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Old 14-05-2007, 13:21   #1
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Crossing the Gulfstream

Dear Forum members,
I am sitting comfortably in Lake Sylvia ... again. I offer this information so that others may learn from my mistakes.
The night before last, 5 boats (myself included) left from Port Everglades, headed for West End in the Bahamas. We had checked the NOAA weather updates via weather.com & weatherunderground.com. As of 2300 hours, both websites were still showing the 1513 update, and I (and others) presumed that this was the current forecast. It was not. That little bit of "oops" nearly cost us our lives.
The 1513 forecast showed absolutely perfect conditions for crossing, the 2000 update (which I didn't see until today) was 100% different. We got 10 miles offshore and were getting beat up badly ... we decided to turn around and head for "home". After doing the 180, we were in 6' seas on the bow. One of our group (who had lost both his VHF & nav lights) made a 2nd 180 ... and continued on and has just cleared into the Bahamas ... I can't wait to hear his story & buy Alan a Rum & Coke.
Moral of story? Don't count on "retellers" of marine weather, go to the horses mouth.
Bob
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Old 14-05-2007, 14:27   #2
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Hi Bob..I can feel yer pain.

Have crossed the Gulfstream 44 times and know how it can be.

What exactly was the conditions once ya got out there?
Wind direction and strenght? How long had the wind been blowing, etc..?

We are headed over to the Bahamas next week..Looking for fronts over Texas right now, but have not seen them.

Got a High stuck in the Atlantic for now, they are forcasting North winds mid to late week. North No Good.

What is the distance to West End from Port Everglades.?

(I always head for Bimini or Cat Cay to check in, but that is not written in stone..)

Dag
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Old 14-05-2007, 17:12   #3
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Bob, Just wondered why you didn't check the NOAA weather at NOAA or the NWS instead of WU or weather.com and did you get the most recent WeFax for the areas as well as High Seas Forecasts from the NWS? When I say most recent, We get the current forecasts as of the hour we are hauling anchor. Even then they Lie.
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Old 14-05-2007, 17:16   #4
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Dag,
the 1513 forecast was for "ideal" conditions. winds 5-10 decreasing to 5 or less after midnight. Seas 2-4 decreasing to 2 or less after midnight ... how does it get better than that? what we got was winds at 15 out of the W when we left, 2-4 seas. By the time we got into the Gulfstream, it was 25 out of the N with seas 4-6.
Gotta admit, I was cursing NOAA up one side and down the other ... till I found out that there was a 2000 hours update (which was accurate) that I didn't see ... started cursing myself for being a fool at that point.
Travelling with 4 other boats sounds like a good idea, but when 3 out of the 4 have "ants in their pants" perhaps it's not so good.
Sitting in Lake Sylvia, drinking rum, and reconsidering life as a whole. Part of me is looking at the weather coming up ... absolutely nothing but **** as far as you can see ... and part of me has had enough of this, looking at selling the boat & calling it quits. I mean c'mon man ...if there isn't gonna be any good weather in the future ... what's the point?
Bob
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Old 14-05-2007, 20:04   #5
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winds 5-10 decreasing to 5 or less after midnight.
From where man..From what direction?

Quote:
Gotta admit, I was cursing NOAA up one side and down the other ... till I found out that there was a 2000 hours update (which was accurate) that I didn't see ...
Uh, ya listened to the WX @ Ch1? They update every 4 hours or so. If bad WX, they update more often.

Found them pretty relaible over the years although I am the sceptic.

Quote:
what we got was winds at 15 out of the W when we left, 2-4 seas. By the time we got into the Gulfstream, it was 25 out of the N with seas 4-6.
Aye, that is frontal passage stuff:
It swings clockwise and a nice West wind will always turn North, sometimes sooner than later. It takes a few hours with a North before the Stream kicks up however.
Sometimes Ya get away with it.
Have also seen a nice Easterly turn North 25 knots with no warning...No idea what that is about.
Have seen East turn West in the stream....The more I cross the stream, the more I expect some strange weather phenomena.

Quote:
Sitting in Lake Sylvia, drinking rum, and reconsidering life as a whole. Part of me is looking at the weather coming up ... absolutely nothing but **** as far as you can see ... and part of me has had enough of this, looking at selling the boat & calling it quits.
Aye, don't be a light-weight, I have been sitting for weeks waiting for a crossing...If this was easy everybody would be doing it..But they are not, they are home watching TV instead.

I would sail to No-name if I was in yer pants, better to wait there.
Them City Police boats are going to kick yer arse out of Lake Sylvia after 24 hours, sometimes 48.
Even with nasty North winds ya can sneak down South along the coast. (Look for a counter current, the GPS will tell ya.) Once inside the Miami harbor ya take the South Fork and continue the Intercoastal to No-Name: Excellent jump-off for the Gulf Stream.

See ya there in a week or so.
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Old 14-05-2007, 23:49   #6
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looking at selling the boat & calling it quits.
Nah ya can't. You'll have a few bad days, but they pass into distant memory, soon to be forgotten. But you will have many many good days and they are the times you remember best. The Human mind has a very good safety mechanism. It can't remember pain. It does remember it wasn't a nice experiance and we learn from that. But we can't remember the actual pain of the experiance. If it is physical pain, we forget that the fastest. Emotional pain takes a little longer, but it too heals and we go on. We can and do remember joy though. And that is what you have to look forward to. I bet you, as soon as you get a lovely day, a beatiful evening in an anchorage and sunset over the yard arm, you will forget the bad day and will say, arrrr this is what it's all about.
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Old 15-05-2007, 03:59   #7
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Distants from Port Everglades Fl to West End Bahamas 65 nm. Youl will gain (loose?) about 10 miles with the gulf stream current of 2 to 3 knots North.

You can also get a test forcast on the web and get an email.
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Old 15-05-2007, 04:52   #8
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Sounds like you started too late. The wind was already west and apparently going north fast. Most people listen to Chris Parker's weather at 0630 on 4103 (might be the wrong frequency, that's off the top of my head) but you can get the frequencies from www.caribwx.com/main.html. You don't need a fancy rig just a little Sony that can recieve ssb will do.
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Old 15-05-2007, 07:16   #9
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Guys,
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this experience supposed to be enjoyable? For 6 solid weeks in Boot Key, we never saw a moment with wind speeds under 20mph ... now waiting in Fort Lauderdale & Chis Parker is saying the next opportunity to cross may be 24-30 days out! I have lived in Florida for 9 years now and let me tell you for a fact ... this is not "Normal" weather for this time of the year.
Dag,
If you haven't been to No Name in a while, let me tell ya, it's a zoo on the weekends, jam packed with power boats from Miami ... each trying to blare their music louder than their neighbor. As for staying here in Lake Sylvia, the police boats come by once a day & make a tour, but so far they haven't said a word to us. Been here nearly 2 weeks. They did chase out a trawler, seems they saw the owner, in his dinghy, on plane, which is not allowed here ... however ... if you are towing a skier, you are allowed to go to 35mph! And yes, we have skiers being pulled in and around all of the boats at anchor ... go figure.
Bob
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Old 15-05-2007, 07:38   #10
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Wednesday
Southeast winds around 10 knots. Seas 2 to 3 feet subsiding to 2 feet or less in the afternoon. Intracoastal waters a light chop. Chance of showers and thunderstorms.

Wednesday Night
Southeast winds 5 to 10 knots. Seas 2 feet or less. Intracoastal waters a light chop. Chance of showers and thunderstorms.

Thursday
Southeast winds 5 to 10 knots. Seas 2 feet or less. Intracoastal waters a light chop. Chance of showers and thunderstorms.
Thursday Night

South winds around 5 knots becoming southeast after midnight. Seas 2 feet or less. Intracoastal waters a light chop. Chance of showers and slight chance of thunderstorms.
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Old 15-05-2007, 08:47   #11
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There is yer window for crossing: going to be nice for a few days.

You must have done something right if they let you sit in Lake Sylvia for 2 weeks. Normally they come around once a day to remind all the anchored boats that there is a 24 hour city ordinance. Perhaps they look the other way if the weather is bad and folks are waiting to cross..
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Old 15-05-2007, 08:58   #12
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C Parker is on several Freq at different times. We usually listened to 8104

When we made the last cross fro Fl to the Bahamas we had to wait several weeks for the weather to come around. The boat we crossed with was just getting ready to give up after waiting for more than a month. We went from Key Largo to South cat Cay and cleared in on Chubb Cay a few days later.

It is a great experince, just don't rush it and do go becuase everyone else is. Pick the type of window you want and go.
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Old 15-05-2007, 10:59   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wahoo Sails
If you haven't been to No Name in a while, let me tell ya, it's a zoo on the weekends, jam packed with power boats from Miami ... each trying to blare their music louder than their neighbor.
Don't go into No Name. Before you reach the entrance turn south and go about a quarter mile to the edge of the flats and anchor. You'll be out of the boat traffic, won't have any bugs and if it's too rough to anchor comfortably you probably won't be going anyway.

Listen to the NOAA forecast and pay attention to the conditions at Fowey for a reality check. Bimini/Cat/Gunn Cay is an easy day or night trip and if the weather stays good you can make the decision to continue on to Chub or Nassau.

Bob Stewart
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Old 15-05-2007, 15:39   #14
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Dag,
Thanks for the update on WX. Now ... Chris Parker says "NO crossing for the next 10 days!" Jeff Masters on Wunderground says "Subtropical storm Barry may form between the Bahamas & the U.S. Eastern coastline" .... do ya see where the confusion comes in?
As far as I know, NOAA is the only source of raw data on weather, the differences in forecasts is how that info on data is interpreted. From my experience, Weatherunderground (and Jeff Masters in particular) have been the most accurate, followed by weather.com, then finally NOAA itself. I heard my first Chris Parker forecast just the other day, so I haven't had time to form an opinion there yet. Since we are travelling as a group, I believe the consensus will be to stay with C.P.'s forecast for now. We may miss a window ... then again, it may keep us outta trouble as well.
As for being anchored here ... it could be they are waiting to see how the new State law plays out in court, over at Marco Island.
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Old 15-05-2007, 16:46   #15
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Well, I would not travel in a group in the first place.

Too many cooks in the kitchen makes for a mess, same thing with too many skippers trying to decide on a good window.

Not sure who this Jeff Masters is, and never heard his forecasts. Actually been doing fine without him

As for storm Berry that may form between the Bahamas and Florida...?
The bad ones form off the coast of Africa, then blow this way with the trades, increasing in strengt as they roll across.

I local storm that "could" form around here is not something that would slow me down:
Have plan B in case of storms or thunderstorms regardless: Big fat anchor and some island to hide behind.

So, uh not giving advise here, but just don't see where the problem is: Ya got a good window coming up, I would have jumped on it.

Lake Sylvia is turning into Chicken Harbor....
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