Short Hops and Fair Weather

There are two schools of thought for traveling longer distances on a saiboat or slow trawler. One idea is that if you have good weather, you take it and run the whole way to your destination. Run all day. Run all night. Just get there while the getting is good.

We do not subscribe to this theory.

I understand folks that are on a schedule doing it. Maybe they only have two weeks of vacation time and they want to get there now and enjoy more time. We have no schedule, no place to be and nothing better to do. We are not in a hurry, ever. It’s hard to be in a hurry at six knots!

Instead, we make short hops to favored places. We hang out along the way and enjoy ourselves.We wait for good weather before we move on. We can wait as long as we want. Kim HATES storms and high seas. I do everything in my power to avoid them while underway. Last year we waited in Fort Myers Beach for ten days, looking for the perfect travel weather to get to Key West. We finally got it, and enjoyed flat calm seas the entire 15 hour journey.

This year we’ll be skipping Key West, instead heading straight for Marathon and Boot Key Harbor. We’ll start with a leisurely 20 miles trip down Charlotte Harbor to Cayo Costa.


We plan to sit and enjoy the solitude for a few weeks. Our only excercise will be walking on the beach. We’ll read books, watch the dolphins, play with manatees and take in the stars. Next we will cruise down the ICW to Fort Myers Beach.


It’s a scenic 4.5 hours for us. We have several friends their that we look forward to seeing. We also have a few favorite establishments there that serve adult beverages and play live music. We’ll probably stay a week. Then it’s on to Marco Island, a six hour trip at our speed.


When leaving Marco, we’ll look for two good weather days. It’s too far from Marco to Marathon for us to make it in the daylight hours. Last year we left at 2:00 a.m., with no moon. Total darkness was no fun, and we picked up a crab pot out in the Gulf, but that’s another story. We’ll stop off in Little Shark River for the night. It’s a ten hour ride for us.


Early the next morning, weather permitting, we’ll be off for Marathon. It’s takes 8 hours to complete the last leg of the journey. We should arrive just before November 1.

Overall, our laidback approach to travel means we’ll spend almost a month making a trip that others can make in a day and a half. We don’t care! If we were in a mood to move quicker, we’d do the same routes in five days, assuming good weather.

What’s your approach? Are you a tortoise or the hare?

7 thoughts on “Short Hops and Fair Weather


    Nice article. Jessica and I are in Longboat key; we are going to look at a Marine Trader 340Europa tomorrow and a 40 Ocean Alexander Europa tomorrow. The Ocean has trim 8.2 Detroit diesel I think I’m afraid of the Detroit I have read bad reviews about them, however my boat surveyor says they are good nut parts are hard to get for boats/engines from the 80s. The Marine Trader is a 34 looks great on pic but 34 seems small for the two of us l no radar and early 1996 Garmin electronics, and they removed the mast and no way to store a dingy. I’m getting frustrated.

    You are where you want to be when you get on the boat! Rick Miller

    Sent from Surface

    1. Ed Robinson Post author

      We looked at a few 34’s, and they did seem small. We store our dinghy on swim platform. We have no radar and don’t plan to get it. I did replace the chartplotter early on with a nice Garmin. It’s a must have for me, we love it. Good luck in your search.


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