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Old 21-04-2016, 10:20   #1
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Short trips to the Bahamas

We may be liveaboards in FL in the very near future. Given the right season, what kind of time is required to visit the Bahamas from FL? Is it weeks in between weather windows to cross? Can a round trip be completed in 2 weeks?

Just looking for some real life examples of relatively short trips to the Bahamas.

Thanks,
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Old 21-04-2016, 10:39   #2
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Re: Short trips to the Bahamas

Hey Cs! We usually only have two weeks for vacation so you can do the "near Bahamas" in this time and still feel like you had time to sit and relax in some beautiful places. Abacos and Bimini are easy to do in that time frame. From Bimini, we really like to go to the Berry Islands and then do a longer sail back (Palm Beach is our port). We will spend 2-4 days around Bimini, a day over to the Berrys for another 4-5 there. Same with the Abacos.

We are going to explore the northern islands of the Abacos this May so might spend more (or all) of our time there this trip. If you are further south, Andros might be interesting. I feel like we need 3 weeks to get to Exumas or further southeast to really enjoy it

We tend to go in late April or May so the NE winds are less frequent and less worry about your weather window. I've seen people wait a week or more in the lagoon ( south of the inlet) in winter which can be a problem if you are on a two week schedule.
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Old 21-04-2016, 10:51   #3
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Re: Short trips to the Bahamas

Ah, can always count on you dear! thanks for the reply. Our house went on the market Tuesday, and two showings today which seems good before the weekend even. (Ohio market people, so you folks in other states that would have had it sold by now just chill out).

The last 'C', Caity, is graduating in less than 30 days!

Our evil plan is coming together, but can't jinx it.

- Ray
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Old 21-04-2016, 11:00   #4
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Re: Short trips to the Bahamas

Are you sailing or motoring? Leaving from where? A hard question to answer without this information.

I've made it from Miami to Bimini (sailing) in 8 hours under the right conditions. But the right conditions for sailing from Miami to Bimini are relatively infrequent given that they are due east/west from each other, there is a 3kt north flowing Gulf Stream, and a prevailing E/SE wind. If you are in Miami and heading further north in the Bahamas, let's say West End, your weather window increases, but so does the distance, I've made it in as little as 15 hours. If you're leaving from further south, like the Keys, your weather window is again larger because much of the Bahamas is north of your latitude (still with a north-flowing current and prevailing E/SE wind), but again distances are greater.

All depends on what you want and how patient you can be with a weather window. If you are a liveaboard, obviously you should have plenty of time to wait for the right opportunity, although if you're planning on being anywhere north of, let's say, Ft Pierce, the weather window for going to the Bahamas is essentially never...

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Old 21-04-2016, 11:15   #5
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Re: Short trips to the Bahamas

You might often wait for a weather window 1-2 weeks much of the year. As mentioned pre-summer and summer less NE wind... I think.... so could do it.
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Old 21-04-2016, 11:29   #6
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Re: Short trips to the Bahamas

So I was sailing off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale yesterday in an AMAZING Outremer 51 (that is another story) and asked the exact same question. Here is what the local person told me:

1) What size boat are you taking...if you are in a 50' Catamaran, it then short of the wind blowing down from the north you don't care nearly as much. It is a comfort thing.
2) What is your personal comfort level. If you are in a 32' mono with 3.5kts VMG...it is a different animal.


Good luck selling your place Following C's! I have had 13 showings in the first 10 days on the market here in Michigan...I am hoping my live aboard status starts soon as well.
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Old 22-04-2016, 09:25   #7
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Re: Short trips to the Bahamas

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Originally Posted by FollowingCs View Post
We may be liveaboards in FL in the very near future. Given the right season, what kind of time is required to visit the Bahamas from FL? Is it weeks in between weather windows to cross? Can a round trip be completed in 2 weeks?

Just looking for some real life examples of relatively short trips to the Bahamas.

Thanks,
~ Following Cs ~
I own a 46' ketch that I routinely cross the Gulf Stream with to either Bimini or to Freeport enroute to the Abacos . Depending on your sailing experience and how well your vessel is found / equipped it can be boring or a rip roaring challenge , this all depends on where the wind is coming from . If you are looking at a Norther ( a low pressure system ) coming from the north I would stay at a anchorage in Palm Beach , Ft. Lauderdale or Miami until the winds clock around from the east/southeast before setting out . If motoring at say 7 knots it will take about 8 hours to Bimini and 10 hours to Freeport. Going to Freeport with winds out of the E/SE you can sail , if going to Bimini then the winds will be against you and motoring will be what you wind up doing .Going to Bimini the Gulf Stream will be against you so plan your set and drift for the current whereas going to Freeport the current will assist you , however its just the opposite when coming back to Fla. Either way if the winds are out of the E/SE and settled for a day then you will have either calm flat seas or at the worst 2' to 3' or what we call knee high seas , a pleasant crossing . If you head to Freeport to go around the north end of Freeport to head for the Abacos , this will take about 2 days to get to the point where you make a right turn into the Abacos . So if all you have is 2 weeks and the winds are right you should be able to have a good sail , remember do not cross the gulf stream with North winds or an approaching low pressure system coming down from the North , the seas will build rapidly when this happens and you will find yourself in anything from 8' to 12' seas . I have seen 15' seas when the wind really pipes up ,which by the way can be breaking seas not just big rollers . Remember winds from the NW,N,NE are not good , even if it looks like 2'to 3' seas when you set out by the time you reach the Gulf Stream it will have been building , remember wind is what makes waves and wind against a current makes bigger waves , whereas wind in the same direction as a current will tend to flatten the seas . If the winds and forecast are right then get out there and have a fun sailing your vessel.
Barry
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Old 22-04-2016, 10:07   #8
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Re: Short trips to the Bahamas

Yes on the 2 weeks. Google " Abaco Race Week" thats when most of us go. Watch the wind, N or NE be careful, you will have to motor/sail, you will get beat up.
Have a good GPS, have good comms and have an Epirp/personal locator beacon on board.
Look at the website for the Hillsborough Inlet Sailing Club, HISC, talk with them and get a buddy boat to go with you.
Fair Winds..........
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Old 22-04-2016, 10:09   #9
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Re: Short trips to the Bahamas

Waiting for the weather window from Florida to Bahamas (Abacos) will test your patience. We have gone over a couple of times: wait one year was 34 days; another year, 32 days. Both in December or January. We know of one group that waited in Lake Worth for 6 weeks and were so stir-crazy that they formed their own yacht club and began knitting burgies.
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Old 22-04-2016, 10:11   #10
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Re: Short trips to the Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by FollowingCs View Post
We may be liveaboards in FL in the very near future. Given the right season, what kind of time is required to visit the Bahamas from FL? Is it weeks in between weather windows to cross? Can a round trip be completed in 2 weeks?

Just looking for some real life examples of relatively short trips to the Bahamas.

Thanks,
~ Following Cs ~

Been to the Bahamas from Florida many times and never been concerned with a weather window. A one day or one night crossing, no big deal.
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Old 22-04-2016, 10:36   #11
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Re: Short trips to the Bahamas

I agree with adlib2 I have made some 50-60 crossings and I generally leave around 1500 from lake worth inlet and play the currents so I come on the banks north of memory rock and then I anchor at great Sale for a nap then head to Green Turtle, I understand this year entry requirements may dictate otherwise!
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Old 24-04-2016, 18:47   #12
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Re: Short trips to the Bahamas

If West End were the check-in point, where would you suggest as a jumping-off point? We'll be making the trip with our dog, so I'd like to shoot for West End rather than GTC.
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Old 24-04-2016, 18:57   #13
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Re: Short trips to the Bahamas

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If West End were the check-in point, where would you suggest as a jumping-off point? We'll be making the trip with our dog, so I'd like to shoot for West End rather than GTC.
Let me make sure I understand. You want to check-in at West End. If you are then making for G.T.C. I would simply go up the north coast pass memory rock, then across the banks to Great Sale and around to G.T.C. You can go in a strait line across the banks from West End but the depth is kind of variable. Ive grounded several times going that way. If on the other hand you mean by jumping off your leaving the Bahama's We have always exited the banks either near Memory Rock ot just South of it and set our course for lake worth, with some adjustment we can almost ailmost make a straight course and end up at St. Lucie inlet
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Old 24-04-2016, 19:26   #14
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Re: Short trips to the Bahamas

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Originally Posted by FollowingCs View Post
Given the right season, what kind of time is required to visit the Bahamas from FL?
As much time as you got!

Our first crossing was a few months ago and the bahamas far exceeded expectations. Even if it's only a short trip, you won't be disappointed.

But if you can make it further SE, it just keeps getting better and better
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Old 24-04-2016, 21:42   #15
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Re: Short trips to the Bahamas

Quote:
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If West End were the check-in point, where would you suggest as a jumping-off point? We'll be making the trip with our dog, so I'd like to shoot for West End rather than GTC.
For WE, I prefer to depart from Lake Worth early morning, Clearing WE that afternoon. (I prefer sleeping at anchor to sailing through the night when possible) I've anchored out in the WE area in Cross Bay, north of the Beach Bar, in the inlet off the Indian Cay Pass and behind the crescent sand bank north of Sandy Cay. I usually gain the bank via the Indian Cay passage, but I've also exited the bank a few miles north of that just north of Sandy Cay which is much more straight forward, and not as far north as Memory Rock.

From WE, I've headed to Mangrove, Great Sale, The Grand Cays, Double Breasted, Strangers or the Carter Cays. Many cruises are hell bent on getting to the southern Abacos as quickly as possible, but I enjoy the solitude one can find in the lesser traveled northern Abacos. Lots of secluded beaches to enjoy with your dogs up there.

One time when there was a very strong south wind, I departed from Fort Lauderdale instead. Lake Worth was a good place to wait for weather. Free anchoring, a couple marine stores, restaurants, the beach and a grocery store all within walking distance.

While one needs to be careful of a north wind, I crossed in a north wind of 10 knots one winter and it wasn't that bad. The only time I've turned back was when a predicted 25 knots ESE turned out to be 35 one night.
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