Originally published February 6, 2017
Onboard: TOM DUPONT (Owner) and DENNY OGDEN
As the crow, or in this case, as the gull flies, it is about 215 nautical miles from Key West to Clearwater, Florida. And after having made the decision to voyage out on this particular trip, we outfitted GANDER, my MJM 40z with everything we would need. Given her more than ample storage room and living accommodations, there was plenty of allotted space available.
We had recently attended the Naples Harbor-based annual MJM Owners Rendezvous—great event by the way and one of many perks associated with being an owner—and decided to stop in for a Key West visit before heading up to Clearwater.
If you’ve never been to the Conch Republic, you owe yourself a stopover. While a lot has changed over the years, there are still plenty of ‘corners’ of the Old Key West to be found. And once you get yourself squared away and settled into your dock, all you have to do is look for it. Hemingway’s place at 907 Whitehead Street, the six-toed cats, Mallory Pier sunsets, the bars and the music and the food and fishing, both offshore and on the flats and the laid back lifestyle. But mostly, there are the people who have come here from far and wide, just as you or I have.
With coffee made and safety checks completed, we untied and departed Key West at daybreak on Monday morning at approximately 7:15 a.m. Our goal for the day was to make Boca Grande with a final destination being Clearwater.
Heading out of the bite, we encountered standard Florida bay conditions: 15- to 20-knot wind out of the northeast with a 3- to 4-foot chop. There are no ocean swell conditions in Florida Bay and for the first two hours we hammered into the headwind, moving well east of the Rhumbline to Boca Grande. Sadly, there was no protection and we slowed to 12 to 15 knots to accommodate the seas. While MJM’s are designed, engineered, and built for conditions even in excess of our present ones, we decided to throttle down a bit.
After a couple of hours, as we were approaching offshore Marco Island, the wind began to subside. Before we got even with Naples, the wind had dropped and the seas had calmed. As we passed Sanibel Island we were in position to increase speed to a cruise of 25 knots.
As we approached Boca Grande Pass, we calculated at our current speed and available fuel, we could easily make our final destination, Clearwater, in one day. Given the smooth seas and plenty of fuel, we decided to head for home and make the trip in one day. At 5:45 p.m., we pulled up to the dock at home in Clearwater Harbor: 10 hours 30 minutes.
I was mighty proud of my boat. This is the first long day trip that I have made on GANDER and her performance in rough seas as well as calm was second to none. The MJM 40z is truly an all-weather all-conditions boat. Dependability and comfort, plus stamina and range, make quite the combination for safe and enjoyable trips.
February 6, 2017
P.S. we did have a little cleaning to do from plenty of salt spray and one spilt coffee!!!