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Old 02-02-2011, 08:47   #1
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Florida to the Bahamas

Going to sail from Jacksonville to the Bahamas... any info would be greatly appreciated ......

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Old 02-02-2011, 09:19   #2
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Get as far south as Miami or even Key Largo close to shore in the counter current and then cross.

Much easier then off-shore in the Gulf Stream


"Remember, experience only means that you screw-up less often."
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:42   #3
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I've done the trip from Jax. Two ways to go - 1) Head out and cross the stream (about 75-100 miles) then head South or 2) Bounce down the coast inside the stream (there is a counter-current that will help), go as far South as West Palm and then cross to West End at night - about 55 miles. No need to go further South unless you are real slow. The Cruising Guide For Florida has courses to steer based upon boat speed. A number of boats leave Jax for Abacos Race Week in July - Check with the Cruising Club for other boats going to the Bahamas if you want company - I think they are still around but I havn't sailed in Jax for about 10 years.
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:09   #4
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Are you wanting to cross the Little Bahama Bank to get to the Abacos? Does your draft allow for this? Our draft is such that we prefer to take a longer route in deeper water.

We've done the trip several times from further north of you. Each time electing to hop down the coast to West Palm Beach then head due East. It's direct into West End (easy uncomplicated entrance mid-day/early afternoon) - with the right winds you hardly have to adjust the sails! (One trip the winds were so calm and the stream so flat - it was had to grasp we were "in the middle" of the gulf stream, of course, we had to motor across rather than sail, but there are much worse problems!)

Other option, leaving WPB mid-afternoon cruise across overnight arriving at Port Lucaya, Grand Bahama late morning the next day. This is a well marked straight forward entrance into the Bahamas. Is an easy jumping off point for further exploring.

We have yet to feel that the time required for hopping all the way down the coast of FL to Miami, Ft L, etc., is worth the advantages of the streams help going east/northeast. (somehow - it seems counter productive, however, many people elect that path every day and have fun trips too. It's all okay, to each his own. )

Good luck and save travels,

Sailing Mermaid
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:50   #5
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Crossing to the Bahamas

Crossing to the Bahamas is easy, however the Gulf Stream current can push you North as you head to any of these islands. Make sure to have a bearing south of your destination. I did not realize the drifting on my first crossing (no GPS at that time) and I had to beat for several miles at very low speed on ground to reach Bimini.
I also suggest that you do not cross with a Northerly. Even though the crossing is short, any Northerly against the Gulf Stream is nasty.
Roland on Esmeralda II - Whitby 42
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Bahamas, florida

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