Sailing on Tampa Bay is an enriching experience because of the many challenges and rewards that it offers.
There are many destinations around the bay for sailors on a day-sail or longer. Departing for those destinations from the downtown area, specifically the Vinoy Renaissance’s Marina where Sailing Florida Charters is located, is especially convenient because of its central location on the bay.
Dining spots, anchorages, bars, and recreation areas are all within just a couple of hours of sailing. I will be expanding on and reviewing many of these in the near future.
Fun and learning
As a training area for both sailing and power-boating Tampa Bay is a paradise. The bay features many unique training opportunities that are not found in other venues. There is a very active commercial shipping industry on the bay that would normally present hazards to new sailors. But, due to the bay’s shallow waters (plenty deep for us) the shipping is limited to well marked shipping channels. Students get exposure to large ships, their speed, sound, and wakes, without having to fear getting in their way.
Another unique feature of the bay is the many sets of range markers that the ships use. These are navigation aids are used to maintain a vessel’s position squarely in the center of the channel. Most students only get to read about these aids to navigation but on Tampa Bay they actually get to utilize them. With the various shipping channels students also get to see and follow preferred channel markers, another often read about but not seen navigation aid. These special navigation aids give critical information to the boater regarding the location of primary and secondary channels. These markers can be intimidating, but on Tampa Bay, students actually encountered, pondered, and figured them out, rendering them just the useful signs they are.
Destinations and cool breezes
The Sailing Florida Charters’ fleet of powerboats and sailboats can take boaters to many different recreation area on the bay. For example, Egmont Key and Fort Desoto offer wonderful swimming areas, and if fishing is your deal, the Skyway Bridge area has some of the best fishing around.
While the bay is known as shallow, the vast majority of water area is plenty deep, ranging from 12-20 ft. There are many square miles of day-sailing and trip launching waters to keep you from being bored.
So what about the wind, you ask? Tampa Bay offers excellent sailing breezes from September through May. With normal wind ranges in the 10-15 knot range and cold fronts bringing stronger North winds with their passing. Summer breeze is a little more challenging but still offers 10 knots regularly. Fresh sea breezes are the norm in the afternoon and most evenings offer enchanting land breezes for the sunset. The bay is nicely protected keeping the seas manageable for sailors of all skill levels.
The bay is very well marked with both day-marks and beacons making sailing day and night safe and secure.
Nothing beats a Tampa Bay sunset
St. Petersburg’s skyline is one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen from the water and with the sun acting as a backdrop during sunset it’s not easy to imagine a nicer photo op for those perfect photos of your sweetheart. Speaking of photo ops, have you seen the Skyway Bridge? It’s magnificent and spans the bay making a stunning photo background.
Tamp Bay has it all and it is calling you to come and play. Sailing Florida Charters has the perfect vessel for your playtime. Come to learn, come to play, come to relax, and come to stay, it’s all yours on Tampa Bay!
Look for future articles on the specifics of dining, and destinations on and around Tampa Bay.
I can’t wait to see you On the Water…With Captain Frank