Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 13-10-2011, 15:56   #16
Registered User
 
svcattales's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Apollo Beach, Fl
Boat: Privilege 37
Posts: 533
Images: 10
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by gene80 View Post
I've read about this on many forums but haven't seen many examples. I'm sure it'll all make sense the first time I have to wait it out...

Could some of you guys provide examples of what bad weather looked like over the course of a few days that kept you thinking conditions weren't good enough to cross; what were winds, wind direction, sea state, etc...

What were your triggers that the conditions had improved enough to make the crossing?

Are their different conditions that would be appropriate for different boat types/lengths? A 60 ft mono vs. 30 ft mono vs. 40 ft cat, etc...
Everyone has a different tolerance for pain and the size and type of boat does make some difference.

Crossing the Gulf Stream in both directions is usually the biggest challenge particularly heading east. The prevailing winds in winter are out of the east so even "good weather" can be bad for crossing. With wind on the nose you are motoring directly into the seas and anything more than 10kts will keep you in Miami. (Our cat is similar to yours in seagoing capability). We usually cross before a cold front during a calm or a light SE or S wind. Other times we wait till the Stream settles down after a front and wait for a clocking to the SE and winds of 10kts or less. If fronts are strong, the stream can stay "churned up" for 2-3 days after the winds have moderated. There are lots of different scenarios where the Gulf Stream can "have its way with you." Picking the right crossing weather is the key to a safe and enjoyable Bahamas cruise.

The other weather issues you need to worry about are strong high pressure areas in the Atlantic which cause "enhanced tradewinds." We sat in Georgetown, Exumas for 2 weeks one year while waiting for a high to move so easterlies would go below 20 kts. Although 20kts may be acceptable for sailing, the cuts (inlets) in the Exumas can be dangerous with strong easterlies.

As others have said, your schedule is very ambitious and you would be very lucky to have the right weather windows to get you to the Exumas and back within about 3 weeks. I would suggest you scale back your destination to the Berries or North Andros and take some time to "smell the roses." Have a great trip.
__________________

__________________
Greg, SV Cat Tales
svcattales is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 18:01   #17
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Lighthouse Point, FL
Boat: Leopard 40
Posts: 41
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Everyone's responses have been fantastic and extremely educational. It's been amazing how helpful sailors are to one another. Based on all input received I've made the below itinerary modifications.

Total Trip Time: 23 Days

Dec 17th - 22nd
- Lighthouse Point, FL to Nassau
- Doesn't matter how but I need to make it to Nassau by the 22nd.
- Old man is tagging along with a flight back home out of Nassau. Question on this later.

Dec 23rd - 27th
- Dork around Nassau, may sail back to The Berries for a few nights, weather permitting, ending back in Nassau on 28th.

Dec 28th - Jan 3rd
- Nassau to Northern Most Exumas for NYE 2012
- Heading back to Nassau on 2nd or 3rd weather permitting
- Two couples are flying in from the States for New Years

- Ignoring any of the trip details, does anyone have a recommendation of a great place to spend NYE in the Northern Exumas, Nassau, or Berries?

Jan 4th - Jan 8th
- Nassau back to Ft. Lauderdale
- Doesn't matter how, but need to make it back to Ft. Lauderdale by Jan 8th
- Potential for time in Berries & Bimini. Sail back could be leisurely or a sprint depending on future weather outlook.

Notes:
- Will be prepared to leave boat in either Nassau, The Berries, or Bimini should the weather act up and not allow a return trip to Ft. Lauderdale.
- Will catch one-way flight to Ft. Lauderdale on or before Jan 8th.

Expectations Question:

We've only been sailing since 2009 but were bit by the bug the first time we got on a boat.

We're in late 20's & early 30's so retirement is not in the picture and this prevents two and three month trips at this time. Do any of you have advice on how we could best enjoy the boat in the Bahamas without all of the potential weather issues or is that simply a part of sailing that has to be accepted (Seems the biggest is getting to/fro across the GS)? Is it common for people to take on a long-term mooring and simply fly back and forth to better take advantage of the time you have with your boat? Would we be better off focusing on the Florida Keys for now?

Also, how have you all discussed the inability to truly make definitive plan with friends and family? Our parents have been out with us several times and are excited to start taking the week+ trips. Since this isn't the BVIs/USVIs and we no longer have a charter boat it's not as easy and predictable as it is down there.

Once again, thanks for the education.
__________________

__________________
gene80 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 18:20   #18
Senior Cruiser
 
Vasco's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Toronto
Boat: CS36Merlin, "La Belle Aurore" Ben393 "Breathless"
Posts: 7,130
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

You cannot be guaranteed that you`ll get to Nassau Dec 22 if your start date is Dec 17. Sometimes you have to wait two weeks to get a window. Your schedule is unrealistic.
__________________
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beneteau393/
Vasco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 18:23   #19
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Underway in the Med -
Boat: Jeanneau 40 DS SoulMates
Posts: 1,904
Images: 1
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

i am going to make a rude comment so i ask you forgiveness first -
you comment " Doesn't matter how but I need to make it to Nassau by the 22nd" is a recipe for disaster - maybe not the first time or the second but it will get you sooner or later --
you could spend 2-4 days or weeks waiting for a wx window to cross - last time we crossed we got a 72 hour window - we made it to bimini checked in spent the night out the next afternoon and into fraser hog with anchor down 12 hours before a cold front moved thru with some nasty northerly winds - we also wanted to get to nassau but had to wait 4-5 days for the winds and seas to pipe down - as it was when we left we had a small cold front just behind us and it caught us as we were trying to get east of nassau to rose island with winds over 20+k and seas beginning to kick up - boat ahead of us by about 2 hours went aground and was calling for a tow from nassau so we turned and went into nassau and sat out another nasty blow for 5 days before we could head to the exumas -

as for keeping the boat in the bahamas - again i will say go to west marine in ft lauderday and talk to Pam Wall - she and her husband kept there boat in the abacos for years and she really is a great lady and will help you at no cost -

as info we have only been sailing since 2001 and bought SoulMates - a Jeanneau ds40 - in 2003 - we spent a number of years learning how to sail her in biscayne bay and we went cruising about 4 1/2 years ago and have been out ever since -

just a piece of advice and it is free so do with it what you want - if you want your family to go with you many many times then make sure each passage is really a good one to start - eventually you will get a bad one but by then they will have accepted it - if the first one or two are bad well it may be difficult to get them back on board

just our opinions and worth what you paid for them

chuck patty and svsoulmates
cartagena colombia
__________________
chuckr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 18:31   #20
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Lighthouse Point, FL
Boat: Leopard 40
Posts: 41
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
Miami (Cape Florida) to North Rock across the Bank to NW Channel and then on to Nassau. About 26 hours in my boat. No hazards, straightforward trip. Use Explorer Chart. Clear in at Nassau.
Vasco, what time do you leave when you do the 26 hours straight through? What time do you usually hit North Rock and then the NW Channel? With your 393 I assume we would have a similar average cruising speed of ~7 knots. Any specific reason you head to North Rock vs. Triangle? Also, you noted that you'd leave with an 8 hour window. What service are you using or how are you determining that you've got a window down to a set number of hours? I'm very interested in learning that.

Osirissail, thank you for the detailed timing and charts! They have been added to my small but growing sailing knowledge repository.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckr View Post
By the way where are you planning to get your weather from?? it is the time of the year when cold fronts come across and you may have to sit for a few days to get decent wx to continue - and of course you need hidy holes when the winds pipe up -
Chuck & Patty, what various weather monitoring sources do you recommend (Websites, Radio, VHF, etc...) ? I read about some guy that's famous, out of Abaco I believe, that people pay a subscription to but I believe his planning was more for an offshore jaunt down to the Caribbean. I may be wrong... I've looked all over my maps and I can find a legend icon for "hidey holes"?! If going North or Triangle rocks route to NW Channel which ones do you recommend, it looks like you're pretty exposed out there?

Thanks for the contact info for Pam Wall. I've been spending more time than I'd like to admit at that store so I'll look her up next time I'm there.
__________________
gene80 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 18:37   #21
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Lighthouse Point, FL
Boat: Leopard 40
Posts: 41
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckr View Post
i am going to make a rude comment so i ask you forgiveness first -
you comment " Doesn't matter how but I need to make it to Nassau by the 22nd" is a recipe for disaster - maybe not the first time or the second but it will get you sooner or later
Thanks Chuck, in my last note I meant to also say just stay in Ft. Lauderdale should the conditions not allow the crossing. Am not looking to force anything so once again, all of the feedback has been very helpful.

I'm hoping that weather windows in the late spring and summer are more plentiful.

Gene
__________________
gene80 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 18:46   #22
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,334
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by nautical62 View Post
Personally, I'd skip Eleuthera and slow the pace down a bit, or instead of coming back to Nassau from Eleuthera, head from Eleuthera to the Exumas.


The other thing to keep in mind is that in the winter, you can get long lasting cold fronts. It's not uncommon to have to wait a week for a good crossing window, and you can certainly get a few days anywhere along that route where the prudent thing to do is wait for more favorable weather.

If you are counting on sticking to that schedule exactly to change crew in Nassau, etc. I think you are asking for trouble. It's a fairly aggressive schedule that you may not be able to stick to with winter weather.
Yeah, I'd skip Eleuthera and enjoy the trip down from Nassau. or as mentioned Nassau to Eleuthera and then Georgetown. You can go from Chub direct to Nassau no problem and save a day. ditto for wx issues to cross the gulfstream.
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 19:10   #23
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Underway in the Med -
Boat: Jeanneau 40 DS SoulMates
Posts: 1,904
Images: 1
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Gene -- we have an ssb on board and subscribe to chris parker who wx routes all over the carib - if you do not have an ssb you can buy a receiver and go to chris's web site (just do a search on chris parker carib wx) and get the frequency and times and just listen - he routes from just about anyplace in the east coast and the carib and if we cross the atlantic this year we will use him as far as he will forecast for us - there are a lot of people in the bahamas and doing the crossing who do subscribe and he will answer their questions and give them a forecast -
make sure you get a really good ssb - we bought a small one as a back up and it does not go a good job - but it is only a back up - i would imagine your boat upgrade is pretty long - ours still is - but i do hope you have an ssb on the list - it is invalubable out here both for wx and to keep with other cruisers and email
oh - and listening is free -
I would have to pull out our bahama charts to look at what you are looking at (they are buried somewhere and under something) - but the hidy holes are not marked - you are looking for protection from the north and east if possible and that is not always possible and then protection from the seas -
others can give you a better idea than we can

as for timing - we plan everything at 5k period - yea she will go faster and usually does but for planning we use 5k - if we get there early yea - if it is dark when we get there early we wait until light to enter - we never enter in the dark - did it once and will never ever do it again -- if we plan on 6 or 7 and the wind goes flaky then we got a problem -
the wx windows actually depend on the type of season it is - we were in the bahamas 2 years ago and it was an ugly winter with lots of cold fronts and we spent a lot of time sitting and running from hidy hole to hidy hole, enjoying a few nice days and then sitting out a blow for a few days before moving on - later in the year it got nice and we had wonderful sailing in early spring

gene - glad you were not offended by comment - and good luck with the family - it is a great way to bond

just our opinion
chuck patty and svSoulMates
cartagena colombia
__________________
chuckr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-10-2011, 20:00   #24
Senior Cruiser
 
osirissail's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: A real life Zombie from FL
Boat: Gulfstar 53 - Osiris
Posts: 5,416
Images: 2
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Vasco's outlined the general rule of thumb - any winds with a North component and blowing over 10-15 kts will set up "square waves" in the Gulf Stream as the northbound water butts up against the southbound wind.

- - Southeast winds will not kick up the Gulf Stream but you will be heading southeast to cross eastward due to the strength of the Gulf Stream so that wind doesn't work either.

- - By the time the wind goes south things are settling down and southwest and west winds are great.

- - The crossing from Cape Florida to "Triangle Rocks" is about 44 nm so at 6 kts made good that's about 8 hours and at that time of year you only have about 10-11 hours of daylight. With normal screw-ups and inefficiencies it is usually late afternoon near dusk when you get up onto the Bahamas Banks.

- - Once on the Bahamas Banks, 30 kts of wind will only kick up a foot or so of waves as the water is rarely deeper than 10-15 feet. So you can make it across to NW Channel Light reefed down but not in unpleasant wave conditions. Below is a photo of a friend in a 35 footer in 30 kts of wind as we cross the Bahamas Banks on our way to NW Channel Light.

- - However, the NW Channel Light to Nassau leg can be a challenge with some nasty winds and waves especially if the winds have any east component. That's why we leave just before sun-up.

- - With your schedule of only 5 days to explore the Exumas, you will be pushing it to get to Warderick Wells and back to Nassau. Still the Exumas Banks are also rather shallow so you can make your way even if there is too much good winds.

- - All in all, December is a blustery month for the Bahamas and also "cold." So take some good foul weather clothing and sweaters, etc. - and - wet suits if you want to swim unless you are into that "polar bear swim club" stuff.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	040208Serena_4.jpg
Views:	129
Size:	74.1 KB
ID:	32608  
__________________
osirissail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-10-2011, 04:40   #25
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Summerville, SC 29483
Posts: 75
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Quite the schedule you have there...have you considered a clock-wise loop around the Abacos or running down to Key West? Just to support what has already been said...a weather window will be your deciding factor no matter where you go...or end up!

In March '00 I waited a month for a window out of Marathon to Chub and the wait didn't move my fun meter much. In '88 I crossed from Governor's Cut to Bimini "on a schedule"...never again...it won't be time to go...until it is time to go.

If memory serves me correctly there isn't but a very few miles difference between Chub/Nassau and Nassau/Exumas and there is more to see in the Exumas then the Berry's...just food for thought.

Best of luck!

Glenn
__________________
Northstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-10-2011, 04:41   #26
Senior Cruiser
 
Vasco's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Toronto
Boat: CS36Merlin, "La Belle Aurore" Ben393 "Breathless"
Posts: 7,130
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by gene80 View Post
Vasco, what time do you leave when you do the 26 hours straight through? What time do you usually hit North Rock and then the NW Channel? With your 393 I assume we would have a similar average cruising speed of ~7 knots. Any specific reason you head to North Rock vs. Triangle? Also, you noted that you'd leave with an 8 hour window. What service are you using or how are you determining that you've got a window down to a set number of hours? I'm very interested in learning that.









.
I leave at anytime that the conditions are right. Usually it's first thing in the morning (but I have left at midnight too) and we get to Nassau by noon the next day. North Rock is the best entry onto the Bank from Miami. The light usually works and it's straight in, not like at Gun Cay where you have to make a few dekes to get onto the Bank. I listen to vhf weather and I have a small Sony with ssb and listen to Chris Parker. Other folks check the GRIB files and have extensive hour by hour wind forecasts. Sometimes I look at Windfinder.com. The window period depends on how fast the wind is clocking. Of course these forecasts are seldom spot on so luck and judgement comes into play.
__________________
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beneteau393/
Vasco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-10-2011, 05:41   #27
Registered User
 
Cormorant's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Catskill Mountains when not cruising
Boat: 31' homebuilt Michalak-designed Cormorant "Sea Fever"
Posts: 2,072
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by gene80 View Post
... what various weather monitoring sources do you recommend (Websites, Radio, VHF, etc...) ?

Also check the website Passageweather.com.
__________________
Cormorant is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-10-2011, 06:24   #28
Senior Cruiser
 
osirissail's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: A real life Zombie from FL
Boat: Gulfstar 53 - Osiris
Posts: 5,416
Images: 2
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northstar View Post
. . . If memory serves me correctly there isn't but a very few miles difference between Chub/Nassau and Nassau/Exumas and there is more to see in the Exumas then the Berry's...just food for thought.
Best of luck! Glenn
For reference, Northwest Channel light to Nassau is 50nm while Chub Cay to Nassau is 36 nm. Thing is, there isn't much to do or to anchor in around Chub Cay. It is primarily a marina for the sport fisherman boats who daily go out and troll along the reef edge from NW Channel Light to Morgan's Bluff.

- - If the wind is from the east when you get ready to do the NW Channel Light to Nassau leg, I change to the NW Channel to Morgan's Bluff, Andros which is only 20 nm south. You can check-in at Morgan's Bluff and hang out there waiting for a window to get to Nassau which is 36 nm eastward.
__________________
osirissail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2011, 07:39   #29
Registered User
 
Dual Dreams's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by fla.sailor
FWIW, we were 'stuck' (ha ha) at the land & sea park for a week this spring waiting for weather. You will be get held up for weather, but what a place to sit out a front!

CHeeRS!
-dennis
We were stuck at Land & Sea in '09'. Great spot, but 10 days seemed forever plus every mooring was full and more people wanting in.
__________________
Dual Dreams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-10-2011, 10:01   #30
Registered User
 
defever's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: wherever the boat is---from central amer to canada....so far...
Boat: defever trawler 41-nomad
Posts: 192
Re: First Trip to Exumas - Route & Timing Advice

go to the abacos in winter??? noooooooo!! there will be cold fronts and winds that you will not see in the outislands (particularly the exumas)...you've really loaded up on the guest thing and , unfortunately, that keeps you near nassau. i would suggest a 24 hr run to nassau from miami area (go n. of bimini and back to nw channel), clear in and head to allen's/norman's. back to pick up guests then to shroud/land & sea park. i would leave your boat on a mooring in georgetown ($300/mo) and fly back and forth. w/ such a tight schedule, you may wind up waiting for weather your entire vacation (going east and west) and w/ the boat safely in gtown you can hit all the outislands easily in your 3 wk vacation. enjoy the trip
__________________

__________________
defever is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
exumas

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Advice on Best Trawler Route - Miami to Panama dohenyboy Atlantic & the Caribbean 8 17-10-2011 11:08



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:27.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.