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Old 04-09-2015, 11:39   #31
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Re: Avoiding Gulf Stream Current Headed S

I've done the trip from Philly down to the Dry Tortugas 6 times in a small ship (224-ft, 14-ft draft).

To stay out of the current, I kept the ship no further than 2-miles from shore, but usually ran about 1/2 to 3/4-mile off shore.

Plus factors are you get TV and Wi-Fi the whole way down for weather reports, the swell and sea's generally stay very calm that close in as there isn't any fetch to let them build.

Negative factors are you have to have a GOOD watch 24-hours a day as there are a lot of boats and channel outlets.

You need a GPS and a good fathometer & current charts as there are some shallow parts you need to stay away from.
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Old 04-09-2015, 12:18   #32
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Re: avoiding Gulf Stream current headed S

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post

I can tell you from Hatteras down to south of Morehead City the Stream is very close to shore. The closest I felt comfortable was a mile off the beach and the current was very strong and the water very warm even there.
Damn, if the sportfishing charter captains running out of Hatteras and Morehead City knew that, they could save themselves a lot fuel, rather than going all the way out to these notable GS waypoints:

Main destinations out of Beaufort Inlet to GS:

From MHC to Big Rock NE = 46.8 mi; to Big Rock SE = 51.02 mi; to the Rise = 50.7 mi; to Grouper Hole = 56.7 mi; to Swansboro Hole = 59.1; to Scallop Bed = 64.33.

I dunno, the views from space typically tell quite a different story, I've never seen a satellite image that places the Stream anywhere near as close inshore as you've described... Heading south, I have never felt any really noticeable effect of the Stream inside of the lines running from Diamond Shoals to Cape Lookout Shoals, and thence to Frying Pan... And, when riding the Stream northbound to a close rounding of Diamond Shoals, if you're still in the axis of the Stream by the time you're abeam of Cape Lookout, you've probably waited too long to bail out, and shoot straight for "R 2"... Even rounding that bouy, 10 NM SE of Hatteras Light, I doubt I've ever seen more than about 1 knot of NE current, at the most...


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Old 04-09-2015, 12:22   #33
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Re: Avoiding Gulf Stream Current Headed S

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Originally Posted by pete33458 View Post
Hello all: if you had to give a distance from shore, on average, to avoid fighting the current while at the same time not adding too much distance to your route by hugging the shore (not to mention all the obstacles that brings), what would your number be? For the sake of simplicity, let's restrict it to the region where the stream is close to land without being too close, roughly Diamond Shoals to to Ft. Pierce. Please, I really don't want this to turn into a long discussion of eddies or counter-currents or the difference between Florida and South Carolina or the seasons, just a general rule-of-thumb, what would it be? My number is 15 miles, but I would like to hear what others think.

Thank you! Pete
Pete,

I'm not sure I understand the 15 miles. Charleston you are west of the stream. I think you can probably go farther off shore and avoid the stream and the elbow, knee or what ever for Jax. Check NOAA there is probably a pile of free info.. Longliners us it to find the stream.
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Old 04-09-2015, 12:39   #34
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Re: Avoiding Gulf Stream Current Headed S

One of my favorite sites is "earth.nullschool.net" Play around on it to find winds, currents, temps, and more. Click on the "earth" window to get to the menu. Unfortunately there seems to be a blacked-out zone right along the coast, widest in south Florida...




















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Old 04-09-2015, 12:40   #35
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Re: Avoiding Gulf Stream Current Headed S

There is a series of bouys roughly six to ten miles off the coast in that area meant to keep north to south and vice versa vessels out of harms way. They keep you in about sixty feet of water.
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Old 04-09-2015, 14:38   #36
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Re: Avoiding Gulf Stream Current Headed S

Well, the reply to head off of the cape was a good one, for speed you can go in land on intercostal AT&T Norfolk and inside the cape and pop out south of oriental and cut across to Jacksonville or go on to Charlston and out there. A great chance to see the south and the waterway, with lots of spots to stop. Once you go on yo can hug the shallower water along the coast of Fla fairly close in depending on visible internet charts of Gulf Stream but close to shore has fit us best in many trips south. In the north of Norfolk almost any distance works offshore depending on the visible charts of stream and there is no sure distance off just close in or other side.
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Old 04-09-2015, 14:47   #37
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Re: Avoiding Gulf Stream Current Headed S

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Originally Posted by Doug Brown View Post
I've done the trip from Philly down to the Dry Tortugas 6 times in a small ship (224-ft, 14-ft draft).

To stay out of the current, I kept the ship no further than 2-miles from shore, but usually ran about 1/2 to 3/4-mile off shore.

Plus factors are you get TV and Wi-Fi the whole way down...
Wow, that must have been one hell of a WiFi antenna you had on that thing...

;-)
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Old 04-09-2015, 15:01   #38
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Re: Avoiding Gulf Stream Current Headed S

With my super duper wifi antenna I too got great wifi down south coast of Fla, especially
When wind was offshore and water was calm we hauled butt down the coast with live Internet feeds.
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Old 04-09-2015, 16:15   #39
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Re: Avoiding Gulf Stream Current Headed S

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With my super duper wifi antenna I too got great wifi down south coast of Fla, especially
When wind was offshore and water was calm we hauled butt down the coast with live Internet feeds.
Sure, scoring wifi while sailing along the Gold Coast with one foot on the beach can be a piece of cake, even without an external antenna...

But try live streaming via WiFi while passing by places like Wachapreague or Great Machipongo Inlets, Portsmouth Island, Cape Lookout or Frying Pan Shoals, Cape Romain, or Sapelo Sound just to name a few, and let us know how well that works out...

;-)
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Old 04-09-2015, 17:19   #40
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Re: avoiding Gulf Stream current headed S

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Originally Posted by pete33458 View Post
While I thank you for your response, this is not the question I was asking. I know how to find the stream, multiple ways, including temperature, drift speed, change in depth, and official ocean current predictions. I am not really interested in finding where the stream is, though. What I am interested in is other peoples' opinions on a rule-of-thumb distance from shore going from Cape Hatteras or thereabouts to Ft. Pierce or thereabouts, that is, from north to south, against the stream. thanks!
Cape Hatters, could be 60 to 100 miles east of shore, State of Georgia, 40 to 60 miles east, Jacksonville Florida, 30 to 50 miles east, Cape Canaveral to Miami, 10 to 40 miles offshore.

IntraCoastal Waterway (assuming your mast is less than 65') NO GULF STREAM!! Bars, restaurants and anchorages galore!
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Old 04-09-2015, 17:20   #41
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Re: Avoiding Gulf Stream Current Headed S

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Wow, that must have been one hell of a WiFi antenna you had on that thing...

;-)
...and must have spent a lot of time screwing around with it.

Assuming a usable range of 5 miles (which is extremely generous) at 14 knots and 2 miles offshore you'll need to connect to a new free open hotspot with a very strong signal on the beach every 39 minutes.

With 2 mile range (which is still generous in my experience) even if you're half a mile offshore you're only in range for 3.8 miles. At 14 knots that's 16 minutes. At 6 knots its 38 minutes.
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Old 04-09-2015, 17:29   #42
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Re: Avoiding Gulf Stream Current Headed S

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...and must have spent a lot of time screwing around with it.

Assuming a usable range of 5 miles (which is extremely generous) at 14 knots and 2 miles offshore you'll need to connect to a new free open hotspot with a very strong signal on the beach every 39 minutes.

With 2 mile range (which is still generous in my experience) even if you're half a mile offshore you're only in range for 3.8 miles. At 14 knots that's 16 minutes. At 6 knots its 38 minutes.
Unless he means he's picking up the much more ubiquitous cellular signals off the coast and tethering/hot-spotting it to his computer via his phone.
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Old 04-09-2015, 18:23   #43
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Re: Avoiding Gulf Stream Current Headed S

Two comments- first this is one of those times your speed log becomes critical. Compare the speed log to th GPS speed to determine how much current you are fighting. Too much current? Head closer to shore.

Second, based on my real world S FLA experience in both a kayak and sailboat, the closer you are to shore the less the effect of the Gulf Stream. Don't fixate on distance, but depth is better. Stay in less than 100 feet of water.
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Old 05-09-2015, 06:41   #44
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Re: Avoiding Gulf Stream Current Headed S

On our trip down last fall (arriving Miami on Nov 13) we had to hug the shore south of Ft Pierce just to minimize the current against us. We were a few miles (3 - 5 miles) offshore north of Canaveral with no problems but the further south we went the closer to shore we had to go and even when less than a 1000 feet off shore south of Ft Pierce we still had about 2 knots of current against us. We were so close to shore we could just about look into the windows of the Condo's we were going by.

Hope this helps

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Old 05-09-2015, 07:40   #45
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Re: Avoiding Gulf Stream Current Headed S

Pete; I really think you got your answer! THERE IS NO ANSWER! The stream is too dynamic to give a meaningful answer.
Retired Biological Oceanographer, Butch
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