Sailing around Northeast Florida

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Sailing around Northeast Florida

Postby DigitalMechanic » Fri Dec 04, 2015 12:30 pm

The St Johns river runs right through the middle of the downtown here in Jacksonville, separating in half. The ambience from the middle of the river is amazing, even in plain old broad daylight. However, when the sun goes down and all the lights come on, downtown really is a sight to see. I put the boat in right there on the south bank in the middle of downtown, and get to enjoy this scenery from the center of the river every time I head out and come back in. It really would be neat to be out on the water enjoying the view at night. I am sure one day I will work up to night sailing.

Here are a couple pictures...
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Re: Sailing Downwind in strong winds

Postby GreenLake » Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:09 pm

DigitalMechanic wrote:The St Johns river runs right through the middle of the downtown here in Jacksonville, separating in half. The ambience from the middle of the river is amazing, even in plain old broad daylight. However, when the sun goes down and all the lights come on, downtown really is a sight to see. I put the boat in right there on the south bank in the middle of downtown, and get to enjoy this scenery from the center of the river every time I head out and come back in. It really would be neat to be out on the water enjoying the view at night. I am sure one day I will work up to night sailing.

Here are a couple pictures...


And I bet you are (and will be) having at least as much fun as the guy with that gigantic motor yacht. If not more. Small boat magic.
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Re: Sailing Downwind in strong winds

Postby K.C. Walker » Fri Dec 04, 2015 2:16 pm

GreenLake wrote: Small boat magic.


+1 :-)
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Re: Sailing Downwind in strong winds

Postby DigitalMechanic » Fri Dec 04, 2015 3:13 pm

That "Mega Yacht" belongs to the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars. I think he had it there for show, because he was trying to sell it. It is gone now so maybe he finally found a buyer.

Totally agree you. I will definitely be having more fun, because I will be sailing my boat ;)
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Re: Sailing Downwind in strong winds

Postby GreenLake » Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:40 pm

That's the spirit! 8)
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Re: Sailing Downwind in strong winds

Postby TIM WEBB » Sat Dec 05, 2015 12:51 pm

DigitalMechanic wrote:The St Johns river runs right through the middle of the downtown here in Jacksonville, separating in half. The ambience from the middle of the river is amazing, even in plain old broad daylight. However, when the sun goes down and all the lights come on, downtown really is a sight to see. I put the boat in right there on the south bank in the middle of downtown, and get to enjoy this scenery from the center of the river every time I head out and come back in. It really would be neat to be out on the water enjoying the view at night. I am sure one day I will work up to night sailing.

Here are a couple pictures...

Nice pics DM! Are you launching at the Friendship Park ramp then? I see what you mean about lots of bridges ...
Tim Webb
1979 DS2 10099 The Red Witch
(I used to be Her "staff", in the way dogs have owners and cats have staff, but alas no longer ... <pout>)
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Re: Sailing Downwind in strong winds

Postby DigitalMechanic » Sat Dec 05, 2015 1:22 pm

Tim,

I launch at the public boat ramp next to the River City Marina (River City Brewing Co Restaurant located directly across the river from he Jacksonville Landing). I think it is call "St. Johns Marina", even though it is not actually a marina, just a public boat ramp located next to a marina. It is probably kind of strange sounding, but this is downtown, lol. It is convenient for me since I live about 5 minutes away from there. The next closest public ramp with access to the part of the river (fat part between downtown and Orange Park) I like to sail is on the other side of the river and would take about 30 minutes to drive to. I figure I am better off getting to that spot in the river by water and then setting sail, vs lugging the trailer all the way over to the alternative location. There is another ramp about half way down the side of the river I live on called Goodby's Creek. That would be the absolute perfect spot to put in, but there is a small bridge that goes over the waterway that dumps into the river, and it does not raise. I am not trying to step the mast on the water, lol. I am not that crazy... yet... So, unfortunately only powerboat folks get to enjoy that ramp. If they would just get rid of that bridge, lol.

Here some more pictures of the marina next to the ramp I launch at. You cannot see the ramp, but the marina is neat. Also, I added a picture of the Main Street Bridge. On the right side of the bridge picture, but the left side of the marina pictures, there is a gigantic fountain located there on the River Walk. That fountain is called "Friendship Fountain". It is an awesome sight at night, when it is spewing water 50 feet into the air, with color changing lights hitting the water as it is propelled into the air. When you referenced "Friendship Park", I though maybe that was what you were talking about. That fountain is a very significant location to me and my wife. It is where we got engaged :D

Sorry, my little trip down memory lane...

I have to see if I can find a picture of that fountain at night.
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Re: Sailing Downwind in strong winds

Postby DigitalMechanic » Sat Dec 05, 2015 2:07 pm

I am trying to do this from my phone, but here is a link to a site that has a bunch of pics of the fountain... http://www.deltafountains.com/projects/stationary/stationary-fountains/friendship-fountain-jacksonville-fl.aspx

Also you can google "Friendship Fountain Jacksonville FL" and switch the Google search to "images". You will see all sorts of great pictures of it. They are always changing the color and spray patterns.

Now imagine being on your boat in the middle of the river at night... Enjoying the ambience :D
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Re: Sailing Downwind in strong winds

Postby TIM WEBB » Sat Dec 05, 2015 9:07 pm

DigitalMechanic wrote:I launch at the public boat ramp next to the River City Marina (River City Brewing Co Restaurant located directly across the river from he Jacksonville Landing). I think it is call "St. Johns Marina", even though it is not actually a marina, just a public boat ramp located next to a marina. It is probably kind of strange sounding, but this is downtown, lol. It is convenient for me since I live about 5 minutes away from there. The next closest public ramp with access to the part of the river (fat part between downtown and Orange Park) I like to sail is on the other side of the river and would take about 30 minutes to drive to. I figure I am better off getting to that spot in the river by water and then setting sail, vs lugging the trailer all the way over to the alternative location. There is another ramp about half way down the side of the river I live on called Goodby's Creek. That would be the absolute perfect spot to put in, but there is a small bridge that goes over the waterway that dumps into the river, and it does not raise. I am not trying to step the mast on the water, lol. I am not that crazy... yet... So, unfortunately only powerboat folks get to enjoy that ramp. If they would just get rid of that bridge, lol.

Yup, that's the Friendship Ramp. Seems as though the issue with getting from there to the "fatter" sections of the river south of there is that RR bridge adjacent to the Acosta bridge. According to Active Captain, it's undergoing construction, and is closed a lot of the time:

"The FEC Railroad has been holding the opening in the down position while doing maintainence. The FEC staff has held boaters for a two hour time frame. USCG is investigating and has advised the FEC RR not to have or hold the trestle down unless a train is crossing. The Trestle will be in the down position the week of December 7 for 5 days."

I see Goodby's, and yes, it is definitely not "blowboat friendly" ... <grrrrrr>

If you want to explore another really neat stretch of the St. Johns, cruise on down to Palatka, and splash at the Riverfront Park ramp. Really nice facility and sailing grounds both north and south of there.
Here some more pictures of the marina next to the ramp I launch at. You cannot see the ramp, but the marina is neat. Also, I added a picture of the Main Street Bridge. On the right side of the bridge picture, but the left side of the marina pictures, there is a gigantic fountain located there on the River Walk. That fountain is called "Friendship Fountain". It is an awesome sight at night, when it is spewing water 50 feet into the air, with color changing lights hitting the water as it is propelled into the air. When you referenced "Friendship Park", I though maybe that was what you were talking about. That fountain is a very significant location to me and my wife. It is where we got engaged :D

Sorry, my little trip down memory lane...

I have to see if I can find a picture of that fountain at night.

I am trying to do this from my phone, but here is a link to a site that has a bunch of pics of the fountain... http://www.deltafountains.com/projects/ ... le-fl.aspx

Also you can google "Friendship Fountain Jacksonville FL" and switch the Google search to "images". You will see all sorts of great pictures of it. They are always changing the color and spray patterns.

Now imagine being on your boat in the middle of the river at night... Enjoying the ambience :D

Neat thing about the Main St. bridge is that even "closed" a DS can get under: it's 40' closed, 135' open.

Neat link! I know that fountain well, and don't apologize for your "trip" - that would be an awesome place to get engaged! ;-P
Tim Webb
1979 DS2 10099 The Red Witch
(I used to be Her "staff", in the way dogs have owners and cats have staff, but alas no longer ... <pout>)
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Re: Sailing Downwind in strong winds

Postby DigitalMechanic » Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:46 pm

I am not sure about "Active Captain", but I almost never have a problem getting out, unless a train is physically crossing the bridge then there is a 5-10 minute delay. You are correct, they are actively working on it, but it stays up for the most part. We did have one day when we put the boat in and tied up, and then a worker train came up on the bridge. It took about 15 minutes to do its thing, and the the bridge was up and we were off. This was one of the days we had a beer before the voyage instead of on the way back in, lol.

That area in between the other side of the Acosta/Train Bridge and the Fuller Warren Bridge (I95) is where we have designated the "Test Sail Area". It gets a fairly controlled breeze for the most part right up the center part of the river (probably from the closeness of one bridge to another), and no where else. It is easy to get into, or away from wind. We have made several break/fixes to the boat, and tested them there. We have also had a lot of bad things happen, and been able to recover fairly easy due to the constricted nature of that little area. Basically if you run out of engine or sail power (from whatever you could imagine could happen with a 40 year old boat that you are trying to figure out), you cannot drift to far away. One thing I have learned about boats the hard way is that the saying "If it ain't broke don't fix it" is null and void. God bless this little area of the St. Johns, as its geography has saved this new sailor's tail a few times.

Palatka is definitely a sailing spot. I have not done it yet, but heard much of it. The Mug race goes from Palatka to Jax, and seems like it would be a great time. There are also parts of the St. Johns south of I295 (Orange Park Buckman Bridge), including Flemming Island and Doctors Inlet/Lake which would compliment the trip to Palatka. All supposed to be good sailing grounds. Doctors Lake would probably be a good R&R area if you were on a longer trip and needed a layover. If I understand correctly there should be some protected places to tie up and plenty of good eating. The South side of Downtown is definitely the place to be on the water. The Northeast has a lot of large commercial vessels in a thinner part of the river due to Blount Island (cargo ship land). If you can tough that out to get to the ICW, then there is another whole unexplored territory. Wait... that is what trailers are for :D

Damn... I have a lot of exploring to do, lol.

But we were originally talking about nighttime sailing ambience. I have nothing from on the water, but from next to it I have these...
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Re: Sailing Downwind in strong winds

Postby DigitalMechanic » Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:48 pm

Here a few more of the Fountain. Mine suck compared to the previously linked site, lol
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Re: Sailing Downwind in strong winds

Postby DigitalMechanic » Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:50 pm

And some Christmas tree on the river seems appropriate considering the season...

Along with an across the river shot of the Fountain...
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Re: Sailing Downwind in strong winds

Postby GreenLake » Sat Dec 05, 2015 11:25 pm

Now, those pictures all look like they are taken from terra firma. When will we see these pictures from the water?
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Re: Sailing Downwind in strong winds

Postby DigitalMechanic » Sun Dec 06, 2015 7:44 pm

"Terra firma" confirmed. Before I could have the boat in the water at night, I would have to rig up the boat with lights. It would have to be to USCG spec as well, as not only the coast guard but the sheriff have boats constantly hanging out in this area. To rig an electrical system up for lighting, I would think that there would be considerable effort to do so. Sounds like a new thread for the future (if not already started).
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Re: Sailing Downwind in strong winds

Postby TIM WEBB » Sun Dec 06, 2015 8:25 pm

More great pics! GL, he *did* mention that these are from shore
DigitalMechanic wrote:I have nothing from on the water, but from next to it I have these...

but I can't wait to see some from the water as well, or better yet, get some of my own if I should ever get the chance to sail up there at night ...
I am not sure about "Active Captain", but I almost never have a problem getting out, unless a train is physically crossing the bridge then there is a 5-10 minute delay. You are correct, they are actively working on it, but it stays up for the most part. We did have one day when we put the boat in and tied up, and then a worker train came up on the bridge. It took about 15 minutes to do its thing, and the the bridge was up and we were off. This was one of the days we had a beer before the voyage instead of on the way back in, lol.

Active Captain is a really useful site (activecaptain.com), because it combines a lot of the e-nav options out there, such as earthNC, etc., into a comprehensive cruisers' resource. I highly recommend it to all who are planning to sail in "unfamiliar territory", or even in their "home waters". DM, the info on AC was accurate as of October of this year, but current conditions could well be different. The USCG may have already "scolded" FECRR into complying with the rules ... ?

I typically won't crack a cold cylinder until I am underway on leisurely evening sails, or when nearing my destination on longer trips, but there have been exceptions ... ;-P
That area in between the other side of the Acosta/Train Bridge and the Fuller Warren Bridge (I95) is where we have designated the "Test Sail Area". It gets a fairly controlled breeze for the most part right up the center part of the river (probably from the closeness of one bridge to another), and no where else. It is easy to get into, or away from wind. We have made several break/fixes to the boat, and tested them there. We have also had a lot of bad things happen, and been able to recover fairly easy due to the constricted nature of that little area. Basically if you run out of engine or sail power (from whatever you could imagine could happen with a 40 year old boat that you are trying to figure out), you cannot drift to far away. One thing I have learned about boats the hard way is that the saying "If it ain't broke don't fix it" is null and void. God bless this little area of the St. Johns, as its geography has saved this new sailor's tail a few times.

Yup, looks like a great sailing area. Even if you're dead in the water, the current will take you somewhere ... ;-P
Palatka is definitely a sailing spot. I have not done it yet, but heard much of it. The Mug race goes from Palatka to Jax, and seems like it would be a great time. There are also parts of the St. Johns south of I295 (Orange Park Buckman Bridge), including Flemming Island and Doctors Inlet/Lake which would compliment the trip to Palatka. All supposed to be good sailing grounds. Doctors Lake would probably be a good R&R area if you were on a longer trip and needed a layover. If I understand correctly there should be some protected places to tie up and plenty of good eating. The South side of Downtown is definitely the place to be on the water. The Northeast has a lot of large commercial vessels in a thinner part of the river due to Blount Island (cargo ship land). If you can tough that out to get to the ICW, then there is another whole unexplored territory. Wait... that is what trailers are for :D

Damn... I have a lot of exploring to do, lol.

Palatka is definitely a great spot, but I've only explored as far as from the 17 bridge down to Dunn's Creek. Would love to do the Mug Race, but like I said in a previous post, seems like something has always gotten in the way of that one. Need to remedy that situation. I'm not a "racer" per se, but I find a point A to point B event appealing ... ;-P
"Terra firma" confirmed. Before I could have the boat in the water at night, I would have to rig up the boat with lights. It would have to be to USCG spec as well, as not only the coast guard but the sheriff have boats constantly hanging out in this area. To rig an electrical system up for lighting, I would think that there would be considerable effort to do so. Sounds like a new thread for the future (if not already started).

Our boats are not required to have anything more than a light you can shine on the sail, unless you put a motor on the boat, then we are required to abide by the same rules as the stinkpotters are. A standing 12V system is not all that difficult to set up, but all you really need are the battery powered clamp-on LED jobs from Attwood. Red/green on the bow and white on the stern. Plus of course an anchor light if you will be overnighting, and any simple 360 degree lantern run up to the mast top with the main halyard would suffice.
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1979 DS2 10099 The Red Witch
(I used to be Her "staff", in the way dogs have owners and cats have staff, but alas no longer ... <pout>)
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