Strictly Sail Miami, this past February, was a catamaran enthusiasts’ dream. Production, semi-custom and custom cruising cats lined the docks at Bayside in Miami. All those multihulls shared a common need; sooner or later they will have to be hauled out for maintenance. South Florida has ample haul out facilities to accommodate these wide-bodied boats of 23-foot beam and greater. In our March 2016 issue, boatyards and marinas from Fort Pierce to Fort Lauderdale were examined for their haul out capabilities. This final part continues onward to Key West.
Just south of Fort Lauderdale is the Dania Cutoff Canal on the Intracoastal Waterway. It was dredged in 1918 to give the agriculture and railroad community of Dania Beach access to the Atlantic Ocean. Today, Dania Cut, as it is locally known, is lined with marinas and boatyards. Entering the cut for haul out will present a problem only for extremely tall masts. Florida Power and Light has electrical lines crossing over the canal with a charted vertical clearance of 135 feet.
Harbour Towne Marina is the first haul out facility heading west on the Cutoff Canal. Part of the Westrec Marina family, Harbour Towne has an easy access fuel dock with pump-out to empty the boat’s holding tanks before going on the hard. Their 100-ton Travelift will handle cats up to 27-foot beam. The marina campus has over 20 waterside businesses to provide the complete range of full service repair needed during haul out. 954-926-0300. harbourtownemarina.com
Fortunately for large catamaran owners, Dania Cutoff Canal is also home to superyacht shipyards. Derecktor of Florida is the largest of those facilities. Their 900-ton mobile boat lift makes hauling out catamarans with a beam of up to 40 feet a relatively easy task. A second lift, with a 200-ton capacity, accommodates a 24-foot beam. The 17 acre boatyard is very busy with repairs, refits and painting of superyachts, and yard space and skilled workers are at a premium during the winter yachting season. Therefore, Derecktor recommends catamarans haul out in the summer for the best possible service. 954-920-5756. derecktor.com
Broward Shipyard, just east of Derecktor, utilizes a 150-ton Travelift for cats with a maximum beam of 26.5 feet. This superyacht repair facility has year round availability for catamaran haul outs. 954-927-4119. browardshipyard.com
Cruising south to the Miami Harbor entrance through Government Cut leads to downtown Miami and the Miami River. RMK Merrill-Stevens is a full service shipyard dedicated to the refit and repair of fine yachts. While the yard has a few styles and sizes of lifts, catamarans are hauled out with their 500-ton capacity marine railway. This railway allows cats with a beam of up to 42 feet to be lifted. Heading upriver to RMK Merrill-Stevens requires negotiating ten bridges, eight of which are drawbridges. The remaining two, the Interstate 95 and Metrorail bridges, have a vertical clearance of 75 feet. To assist in picking the best times to travel upriver, the yard’s website has complete details on bridge openings and heights of tide. 305-324-5211. rmkmerrill-stevens.com
In the Florida Keys, the best yards to haul out are in Key Largo and Key West. Key Largo is home to Catamaran Boatyard, and not surprisingly, was designed for hauling out catamarans. This yard has a combination of both full service work and do-it-yourself availability. Their 88-ton Travelift will fit a beam of up to 27 feet 10 inches. The dredged channel at the entrance to the boatyard can safely handle a draft of 5 feet 2 inches at low water. Enter from Hawk Channel, and head northwest past Rodriguez Key. At the southern tip of Point Charles, by the entrance to Rock Harbor, is the boatyard’s channel. At this location, just call the yard on the phone and they will talk you into the channel and boat well. 305-852-2025. catamaranboatyard.com
Continue sailing southwest down Hawk Channel for 80 nautical miles to arrive at Robbie’s of Key West, situated on Stock Island. The entrance channel to Robbie’s is well marked and straightforward since Key West’s shrimp fleet uses it. The boatyard’s 125-ton Travelift will haul out cats with a maximum beam of 23 feet and 5 inches. Robbie’s is full service and DIY as well. Of course, an added bonus is at a nearby restaurant, having dinner made with pink shrimp fresh off the boat. 305-294-1124. robbieskw.com
ARE YOU A DIY SAILOR?
Many sailors enjoy the zen of repairing and maintaining their own catamaran as much as they enjoy sailing it. For the do-it-yourselfer there are only two boatyards in South Florida that cater solely to the DIY sailor.
Seminole Marine Maintenance along the ICW at Palm Beach Gardens will haul out a cat up to 25-foot beam with their 110-ton Travelift. If approaching from the south, there is a fixed bridge 65 feet high connecting Riviera Beach and Singer Island to go under. 561-622-7600. seminolemarine.com
Cracker Boy Boat Works at Riviera Beach, is located just inside Lake Worth Inlet, past Peanut Island, at the intersection of the ICW. With a 150-ton Travelift, a catamaran up to 26 feet of beam is easily accommodated. 561-845-0357. crackerboyboatworks.com
Capt. Jeff Werner is a 24 year veteran of the yachting industry. In addition to working as a captain on private and charter yachts, both sail and power, he is a certified instructor for the RYA, MCA, USCG and US Sailing.