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    • Cortez Cove Boatyard & Marina (near Statute Mile 87)

      Here’s one I did not know about, but after a conversation with “Southwinds” magazine publisher, Steve Morrell, I learned the entrance to the facility described below, cuts to the east, south of the Cortez Bridge.

      Subject: Cortez Cove Boatyard & Marina
      Cruising News: We recently had a bottom job done at Cortez Cove Boatyard & Marina in Cortez, FL across the ICW from Anna Maria Island just south of Tampa Bay. We highly recommend this yard to fellow cruisers. They did an excellent job of prepping and painting. AND they allowed us to stay aboard while \”on the hard\”, something that many yards don\’t allow and very important to us as full-time cruisers. The staff was very friendly and accomodating, knew what they were doing, worked quickly and didn\’t \”run up the work hours\”, etc. The price was in line with other yards in the area but the meticulous work was more than worth what we paid!
      Larry Sherman

      I e-mailed Captain Sherman and asked for more definite access instructions to Cortez Cove Boatyard. He graciously responded below:

      Here is the additional info you requested:
      The Cortez Cove Boatyard and Marina is located just south of the Cortez Bridge (a couple of miles north of Longboat Pass) on the mainland side of the west coast ICW at about statute mile 87. The coordinates for the marina are 27 degrees 27.95 minutes north, 082 degrees 40.97 minutes west.
      Immediately south of the Cortez bascule bridge turn east off the ICW and then go through the anchorage, past the Coast Guard station, past the A.P. Bell seafood company docks (close to the docks) and you will then see a well marked private channel. Where the channel forks take the channel to port into the boatyard’s basin.
      Larry Sherman
      s/v Enchantress

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    • Possible Shoal On Passage Under Ringling Bridge (Sarasota, St. M. 73.5)

      Here’s a new one on yours truly. A year or two ago, we have many posts here on the Cruisers’ Net about a shoal near the Ringling Bridge, courtesy of some leftover construction materials when the old span was removed. However, that trouble spot has been marked for some time now.
      Has anyone had the same experience as outlined by sailing vessel Endeavor below. If so, could you please send additional details to Thanks in advance!

      Subject: Sarasota Ringling bridge shoals?
      Cruising News: we passed the Ringling bridge today at 0.3′ over MLLW and had the depth alarm go off (set at <6′) right underneath the main
      overspan a bit to the west of the middle. Maybe it was a dolphin or manatee, but it sure surprised me and I will stick to the middle next time.
      Any suggestions?
      S/V Endeavor

      Click Here For The Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Bridge Directory Listing For the Ringling Bridge

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    • Anna Maria Island Bridge (Statute Mile 89)

      Captain John’s discussion below of Western Florida bridges in general, and the Anna Maria Island Bridge, in particular, gives some great cruising advice for all mariners plying the western coastline of the Sunshine State. And, watch out for a certain bridge operator (see below)!

      We have cruised the FL West Coast extensively, both offshore and ICW. SUNBURST has been through every bridge along the west FL ICW at least once (excepting Charlotte Harbor’s eastern reaches) and with a vertical clearance of 23′ has required her share of openings. This height, as it turns out, is exceptional in that it also approximates the vertical clearance of innumerable west coast bascule bridges. The decision to request an opening is never taken lightly, and we have no designs on unnecessarily impeding road traffic or taxing the bridge tenders. However, we also emphatically endeavor to avoid dis-masting ourselves; placing SUNBURST or crew in peril, or otherwise engaging bridge spans in a physical sense. (We know the bridge will win every time!).
      So the usual drill as we approach any bridge that is even remotely close to our vertical clearance involves the oft rehearsed combination of straining (to discern a tide card reading) through binoculars and hand wringing. Anything less than 24 feet will generate discussion on Ch 9. The vast majority of our bridge tenders are very professional and courteous, and in keeping with our collective goal to transcend the said span safely, readily and happily comply with our requests for an opening (within the constraints of the bridge opening policies).
      Here, the Anna Maria bridge has distinguished herself as consistently problematic. On no less than 4 occasions within the last 12 months the bridge tender has proven recalcitrant, difficult, unpleasant and frankly cantankerous. This has now become part of our planning calculus: whenever feasible (weather, etc) we opt for offshore passage between Tampa Bay and Long Boat Pass.
      I would like to emphasize the fact that approaching this particular bridge, like so many others along the ICW, does NOT uniformly generate a request for opening. Due consideration is given to the tide, tide card reading, and so forth such that we pass safely under the closed span just as often as we must (reluctantly, in this case) request a bridge opening. The point is that responsibility for the safety of my crew, my boat rests squarely and unambiguously upon my shoulders. I cannot be `bullied’ into unsafe operation under any circumstance.
      Although I have posted this negative comment regarding one particular bridge (and perhaps one individual?), I just as vigorously applaud the professionalism of the vast majority of bridge operators along the FL west coast ICW!
      Capt. John Moritz

      Subject: Ana Maria Bridge tender
      Cruising News: I have been Passing under Ana Maria Bridge for Years. This is the worst Bridge tender on the west cost of Florida. He seems to forget he would not
      have a Job if it where not for sailboaters
      Ken Brown

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    • GREAT Boat Repair Services in Sarasota

      Anytime cruisers can find a good boat repair service, it's cause for celebration! And, sounds like Captains Russ and Carolyn found two super repair firms in Sarasota!

      Recently we had a fairly bad crossing of the Big Bend.  We experienced some damage to the gel-coat and to some covers.  When we arrived at the Sarasota Yacht Club, I asked if there were someone who could make emergency repairs.  They referred me to Jim Wasilewski Marine Services (941-320-6003).  It seemed like only a matter of moments before Jim arrived and they began the repairs immediately.  I had a tear in the tender cover and Jim had someone at the boat that afternoon.  He fixed the repair for $50.  Then our clothes washer failed.  Within an hour or so, we had a replacement on the way.  When we pulled the rugs in the saloon, to remove and replace the washer, Carolyn became entranced with the teak and holly floors.  Jim recommended Capt. Rick Hanson of Rick's Performance Marine (941-915-5465) to remove the rugs and refinish the floors.  Capt. Rick, on short notice arranged to have the floors prepared and varnished.  We were having some difficulty with
      one head and the holding tank.  Since Capt. Rick handles air conditioning, refrigeration and plumbing, he took care of it.  Since we removed the carpets from the two staircases to the staterooms and
      engine room, we needed new rugs.  Presto, Jim had Dane Halse of Custom Marine Interiors (941-356-3466) arrive to measure, cut and install the new rugs.  Carolyn likes the rugs so much, she wants the same material in our home.  Everything was done quite professionally, expeditiously, reasonably and with a smile.  I would recommend them if you are in the area.  Apparently they operate from Naples to Bradenton. 
      Russ and Carolyn Deane

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Glyn Moser -  November 19, 2017 - 2:02 pm


        I’d like to visit Rick’s, but can only find a number. Does anyone know where his workshop is please

        Reply to Glyn
    • Sarasota Mooring Field Article

      The story below is reproduced by permission of the authors. This story was originally contributed to the "Sarasota Herald Tribune," but it was substantially reduced in size by the newspaper. We present the entire, original text below.
      For those who don't know, the city of Sarasota is trying to establish a mooring field off its downtown waterfront, hard by Marina Operations (Marina Jacks). A dedicated group of boat owners who have long been anchored on these waters are opposing this project. Captain Ken Delacy, co-author of the article below, is one of the prime movers in this group.

      Rarely has a civic issue been so filled with multi-dimensional problems as the city’s thrust to construct a mooring field — slated to begin June 21 — in the most exquisite portion of Sarasota Bay, between Marina Jack and Selby Gardens. According to the city’s own report, the wasteful plan will cost taxpayers approximately $17.5 million over the next 20 years, with no concrete benefits.
      A host of powerful reasons — legal, fiscal, environmental, aesthetic, human rights, and monopoly-related — underlie why this plan must be stopped.
      Construction would likely dilute and permanently alter the French Riviera-like beauty of this sailboat-adorned bay – the charismatic jewel of downtown Sarasota. The natural look, rather than the organized plan the city is pushing to institute, is unique in Florida and rare in the entire world. Tampering with this sublime gem would be a tragic loss to the city.
      The plan is engendering resentment among diverse demographic segments – from wealthy retirees to international tourists, condo and business owners. Too many unanswered questions/loopholes exist, too many concerns of legal improprieties, railroading a plan through against the wishes of the citizenry, and a power grabbing thrust by the Marina Jack Corp., the entity slated to manage it.
      There was no rigorous cost-benefit analysis offered to taxpayers, documenting why a project – of such nebulous and questionable benefits — warrants spending so much in these brutal recessionary times, when the city is oppressed by a $9 million deficit. Wouldn’t this expenditure far better be allocated for social programs, health care, education, and job creation?
      The travesty is that while the plan costs $1 million, the City is giving Marina Jack a deal: lowering its rent from 3.5% to 3.0% of gross sales, in exchange for operating the fields – leading to the estimated $17.5 million in lost tax revenue. Taxpayers would bear the burden for this sweetheart deal between Marina Jack and the city. Such deals are only justifiable if private investors can demonstrate compelling benefits to taxpayers, clearly not the case here.
      It is unacceptable that there was no open bidding process for this contract, given that Marina Jack already profits from managing the downtown yacht harbor and O’Leary’s, plus being landlord to downtown boat rentals and LeBarge. Doesn’t the city have an obligation, to citizens, to spread the wealth beyond one corporate entity — one already enjoying what many consider over-arching power in Sarasota? (Unlike other downtown restaurants, MJ does not pay property taxes.)
      If the plan moves forward, Marina Jack’s power grab would expand to the entire downtown bayfront, giving them monopoly control for decades. Many feel this project represents a conflict of interest: a profit making entity managing a not-for-profit operation, eliciting widespread cynicism about claims that Marina Jack would not profit from their managerial role.
      The plan’s later phases will entail the environmentally risky dredging of the bay, and drilling into the bay floor to install 109 mooring holes, sparking concerns this could stir up the lead/arsenic documented in the immediate area. Many are outraged that this threat to the bay’s health is moving ahead without a detailed environmental impact study, independent oversight by an environmental entity, and meticulous documentation throughout the proposed three phases.
      An injunction is urgently needed, to allow time for necessary legal, environmental and fiscal review, to satisfy citizens’ legitimate pressing concerns. The City Commission exists to serve taxpayers. We hope it urges a delay, pending full disclosure, a detailed cost-benefit analysis, and environmental impact study – the accountability taxpayers deserve.
      We urge all concerned citizens to speak out at the City Commissioners’ meeting: Mon., June 15, 2:30 and 6 p.m., City Hall.
      Jenny L. Rosenbaum, waterfront condo owner, and Capt. Ken Delacy
      Sarasota Bayfront Alliance, a Coalition of Concerned Citizens

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    • Inlets Near Sarasota, FL

      Below, Captain Randy gives some excellent advice about various inlets between Venice and Longboat Key. I think his observations are spot on, except I might add that I think "New Pass"is even worse. I would not take a row boat out New Pass.

      Personally, I wouldn't consider Big Pass, at Sarasota, a viable, all-weather inlet.  The shoals around there move frequently and local knowledge is a must. The same is true, but to a lesser degree, of New Pass.  The excellent Sarasota Sailing Squadron is located just inside New Pass and their members frequently sound the location of the deep water.  Sea-Tow or TowBoatUS could probably
      give advise on the VHF.  Longboat Pass, to the north and Venice Inlet, to the south are much more dependable.
      Randy Pickelmann

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    • Marina Jacks and Sarasota (Statute Mile 73)

      Certainly Marina Jacks has a lot to offer, as does the city itself. Now, if we could just get the mooring field situation resolved.

      Hi all,
      We had spent 3 wonderful days in Sarasota,Fl upon recommendations from other turtles. Would just like to say thank-you for the great advice. We stayed at Marina Jacks, excellent marina, secure, clean, boater friendly and very accesible to town. We took the trolley to St. Armand’s circle (lovely), ate in Sarasota twice at Two Senoritas and Patricks, (excellent). We toured the Ringling Bros. Museum and all we can say is next time we’ll use the whole day (wow).Had a fantastic time and would recommend it as a must stop!!
      Dick and Elle
      m/v Summer Wind

      Sarasota is a great stop, the marina is top notch, but u can anchor out and dinghy in. The town is awsome and i would not pass it up…lots of great dinning and dancing.
      Bill & Ana Feller
      Knot Tide Down

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Marina Jacks (Marina Operations)

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    • Jewfish Key Anchorage (Statute Mile 85)

      First, many thanks to Captain Susan for all her kind words below!
      And, yes, the two anchorages behind Jewfish Key are some of the very best that the western coastline of the Sunshine State has to offer. I love to dinghy ashore to either of the two restaurants there, Mar-Vista and Moore’s Stone Craft. Yummmmmm!

      First, let me say that I am a huge fan of your books. I discovered them quite by accident years ago when I found your North Carolina cruising guide on board a used boat we purchased. We utilized the guide on our first trip down the ICW to Florida in 1999. I found the guide so helpful that we stopped to purchase the books covering Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida. I’ve been hooked ever since and recently purchased the latest additions, visit your web site, and subscribe to your email updates.
      This past week the Western Florida Guide was invaluable in finding a protected anchorage to wait out the big blow that passed through. We were headed to Progressive Marine in St. Petersburg for a haulout and bottom job (another tidbit we got from your guide). We got a late start from our home in Punta Gorda Isles and knew we’d have to lay over a day or two until the front passed and the winds subsided before crossing Tampa Bay. Your guide recommended the Jewfish Key anchorage at ICW mile 85. We anchored our 48′ trawler securely for two days with plenty of swinging room.
      Thanks for all you do for the boating community. I look forward to seeing you at the Punta Gorda MTOA rendezvous in April.
      Susan Parker

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Jewfish Key Southside Anchorage

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Jewfish Key Anchorage

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    • More On Shoaling Between Jewfish Key and Sister Keys (Statute Mile 85)

      We had an earlier posting here on the Net's "Western Florida" page about shoaling along this stretch of the Western Florida ICW, hard by Jewfish Key and Longboat Pass. As Captain Scott's info below is so specific and timely, I'm putting it up as a fresh post, hopeing more will take advantage of this data.

      We draw 6’ and ran aground well within the channel Thanksgiving week.  The sandbar runs from the NW towards Moore’s to the SE into the middle of the channel  near 38A.  The edge of the sandbar in the channel is very steep so there is no warning. 
      Slightly contrary to the info posted on the SYS website, the best I recorded about 5.3’ above 0’ (recorded on a calm day).  The path I used to get across was in line with the  eastern edge of the marked channel.
      Scott Cooper

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