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Old 23-08-2016, 17:12   #31
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

OK, good stuff! Go south, Old man . . . Without xtra fuel I think my range is over 200 nm unless I put the pedal to the metal at 7.5 kts.
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Old 23-08-2016, 18:44   #32
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

Hobie: We are looking at Lauderdale as a better angle than Lake Worth for departing to West End with a 30ft sailboat n November. With the cruise traffic are you aware of any restrictions or reasons that this would not work for us? We expect to depart at 3am and I thought I read somewhere that it gets complicated in Port Everglades when cruise ships are docked or coming in.

Also is Lake Sylvia a suitable staging spot, (anchoring restrictions?) or can you suggest a reasonable marina. Any advice is appreciated.
Tks.
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Old 23-08-2016, 19:22   #33
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

i have been from Florida to Abacos lots of times, sometimes single handling a 40 foot cat. Easy to go to West end, easy customs. leave out of Boca Raton inlet if you feel comfortable or otherwise leave from Hillsborough inlet. Very easy, less than fifty miles. Done it lots of times
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Old 23-08-2016, 19:39   #34
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

I thought of Hillsboro but their bridge to ocean is too low for a sailboat and only opens for taller boats in daylight hours. if we want to leave early in the morning (3am) then we cant leave from there.
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Old 23-08-2016, 19:55   #35
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

As other's have suggested, your first, second and third concern when contemplating a first crossing of the Gulf Stream is to not get in a 10knot+ north wind opposing a 2-5knot current. It's like stumbling onto the set of the movie "Perfect Storm".

In practice, this often means heading south along the Florida Coast (ICW or outside) watching the weather reports. Once I reach Canaveral, I will GO on the first great weather day (which is 0% chance of a NW, N, NE wind over 5 knots or any direction over 20 knots). If the forecast is not good, I go another day south along Florida improving the angle and hope for a window the next day (or night).

Cross the stream at close to a right angle (unless you've gotten to Miami or father south and the current is a help). Once past it you can turn south again out of the current on the Bahamas side. Clearing at West End or Bimini is the easiest your first time.

Do not get impatient or set a "must go" date. In winter, you can wait for three+ weeks without a window.
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Old 23-08-2016, 20:20   #36
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

The weather is something we have studied up on and as we are coming around from the West coast we can leave from as far south as we want. However, a suitable place to wait is important and we don't want to run into difficulty with lack of a suitable place to anchor, ease of departure in the dark etc. We don't mind being on a mooring or even at a marina as long as it is not for weeks as our Canadian dollars don't go as far as they used to! Also Florida is getting a little hard assed with its anchoring regulations again and we don't want hassle. Fort Lauderdale looks pretty complex with its cruise and container ships and perhaps restrictions on small boats when the cruise ships come in very early in the morning, likely as we are trying to depart.

A lot of people leave from Lake Worth but it looks like they will be fighting the current somewhat in their S curve to essentially go east without going too far north in the current to West End. Especially at 5 or 6 kts boat speed.

Boca Raton looks like a possibility if anchoring is allowed in the lake there. The bridge looks to be 24 hrs. Miami is the other option, although I think it is too far south to keep the transit time to West End to a minimum, despite the current boost north.

Any thoughts, anyone in the Boca Raton area?

thanks
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Old 24-08-2016, 03:47   #37
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

If you are in South Carolina why not sail directly to the Abacos from there? It's a three to four day passage that puts you in the heart of some of the best cruising in the Bahamas. Wait for a mild norther and cut directly across the gulf stream on an East South East course from Beaufort and when you get to the longitude of the East side of the Abacos head due South. When I've done this from Charleston, the norther gave way the the prevailing easterlies after I crossed the stream giving me a fast beam reach the whole way. It was awesome.
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Old 24-08-2016, 04:25   #38
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

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Originally Posted by sainted View Post
If you are in South Carolina why not sail directly to the Abacos from there? It's a three to four day passage that puts you in the heart of some of the best cruising in the Bahamas. Wait for a mild norther and cut directly across the gulf stream on an East South East course from Beaufort and when you get to the longitude of the East side of the Abacos head due South. When I've done this from Charleston, the norther gave way the the prevailing easterlies after I crossed the stream giving me a fast beam reach the whole way. It was awesome.
I'm good but not that good! A three or four day offshore passage with only my wife and I aboard is not even on my radar. Overnight coastal is more our speed. But thanks for the post.

To steer the thread back again, I'm still looking for the best chart books/guides/small scale paper charts of the Abacos/Bahamas for voyage planning. Any suggestions?
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Old 24-08-2016, 04:51   #39
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

"Hobie: We are looking at Lauderdale as a better angle than Lake Worth for departing to West End with a 30ft sailboat n November. With the cruise traffic are you aware of any restrictions or reasons that this would not work for us? We expect to depart at 3am and I thought I read somewhere that it gets complicated in Port Everglades when cruise ships are docked or coming in.

Also is Lake Sylvia a suitable staging spot, (anchoring restrictions?) or can you suggest a reasonable marina. Any advice is appreciated.
Tks."
We left Port Everglades at about midnight. There is big ship traffic 24/7 but no problem at all to leave. You won't want to be in the inlet with a cruise ship but they exit slowly and their intentions are clear. The channel is wide, straight and very well marked. Can get a bit choppy as you exit but once you clear the bouys it is fine.

Must have is Explorer chart books. We used those, with an eye on our Raymarine with an iPad with Bad Elf GPS running Navionics to compare all three...they rarely look the same!

do not go if there has been or is any Northerly component to the wind. Chris Parker nearly always makes Gulf Crossing predictions during his daily weather briefing.
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Old 24-08-2016, 06:23   #40
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

The "don't cross in north winds" advice is sound, but I would point out that a window of new north winds at 10 kts makes for a lovely crossing.

If it's been blowing out of the north for days, no. But if it's just turned and predicted to stay light it's perfect.
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Old 24-08-2016, 06:43   #41
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

We have gone from Hillsboro Inlet to West end and then the Abacoa's about 15 times. There is a good anchorage outside of the inlet bridge for staging. We usually leave at 4am for an arrival at West End in the early afternoon. The inlet bridge opens every 15 minutes, 24/7. Considering the Gulf stream affect and our speed of 5-6 knts, we steer (Compass) 92' all the way across. This gives you a good arc directly to Westend. It takes about 10.5 hrs. From Hillsboro and pts south, you get the benefit of the Gulf stream. If your intent is to go to Freeport, then it's a 30 nm sail arout the tip of Grand Bahama Is to Freeport. Bob
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Old 24-08-2016, 06:52   #42
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

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Originally Posted by Jack Lahr View Post
Pete33458's suggestion of saling direct from BeUfort to Feeport in a northerly is bad bad advice. A northerly wind in the Gulfstream is trouble trouble . Lots of threads on this
I actually gave no such advice. Nonetheless, not all northerlies are trouble in the gulf stream, they can actually be quite useful if they are not very strong. Pete
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Old 24-08-2016, 07:29   #43
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mainstreet View Post
I'm good but not that good! A three or four day offshore passage with only my wife and I aboard is not even on my radar. Overnight coastal is more our speed. But thanks for the post.

To steer the thread back again, I'm still looking for the best chart books/guides/small scale paper charts of the Abacos/Bahamas for voyage planning. Any suggestions?
Steve Dodge cruising guide to the Abacos is an excellent resource.
Explorer charts
Garmin Blue charts are spot on, you can down load Blue chart mobile for iPad for free and the charts are only about $40.00 for all oft the US and Bahamas.
Everyone I talked to in the Bahamas says stay away from Navionics for the Bahamas many horror stories grounding ect.
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Old 24-08-2016, 07:37   #44
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

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Originally Posted by bvander View Post
Primarily get Explorer Chart Near Bahamas chart book. Both chart kit and a cruising guide, tons of excellent information for newbie. Has all the main routes marked and has a high degree of fidelity. Welcome to Explorer Chartbooks

Other great guide for Abacos is Steve Dodge's Abaco cruising guide, updated annually and again lots of good detail. https://www.amazon.com/Cruising-Guid.../dp/0932265952
I second this recommendation, the Explorer Chartbooks requires three books for the whole Bahamas, be certain to get the ones you need. The one listed above covers the Abacos. It's worth buying the newer books much better than older used ones. Really the Explorer book is all you need, so much better than cruising with just the old cruising guides. "Line up the pink house with the first rock" it's all good till the guy paints his house.

Most say no North wind. We like jumping out on the tail end of the cold front, big leftover swells is easy sailing and the wind usually clocks around. I think a 8-10 Kt N wind much better than 20 kts SE and even more so if coming from the North. You can wait forever, if looking for more than a few days of SE during the winter. Last crossing we came out of Government Cut with a 10-12 kt N wind and had a great crossing, beam reach the whole way in big rolling swells. It is a very comfy sail.

During periods of SE winds, the wind is usually lighter during the night so leaving at night and arriving the next day is common approach. The traffic can be fun off the coast. We sail out of Norfolk so use to marine traffic. With AIS, it's piece of cake. Then you only need to watch out for smugglers, freedom floats, small fishing boats and big fishing boats, people who don't want to give away their positions. I hate seeing boats out there with no lights or any AIS. Makes you think what are they up to.

This guy's site is good one, to use with your other sources.
Barometer Bob - Abacos, Bahamas
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Old 24-08-2016, 08:03   #45
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Re: Bahamas via the northern route

Regarding Memory Rock and checking in at Green Turtle:

Please see the many posts indicating that the Bahamian government prefers people check in at West End and not cross the banks to check in at Green Turtle.

Regarding Florida departure point:

I think this depends on the boat, the weather, and personal preference such as whether one wants to do a day crossing or night crossing. When the winds are light, I have easily crossed from Lake Worth / Palm Beach in sailboats as small as 26 feet. If the wind is strong, with a strong southerly component, I'm more likely to depart from Fort Lauderdale. Lake Worth certainly has more options for extended anchoring while waiting for weather than does Fort Lauderdale. (I've known people who departed from Jacksonville)

Certainly the stream can get nasty when a strong north wind opposes a southerly current, but it does not follow that all north winds are going to create worse crossing conditions than all southerly winds. A crossing with north winds of 8-10 was much more pleasant than SE at 30 for me. (Easier point of sail for one thing)

I prefer spending the night sleeping at anchor to staying up all night when possible, so I typically day sail to WE from Lake Worth and anchor in the vicinity of WE that night, heading to Great Sale, or any number of the northern cays the next day depending on my interest and weather. (Grand Cays, Double Breasted, Strangers, Carter's Cays)
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