Next weekend, we’re planning to move Tahina to warmer waters down south. The plan has been to go down to Florida and eventually get to the Miami Boat show in mid-February. We have a part to pick up from St. Francis (the manufacturer of Tahina) which is impractical to ship around (it’s a 10 foot “passarelle” – or gang plank – a ramp for getting from the dock to the boat at marinas). St. Francis put it on a new boat that will be shown at the boat show.
I was amazed when researching possible marinas for keeping our boat, that there are very few places down the coast that meet our conditions. The tricky part is that since Tahina has a mast which is 71 feet off the water, we can’t go under the ICW 65 foot bridges. This reduces us to finding marinas near inlets to the ocean without bridges to go under (excepting a few taller bridges, or draw bridges). The next tricky part is finding a marina which has the right kind of dockages for a large catamaran (allowing for our very beamy width of 26.5 feet).And finally, trying to find a reasonable price in Florida is an issue.
I was able to use some nice tools to help research locations. I used Google Earth, Peio’s Google Maps NOAA charts mashup, Marinas.com (which has very nice aerial photos of many marinas, and other useful data like links to web sites), and I would Google search for any feedback (positive/negative) on particular marinas. Anyway, we finally picked a location for our first stop – at the border of Florida/Georgia: St. Marys, Georgia. My brother John lives nearby, so he can keep an eye on the boat for us and we can visit with him while we’re there. See the location of Lang’s Marina . They have the right accomodations, and the price is right – it’s even a bit lower than Carolina Beach.
We are back at Carolina Beach on Tahina right now. We’re doing some final preparation, and basic maintenance in preparation for the passage. The trip to St. Marys is about 300 nautical miles (nm) by going to sea down the coast. We’ll have to stay somewhat close to shore to avoid going into the strong gulf stream northward current. 300 nm is a little over 1.5 days on a typical passage (remember, our speed is dependent on wind conditions) for Tahina. We’ll have to plan our departure to ensure we arrive during daylight hours.