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Old 02-06-2013, 08:17   #1
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Abaco to FL?

Heading to Abaco next week to move my boat back home for the summer. I'll be alone, and not really wanting any multi day/night passages, whats the best route? Around to West End and on to Palm Beach? That's how I got over. Or will the stream help enough to head for Fort Pierce if I leave early? If anybody else is planning on heading that direction sometime the week of the 10th, I'd be happy to buddy across. Once back I'm heading for Annapolis.
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:27   #2
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Re: Abaco to FL?

Memory Rock to Canaveral or Mantanilla Shoal to Canaveral. Go to Great Sail and wait for weather. Check to see if the lock at Canaveral is open.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:17   #3
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Re: Abaco to FL?

My advice is to avoid Canaveral for checking back into the US. When I checked in there in 2009 they confiscated all of my fresh and frozen food - even the frozen and sealed meats from New Zealand and the USA. I don't know if it was training day for the CBP office or they were a little short on items for their weekend BBQ, but I don't intend to ever find out. I would head for Ft. Pierce.

John
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:31   #4
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If you want to do this in day trips then leave Green Turtle Cay to Great Sale Cay, and anchor for the night. Then travel from Great Sale Cay to Mangrove Cay and anchor for the night. From Mangrove Cay head to West End and stay at the marina leaving in the morning for Fort Pierce. If you are registered w/ the Local Boater program you can phone in to Customs/Immigration as you arrive. Have a safe trip and enjoy. Rich
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:55   #5
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Re: Abaco to FL?

Thanks everybody,
My original plan was to get to either Great Sale, or West End, and launch from there. At Great Sale, I wouldn't have access to weather anymore, but a good forecast might suffice. It looks like about 120nm to Ft. Pierce? 20 hours or less depending on wind and how much help I get from the stream. Safe to cross the bank, to Memory Rock, in the dark, to get me to Ft Pierce in the daylight? I only draw 5ft.
Pete
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:46   #6
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Yep five foot draft should be fine across the banks.
Believe it or not you should be able to get weather on the VHF when you are at Great Sale Cay if you have an antenna on top of your spare.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:00   #7
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Re: Abaco to FL?

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Originally Posted by jstevens View Post
My advice is to avoid Canaveral for checking back into the US. When I checked in there in 2009 they confiscated all of my fresh and frozen food - even the frozen and sealed meats from New Zealand and the USA. I don't know if it was training day for the CBP office or they were a little short on items for their weekend BBQ, but I don't intend to ever find out. I would head for Ft. Pierce.

John
Boy that sounds annoying. Maybe they heard about what scoundrels Pearson owners are and were on the lookout.

I think just for the quickest trip and angle across the Stream I would go for Ft Pierce via Sale Cay and maybe West End as well. I have been able to occasionally get FL VHF weather broadcasts as far east as Marsh Harbor but very inconsistently. Been a while but with a masthead antenna Sale Cay might work pretty well.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:18   #8
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Re: Abaco to FL?

Pete,
An alternative would be to go from Great Sale Cay to the White Sands Ridge and depart the banks there. It's a little more direct to Ft. Pierce than Memory Rock and provides a generally wider and deeper channel. You should be able to time your departure from Great Sale to arrive at the White Sands Ridge just before dark and arrive of Ft. Pierce a little before dawn. The Ft. Pierce Inlet is fairly easy to enter in the dark, but it can be a little rough on the ebb tide with an easterly wind. It may be more important to time slack water at the inlet than daylight on the banks.

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Old 02-06-2013, 12:32   #9
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Re: Abaco to FL?

You did not indicate what type or how fast your boat was. I just made the passage from Mangrove to Ft Pierce in about 12 hours, but my boat is a good 6 knot plus boat. We didn't have a lot of wind that day and ended up motoring and or motor sailing much of the day at about 6 knots water speed. With the boost from the stream we averaged a pretty good speed. Depending on where you start in the abacos you should be able to make Great Sale in a day and then Mangrove the next day. If you anchor at Crab Cay you could even make mangrove in one day. You should be able to pick up some weather before you get to Memory Rock on the VHF, but if you don't and the weather doesn't look much like the forecast you have in hand you can always bailout to West End and wait for a window. By the way the locks at Port Canaveral are closed for repair from 0600 to 1800 for repairs daily until the 10th of June if they complete on schedule. I found this out just 4 days ago when I tried to go out through them. There was nothing in either the LNM or BNM regarding this. Since you are talking about doing this on the 10th I would go to Ft. Pierce as no government project I've ever heard of has actually finished on schedule..
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:06   #10
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Re: Abaco to FL?

The boat is a Catalina 42. 6 knots shouldn't be a problem. It looked like FT Pierce was about 120nm from Great Sale, meaning about 20 hours. Mangrove is only about 20 miles closer. 12 hours sounds great, but is all that gain from the stream?
After I make FL, the Chesapeake is next. Who wants to school me on that part of the trip. Again, probably alone, and wanting to get there quickly. The trip back down in the fall with my wife we'll see what I missed.
Pete
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:22   #11
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Re: Abaco to FL?

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The boat is a Catalina 42. 6 knots shouldn't be a problem. It looked like FT Pierce was about 120nm from Great Sale, meaning about 20 hours. Mangrove is only about 20 miles closer. 12 hours sounds great, but is all that gain from the stream?
After I make FL, the Chesapeake is next. Who wants to school me on that part of the trip. Again, probably alone, and wanting to get there quickly. The trip back down in the fall with my wife we'll see what I missed.
Pete
The secret is to simply head the boat west, don't try to hold to a rhumb line. When you first leave the bank you will be south of the rhumb line but the stream will soon push you north. Use your 6 knots boat speed to do all of your westing, the stream will take care of the northing. Once you loose the current on the west side of the stream, then take a rhumb line for the inlet. The east-west distance is about 60 miles, so that is about 10 hours give or take from the time you leave the banks. I looked at my log again and it was closer 14 hours. I left Mangrove about 5:00 am and arrived at Ft Pierce about 7:00 PM. I had to make some diversions for a couple of thunderstorms that added some time to the trip. The 10 hours from leaving the bank is still orrect, it was how long it took to get off the bank that I remembered incorrectly.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:29   #12
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Start north as a single handed sailor one step at a time, many of the off shore hops will be too long to stay awake. It will also be an active day as you travel the ICW alone.

Fort Pierce to St Augustine is doable as a long trip as a single hand sailor. Then ICW north to St John's River, from there off shore to Port Royal, SC. Then......
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:07   #13
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Re: Abaco to FL?

Pete,
I've done the single handed trip north from FL to the Chesapeake 3 times, and it's a lot more fun with someone else on board. I've found doing it alone is more of an endurance run than a pleasure cruise.
I try to do the trip in a series of off-shore hops of 30 hours or less, during which time I'm mostly awake. I will nap for 15-20 minutes at a time using a loud kitchen timer to wake me up. I normally depart on these hops before noon so I can arrive off the next inlet with plenty of daylight remaining. Having to stay awake for 24 hours or more means I will be resting for at least one day and two nights before departing on the next hop. It's less exhausting to in the ditch, but takes a lot longer and you are stuck at the helm while underway.

Starting in Ft. Pierce you don't have a lot of options: Either a short hop to Canaveral or a longer one to St. Augustine. From Canaveral you can make the St. John or St. Mary's River in about 24 hours. From either of those Rivers it is a long haul to Charleston (about 175 nm). You can put into Port Royal sound, but it is a long way to a marina or anchorage from the entrance.
Once you get to Charleston the remaining hops are less than 24 hours to Cape Fear and then Beaufort. I've always gone inside after Beaufort as it is a long way around Hatteras, and by that time I'm usually pretty worn down by those off-shore hops. The ICW from Beaufort to Norfolk is probably the most pleasant part of the ICW, with plenty of anchorages and facilities. Time to slow down for the rest of the trip.
Unless I am totally exhausted when entering the Beaufort Inlet I would continue up the ICW to Cedar Creek to anchor and rest for a few days. From there it is an easy trip to the Pungo River. From the Pungo you can reach either Elixabeth City or Coinjock in a 12 hour run, but most of the trip is in the Alligator River or the Albemarle where you can leave the helm for more than just a second or two.
I prefer going up the Dismal Swamp Canal from Elizabeth City, but that generally means two days. You can make the run from Coinjock to Norfolk in a single day.

Have a good trip.

John
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Old 05-06-2013, 18:18   #14
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Re: Abaco to FL?

Not sure what happened but I checked in there also in 2009 and they couldn't have been nicer... didn't even come to the boat and were customer service personified...one of the officers even gave us a ride back to the marina to drop us off.

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My advice is to avoid Canaveral for checking back into the US. When I checked in there in 2009 they confiscated all of my fresh and frozen food - even the frozen and sealed meats from New Zealand and the USA. I don't know if it was training day for the CBP office or they were a little short on items for their weekend BBQ, but I don't intend to ever find out. I would head for Ft. Pierce.

John
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Old 05-06-2013, 18:40   #15
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Re: Abaco to FL?

As I wrote, " I don't know if it was training day for the CBP office or they were a little short on items for their weekend BBQ, but I don't intend to ever find out".
They were very courteous and professional, just determined to empty my frig. On the positive side they took my garbage as well. Saved me a trip to the dumpster.

John
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