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Old 22-03-2019, 15:38   #1
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Best time to head north from the Bahamas

My wife and I have been in the Bahamas on our Vancouver 27 sailboat since the end of November. We are having a great time, but are trying to decide when we should start looking for a weather window to head north.

We are hoping to sail from the Abacos to North Carolina and the hop up the east coast to Maine and Novia Scotia for the summer.

We are trying to decide if we should spend April in the Bahamas and then start looking for a weather window to sail north in mid-May, or if we should start looking for a weather window in mid-April.

We have heard April and May are a great time to be in the Bahamas, with fewer fronts and more stable weather, but we have also heard there are more squalls and thunderstorms in May and it gets hotter and more buggy.

Any thoughts on Cruising in the Bahamas in April/May as well as best time to sail off shore to NC and start working up the East Coast?
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Old 22-03-2019, 18:06   #2
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Re: Best time to head north from the Bahamas

I plan on leaving maybe no later than March myself.
Iím a Southerner, but donít like laying in bed sweating.
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Old 22-03-2019, 18:14   #3
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Re: Best time to head north from the Bahamas

I sailed north from Brunswick, GA at the beginning of May last year and had favorable winds and not too many storms. I sailed up the coast years ago in early April and it was very different we got hit by a cold front and gale force winds. I'd aim for first of May.
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Old 22-03-2019, 18:35   #4
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Re: Best time to head north from the Bahamas

Thanks for the info.
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Old 22-03-2019, 20:12   #5
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Re: Best time to head north from the Bahamas

The last few years we left the Abacos very late April or early May and sail to Charleston. We have had very conditions each time. Planning to do the same this year, we have a Tartan 37,
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Old 23-03-2019, 05:02   #6
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Re: Best time to head north from the Bahamas

Puffcard, thanks for your response. There seems to be a word missing in your response....very _________ conditions.

Do you remember how long you have typically had to wait for a good weather window?
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Old 23-03-2019, 08:47   #7
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Re: Best time to head north from the Bahamas

Late April or early May works. You want at least a 4 day weather window with no northerly wind component, but by then the frequency of fronts had diminished significantly. We try to leave from Walker's Cay or there about. You can sail direct to Beaufort, NC. It took us 3 days in a 42' ketch and at times we saw 10+ kts riding the Gulf Stream!
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Old 23-03-2019, 08:50   #8
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Re: Best time to head north from the Bahamas

It snowed here (Ontario) and was -10C last night......so I wouldn't rush North too fast :-)
Bill


We are hoping to sail from the Abacos to North Carolina and the hop up the east coast to Maine and Novia Scotia for the summer.
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Old 23-03-2019, 09:10   #9
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Re: Best time to head north from the Bahamas

Left Chub Cay last Feb 27. Arrived Beaufort NC early AM Sunday 3 March. Good weather all the way except for last few hours. A little less than 100 hour run. About 8 knots; 50 foot trawler. Flat calm much of the time. Just a note - need a way out of the weather - heavy weather was coming Monday; just arrived a little early. Predict Wind pretty close on the weather forecast - European model.
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Old 23-03-2019, 09:48   #10
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Re: Best time to head north from the Bahamas

You can get fairly strong frontal passages in April, which can get interesting in the stream. I'd figure on leaving on or about 01 May, and I'd figure on going straight to Buzzards Bay Massachsetts if it's your intention to go east for the summer. The lift from the northerly current as far north as the latitude of the Virginia - North Carolina line makes for a satisfying passage
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Old 23-03-2019, 11:10   #11
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Re: Best time to head north from the Bahamas

I left The Exumas for Beaufort NC last week of April with a good forecast and had a great passage. Patience paid off as we waited for that good forecast.
Our final destination was Newport RI - did the ICW from Beaufort to Norfolk - then Chesapeake - Jersey shore, and didn’t meet any bad weather until we were in Long Island sound.
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Old 23-03-2019, 11:53   #12
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Re: Best time to head north from the Bahamas

Thanks! We are planning to wait for a window in the Walkers/Grand Cay area. We are itching to explore Double Breasted Cay while we wait for a good window.
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Old 23-03-2019, 11:55   #13
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Re: Best time to head north from the Bahamas

Thanks for your input. It would be great if we can get fair winds all the way up to Mass in one shot.
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Old 23-03-2019, 11:55   #14
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Re: Best time to head north from the Bahamas

Good point!
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Old 23-03-2019, 22:14   #15
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Re: Best time to head north from the Bahamas

Last year we were sailing from Hometown to Green Turtle and as we sailed out the Whale. I said this is a nice sail let's keep going and we rechecked the weather, rig the jack lines, pack the ditch bag and kept going. By late April or early May the fronts are about done. The waiting is much shorter. Go much later, then you need to watch for thunderstorms. We have an InReach, you can get two weather forecast off it. Plus I have my someone spot check for TS, while tracking up the coast.
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