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Old 05-04-2009, 15:21   #1
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Chesapeake to the Bahamas - Late June '09

Has anyone ever sailed from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay to the Bahamas in late June? What's that trip generally like that time of year?

Thanks.
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Old 05-04-2009, 15:57   #2
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It's doable, provided you stay out of the Gulf Stream. You'd need to hug the coast. The Stream runs north at 2-4 knots; you don't want to be bucking it's current. And, you particularly don't want to be in the Stream with a north wind (which would be favorable to you, but would cause short steep seas which are very, very uncomfortable.

The Gulf Stream generally swings in pretty close to Cape Hatteras shoals, too, so you'd have to be in real close to avoid it. Much closer than would be safe, IMO.

In your boat, if you're not in a particular rush I'd favor the ICW where you can take your time, see very interesting places, and be near protection if a storm blows up.

And, don't forget, late June is into the hurricane season. So, you'd have to watch the weather pretty closely.

Again, it's doable, but wouldn't be my first choice -- particularly not in a 28-footer :-)

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Old 05-04-2009, 17:57   #3
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I would take the ICW to Beaufort NC and then hug the coast. The Gulfstream tends to get pretty close to the shoals at Hatteras, Cape lookout, and Cape Fear. I even go back into the ICW at Masonboro inlet and out the Cape Fear river. This allows me to avoid Frying Pan Shoals which I usually arrive at at night for some reason. They can get pretty rough sometimes and I'm just not interested in crossing them without being able to see. Also sometimes the stream is in close enough to be going over the shoals. If you stay outside to at least St. Augustine you're never more than 12 hours or so from a decent inlet, assuming you can motor at 5 knots. The other advantage off shore is that it's cooler. The ICW can be quite hot in the summer, but as Bill says there are some quite pretty and interesting places.
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Old 11-06-2009, 09:07   #4
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Any interest in picking up some crew help along the way? We are in Asheville, NC now and headed to the coast to pick-up passage in a week or so. We'll settle for shared-living and work to make ends meet and boat sail smoothly.

Check us out at www.gottalivethedream.com and see if it fits for you.
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Old 11-06-2009, 09:52   #5
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Jay,

You may want to go offshore at Beaufort, NC and make your way South all the way to about in line with Ft Pierce, FL (along the coast, outside of the stream), then take a left turn and get on the bank at White Sands. White Sands entrance worked well for us during our trip in late May. We started at St Mary's inlet and returned to St Augustine to a new marina as Layla's new berth. BTW, if you plan on clearing customs at Walker's Cay, you may want to make sure there is enough water depth to pull into the marina there as the customs officer likely refuse to process you in unless s/he can inspect your boat personally. This also depends on the particular officer's mood (they rotate on a monthly basis - there is nothing else left at Walker's Cay.) The Bahamas cruising guides make things easier by providing waypoints as well as a variety of very helpful additional descriptions, etc.

Fair winds - have fun!

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Old 11-06-2009, 12:00   #6
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Make sure you have good access to weather info once you get off shore. Tropical Storms and an occasional hurricane can come along in that period. Most people are LEAVING the Bahamas at this time for that reason.
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Old 11-06-2009, 15:48   #7
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Triton, whats your plan? Do you plan to stay in the Bahamas for hurricane season?
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Old 15-06-2009, 21:14   #8
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I echo Cam's recent post. On our '08 trip (started from Chesapeake Bay) to the Abacos we took the ICW to Lake Worth and jumped off from there for the...but would go outside next time, bridges and shoaling a bit much, and likely depart from Ft. Pierce (which would likely require a southing run on the western edge of the stream. Fortunately the NOAA WX forecasts provide the miles from shore (major inlets) to west wall of the Stream.
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