (approx 90 miles)?
    What is the typical sea state towards the end of December? Will I be able to maintain a plane?
    Any comments would be appreciated!

    Thanks,
    David
     
  2. kevin27

    kevin27 Member

    753
    Aug 8, 2007
    Orlando,FL/Tarpon Springs,FL
    1989 3600 Convertible. 9'6'' AB rib w/ 25hp 2stroke Yamaha. Furuno nav upper and lower helm.
    2002 Cummins 6BTA 330hp diesel straight shaft.
    Take it down by trailer. I wouldn't do it in your boat. Sorry just being honest. Dec can be dangerous with any front moving through.
     
  3. cod

    cod Member GOLD Sponsor

    657
    Nov 25, 2010
    Naples, Fl.
    2005 500 Sedan Bridge/
    Cummins QSM 11's/
    David,

    You will need a flexible schedule if you plan this trip. There is no way of knowing until a couple days before what the seas will be and you won't know what kind of seas you will have on your return trip. We were there last New Years and although the winds seemed calm during our stay in KW, we were greeted with 6-8 foot seas once we got out to open water. Turned around and went back to the marina. The previous year, we had calm flat seas both ways.
    Another option for your return is to run along the coast via the yacht channel either on the trip down or on your return if the winds are out of the north east. Although it adds a bit of mileage (approx. 30 miles), you can take the opportunity to stop to see other parts of the keys.

    We we are planning on being there for New Years as well. We are staying at the Galleon Marina. If you do make the trip, feel free to stop by and say hello.
     
  4. k9medic

    k9medic Member

    426
    Mar 27, 2013
    Florida
    2005 23' twin engine jet boat
    1998 420 Aft Cabin
    twin jet 160hp.
    twin 3116 CATs
    I've done this trip in both a 23' boat and in my 420AC. Both times I went the weather was perfect but the seas kicked up and that was in the summer time. It's not a hard trip but be prepared.
     
  5. Boater420

    Boater420 Member

    675
    Mar 11, 2015
    Clearwater, FL
    '97 330 Sundancer
    V-Drives
    Westerbeke 4.5BCG
    Twin Merc 454's
    2 years ago Dec 22, we took the boat from Sanibel to Clearwater. Trip started out nice, a little overcast but the Gulf was calm. Just about to Sarasota and the weather changed drastically. Winds kicked up and so did the waves. From calm to 5 footers in about a half hour. It was nothing the boat couldn't handle but it was not a pleasant couple hours.

    Around that time of year it doesn't take long for conditions to change.
     
  6. k9medic

    k9medic Member

    426
    Mar 27, 2013
    Florida
    2005 23' twin engine jet boat
    1998 420 Aft Cabin
    twin jet 160hp.
    twin 3116 CATs
    This was Sunday about 20nm off Hudson, FL. Forecast called for 15-20kts and 4-6 with a small craft advisory. You never know what the weather will do.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. fr8dog

    fr8dog Member GOLD Sponsor

    178
    May 25, 2012
    Florida
    460 Sundancer 2005
    Cummins 480 CE
    Cod is right about the flexible schedule. I made the trip several times in a 290 Dancer with no problems. Keep a close eye on the weather and go when it is good. With your boat you are only looking at about 3 and 1/2 hours. I would also leave Marco just after sunrise. Usually calmer winds early.
     
  8. kevin27

    kevin27 Member

    753
    Aug 8, 2007
    Orlando,FL/Tarpon Springs,FL
    1989 3600 Convertible. 9'6'' AB rib w/ 25hp 2stroke Yamaha. Furuno nav upper and lower helm.
    2002 Cummins 6BTA 330hp diesel straight shaft.
    If you'll notice everyone here that has done this trip goes in a boat with twins. You have a single engine with marginal fuel range for this trip. Can you do it? Well yes. Would I? No. I have made this trip several times and it's no joke. You will not have cell or good radio coverage. Your on your own. Put it on a trailer and go have fun!
     
  9. fr8dog

    fr8dog Member GOLD Sponsor

    178
    May 25, 2012
    Florida
    460 Sundancer 2005
    Cummins 480 CE
    I understand your point but my 290 had a single 7.4L If the boat is properly maintained and you go when the weather is good it really is not a risky trip. The key is to not push the weather.
     
  10. Mystic Dreamer

    Mystic Dreamer Member

    368
    Oct 10, 2006
    St. Petersburg, FL
    2006 44DA
    Cummins QSC-500
    I have done that trip many times and Florida Bay/ Gulf weather can change rapidly, especially ahead of winter cold fronts. I personally would not do it in a single engine 260.
     
  11. FootballFan

    FootballFan Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Boatless
    Boatless
    I wouldn't do the trip in that size boat. Too much can happen with the weather after you leave the docks.

    There is a safer option, Marco down to Yacht Channel or straight into Marathon. Short run from Marathon to Key West.
     
  12. fr8dog

    fr8dog Member GOLD Sponsor

    178
    May 25, 2012
    Florida
    460 Sundancer 2005
    Cummins 480 CE
    I understand the abundance of caution, but we are talking 3.5 hours here. Surely a cautious person can look at the weather and make an informed decision as to the safety of the trip. I have made this trip many times. I have delayed the trip several times in both directions, but if you are flexible in your schedule there is no reason to not go. Weather forecasts are pretty good these days if you are 24 hours out. Still from Marco to Key West you can always turn back if it looks worse than forecast. It is not that long of a trip doing 30 mph.
     

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