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Old 31-12-2018, 17:04   #1
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Advice on crossing to the Bahamas

Hi all!! Looking for some advice on a Bahamas crossing. Weíre hoping to be able to make a crossing from west palm beach to the west end Bahamas mid to late February. Our boat is a Macgregor 26x with a 50hp outboard (motor sailor). We will carry enough fuel to motor the entire crossing if necessary. Weíre competent sailors but by no means experts.
Iíve researched online about making the crossing and am getting mixed advice. Some people say they do it on a jet ski 😮 others say donít do it on anything less than the Queen Ann. Also as weíre not local to the area so what weather should we be on the watch out for? Obviously we can tell if itís a storm and Iíve read a bit about winds going against the grain of the Gulf Stream and that being bad news and to motor across the Gulf Stream even in good weather. But is there any other helpful advice for this trip? Thank you, Adam
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Old 31-12-2018, 18:02   #2
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Re: Advice on crossing to the Bahamas

http://1fatgmc.com/boat/mac-1/2015%2...Main-Menu.html
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Old 01-01-2019, 03:58   #3
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Re: Advice on crossing to the Bahamas

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Adam.
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Old 01-01-2019, 04:58   #4
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Re: Advice on crossing to the Bahamas

We crossed from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini a couple of weeks ago for the first time. We had spent much time listening to others advice and reading online. Consensus was to go further south and leave from Miami or below to allow the current to carry us north as we crossed. Rather than spending another day traveling south we decided to leave from Fort Lauderdale aiming for Bimini and if the current made the going to hard we would change our entry to Freeport. The forecast was for light winds from the northwest if I remember correctly. We started out the channel at 5:30 am. We aimed for a point 25 miles or so south of Bimini until the current started showing us down at about 15 or so miles out at which point we altered course to a bit north of Bimini. Once the current died down we reset to make the entrance to Bimini. We motor sailed some but mostly motored as we didn't want to arrive after dark. The worst wave action we got I would describe as rolly for about 3 hours. It wasn't particularly uncomfortable. Make sure you add into your planning what the sea conditions will make entry into your destination be like. A sport fisherman had told me that the entrance to Bimini can be more than challenging if there are rollers hitting the sandbar at the entrance & we witnessed that the next day from inside the harbor. You know your boat and your comfort level so I would suggest that when you leave Florida if the conditions don't meet your expectations be prepared to turn back and wait for a better day. Good luck and enjoy.
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Old 01-01-2019, 05:58   #5
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Re: Advice on crossing to the Bahamas

A few points to think about...Don't cross if the wind has a northerly component, ......leave early as the distance is almost 60 NM, ....west end marina is really nice, but pricey......you can anchor in the lagoons near the marina.....plan for a daylight arrival....it helps if you have your customs & immigration documents ready....dress appropriately when you arrive at customs as you are a guest in their country.
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Old 01-01-2019, 06:13   #6
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Re: Advice on crossing to the Bahamas

Bahamas Customs requires the following:
Vessel's Registration
Completion of the Maritime Declaration Form
Completion of the Inward Report Form
Everyone on board must have proof of citizenship ... U.S. citizens must present a passport.
Completion of an Immigration Card for each person arriving on the vessel.
ALL Forms can be Downloaded
HERE ➥ http://bimini-bahamas.com/custom-2/B...mmigration.pdf
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Old 01-01-2019, 06:19   #7
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Re: Advice on crossing to the Bahamas

Just make sure you understand the weather patterns and the affect they (especialy brisk north winds) have on the gulf stream. Then read the NOAA offshore forecast for that area religiously until you recognize what a good crossing forecast looks like.

Finally, pick your day, and don’t hesitate to turn around and come back if you get out in the Atlantic and realize you figured the weather forecast wrong.

On a good day, you could make the crossing in a 13 Whaler. On a bad day, you can be in a 54 Bertram and be crying for mama. I’ve taken my last beating from the stream. I wait for the 13 foot Whaler weather.
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Old 01-01-2019, 06:46   #8
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Re: Advice on crossing to the Bahamas

Barometer Bob is a great resource for weather conditions in the Gulf Stream and the Abacos.

http://barometerbob.org/weather/mob.html

If the wind has been blowing from the north, we like to give the stream a day to settle before crossing. If youíre anchored in Lake Worth, or near Peanut Island, get in your dinghy and go talk to folks on nearby boats. Chances are, most of them are waiting for a weather window to cross too. And many of them will have done it before.

Itís only 55 miles from the Lake Worth inlet to West End, so with your horsepower you can make the trip during daylight hours.

We always treat ourselves to at least one night in the Old Bahama Bay marina, along with an adult beverage or two, to celebrate a successful crossing.

From there, itís minutes to the Indian Cay cut into the Little Bahama Bank and easy cruising in mostly protected waters.

Enjoy!
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Old 01-01-2019, 06:48   #9
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Re: Advice on crossing to the Bahamas

Thanks Stu Jackson. That’s a great list.
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Old 01-01-2019, 07:17   #10
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Re: Advice on crossing to the Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by jibstay View Post
Barometer Bob is a great resource for weather conditions in the Gulf Stream and the Abacos.

BarometerBob

If the wind has been blowing from the north, we like to give the stream a day to settle before crossing. If youíre anchored in Lake Worth, or near Peanut Island, get in your dinghy and go talk to folks on nearby boats. Chances are, most of them are waiting for a weather window to cross too. And many of them will have done it before.

Itís only 55 miles from the Lake Worth inlet to West End, so with your horsepower you can make the trip during daylight hours.

We always treat ourselves to at least one night in the Old Bahama Bay marina, along with an adult beverage or two, to celebrate a successful crossing.

From there, itís minutes to the Indian Cay cut into the Little Bahama Bank and easy cruising in mostly protected waters.

Enjoy!
Good advice here. On a good crossing day, from most of the usual staging areas, it often looks like the Dunkirk rescue on the first good day! If everyone else is heading out, there is a reason. If no one is, there is also a reason!
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Old 01-01-2019, 07:22   #11
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Re: Advice on crossing to the Bahamas

Thanks everyone! Great info! Definitely a few things I hadnít thought of. The weather is our biggest concern I think, knowing how to tell when it should be a good crossing. Are the weather windows usually fairly narrow or can it go for a stretch of days with favorable conditions? That Gulf Stream is just really throwing me for a loop 😕
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Old 01-01-2019, 07:26   #12
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Re: Advice on crossing to the Bahamas

We crossed before Christmas, ahead of an approaching cold front.
NW wind 10 gusting Iíd guess to 20. Chris Parker said it would be a little rough, but I didnít want to wait another two weeks in West Palm.
It was a little rough, lots of green water over the bow, I was surprised at how rough. Once past Memory Rock it calmed way down, way down.
I would not have wanted to do it in your boat, no disrespect intended.
You want a calm day, seems after a cold front passes the seas lay right down, but not as one is approaching
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Old 01-01-2019, 08:48   #13
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Re: Advice on crossing to the Bahamas

Try also here, for LOTS of Bahamas info, and more real-time connectivity (easy to keep a FB page open):

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1484863691810339
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Old 01-01-2019, 08:54   #14
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Re: Advice on crossing to the Bahamas

For an easy crossing go farther south. I use either Boca or Hillsboro and head for West End. Easy entrance and nice people to check in with. Staying at Old Bahama Bay although expensive is a good start to a Bahama cruise.
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Old 01-01-2019, 09:18   #15
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Re: Advice on crossing to the Bahamas

Would starting further south give us a smoother crossing? Is it still doable in a day reaching west end in daylight? I had picked the peanut island area just from other suggestions and it being about the shortest distance. But comfort and safety are our main goals as it it for everyone.
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