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Old 21-09-2014, 16:13   #16
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Re: FLORIDA TO BAHAMAS OPTIONS

Another question for you all:

Why don't anybody sail the very deep NORTHWEST PROVIDENCE CHANNEL?

Too much current, waves or other hazards?

Thx again.
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Old 21-09-2014, 16:28   #17
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Re: FLORIDA TO BAHAMAS OPTIONS

Pjazz - I did it earlier this year. West Palm Beach straight to Nassau. Around 36 hours IIRC. No problems at all.

Some cruiseship traffic but you can see them coming for days. Check in at Nassau was easy.
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Old 21-09-2014, 16:35   #18
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Re: FLORIDA TO BAHAMAS OPTIONS

First of all, there are flights from Marsh Harbour. Not direct most of them, but how often will you be flying.
In Nassau check out the Paradise Harbour Club and Marina. Cheaper, safer than Yacht Haven and a nice pool.


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Old 21-09-2014, 17:24   #19
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Re: FLORIDA TO BAHAMAS OPTIONS

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Originally Posted by pjazz View Post
Another question for you all:

Why don't anybody sail the very deep NORTHWEST PROVIDENCE CHANNEL?

Too much current, waves or other hazards?

Thx again.
Nothing wrong with it. You'll be going against the prevailing wind, but that's why they invented tacking. Bahamas Ports Of Entry | The Official Site of The Bahamas
Freeport is not advised, as you need prior permission to bring a recreational boat into the exclusion zone. There are other marinas on Grand Bahama, and an airport in Freeport, as well as ferries to the mainland.
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Old 21-09-2014, 17:45   #20
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Re: FLORIDA TO BAHAMAS OPTIONS

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Sailors Choice has been out of business for a while now.


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Too bad. Was there 2 years ago. There were two class A Bahamian racing sloops hauled out next door that I checked out.
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Old 21-09-2014, 17:48   #21
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Re: FLORIDA TO BAHAMAS OPTIONS

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Amapola, onestepcsy37 and tin gum have all mentioned Memory rock. I am also familiar with it (but on the chart only!!).

I assume you pass it well north, where the water is deeper? and proceed east from there on the bank.

Thx again folks.
We enter about 2 miles South of the rock. The route and waypoint is in the Explorer chart and also in the Steve Dodge Abaco guide.
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Old 21-09-2014, 19:10   #22
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Re: FLORIDA TO BAHAMAS OPTIONS

There are many options. My preferred and most used option it to leave Lake Worth early am and clear in at West End. Personally, I prefer not to sail through the night if it's not necessary.

Lake Worth has free anchoring if one needs to sit out a cold front and I find it fairly easy to exit at night if necessary. Leaving from any point further north is too much bucking the stream for me.
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Old 22-09-2014, 08:43   #23
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Re: Florida To Bahamas Options

Two things: Watch the weather in the winter months, the wind is from the north and the Gulf Stream run south to north. With a high northerly wind we get what we call, 'Elephants" big big waves. So pick your weather window carefully.
Try and arrive on the Banks at sunrise so you can see the reefs, etc. This means making the passage from Florida at night obviously. I would leave from Ft.Lauderdale and then enter the Banks at West End but continue on to Green Turtle Cay and the little town of New Plymouth, dinghy in and walk the two blocks to the customs office. Have the "Yellow flag" flying at all time before you clear in.
Try and contact the, " Hillsborough Inlet Sailing Club" north Ft.Lauderdale, they have members going to the Abacos frequently and are a great source of info. I have some email address if you need them.

Their site has phone numbers to the Bahamian Tourist Board for entry forms and info, as well has US Customs rules and regs, very important stuff you must have.
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Old 22-09-2014, 09:25   #24
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Re: Florida To Bahamas Options

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...This year I am coming from New England. I plan to sail south in November, like most folks, coastal cruising as much as possible and landing a few times to enjoy Norfolk, Charleston, etc, and to avoid nasty weather on the ICW... my goal is to reach Nassau by the end of nov.

When reaching Florida, I suppose somewhere between Cape Canaveral and West Palm beach, I would watch the weather and pick the right time to cross the Gulf Stream. Go further south along the coast if the time is not right, and cross when the weather cooperates. I am unfamiliar with these more "northern" crossings" and would appreciate your experienced advice...
Since you want to cross the Gulf Stream at a more northerly location, why not do it somewhere around Ft Pierce or Stuart, and then sail across the top of the Bahamas.

I did it the other way, leaving the Abacos at Moraine Cay and sailing across to join the Gulf Stream near Melbourne. We had a 0.7 to 1 knot foul current until we made the Stream. That counter current would help you along, and then you could choose a safe and convenient pass to enter the Sea of Abaco, depending on where you want to clear in. The Abaco choices are Marsh Harbour, Sandy Point, Walkers Cay, Spanish Cay, or Treasure Cay Marina.
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Old 22-09-2014, 09:38   #25
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Re: Florida To Bahamas Options

I have made twenty some odd, crossings and the best route I have found is from St. Lucie inlet to an arbitrary point in the middle of White Sand Shoal. From there we plotted a course to Great Sale Cay, rounded Little Sale and made a course toward Spanish and Green Turtle. We cleared St. Lucie inlet about 1500 and would make soundings on White Sand around 0130-0200. Dawn would see us near Great Sale and we would arrive Green Turtle about 1600-1700. 26-27 hours to cross. Because the wind was almost always on the nose, I was usually motor sailing my 37' Irwin ketch which was fairly fast at between 6-7 knots.
Just a thought, you can run into some weather on this route and especially in the late afternoon. Thunder storms are quite common and can kick up 10' seas in a hurry.
Green Turtle Cay is also an official port of entry, have your wallet ready!
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Old 22-09-2014, 10:55   #26
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Re: Florida To Bahamas Options

Pjazz, if you are single handing you may want to consider having some crew with you. Look up, "Sailing Singles of South Florida", based in Ft.Lauderdale. I was a member for 15 years until recently.
Want more info, let me know..............
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Old 22-09-2014, 13:24   #27
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Re: Florida To Bahamas Options

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Green Turtle Cay is also an official port of entry, have your wallet ready!
And by "wallet ready" he means cash! No checks, no credit cards. US or Bahamian dollars.
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Old 22-09-2014, 18:05   #28
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Re: Florida To Bahamas Options

If you want to jump off from further North it is no big deal. You will be bucking the stream, but once across you are fine. Easy channels at Walkers Cay, Strangers Cay, Manjack Cay and Whale Cay. Just do not try them if there is a rage going on. Usually happens when there is a high pressure area just north of the Bahamas causing a strong easterly wind. If you get caught in this you will have to go down to either North Bar Channel or little Harbour.
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Old 22-09-2014, 18:49   #29
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Re: Florida To Bahamas Options

Awesome string... Coincidently I am taking possession of our new (first) 44' catamaran this week, AND relocating from St Pete to WPB. Will spend the next few months getting to know our new boat, getting more competent, etc. Then our college age kids are coming out for the holidays. Like you, our plan is to head from WPB to Gand Bahamas on or about Christmas Day... Then spend 8-10 days sailing and exploring. also planned to make our way as far as Nassau and then ride the Gulf Stream back to WPB.
Literally just started the plan when I stumbled upon this post. Great stuff.


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Old 22-09-2014, 20:38   #30
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Re: Florida To Bahamas Options

Nick&LA, may I suggest staying on the Little Bahama Bank and visiting Abaco instead of Nassau? Since you're talking college kids on break (I know what thats like) I think you would find more for the kids and wifey to do in the Abacos. And you wont lose days making your way down to Nassau and back. You can fly the ,kids home from Marsh Harbor or Treasure Cay if necessary.

I'm sure Tingum could fill you in on places to go, he's an old Abaco hand. Pick up a copy of Steve Dodges guide to the Abacos, its full of charts, sailing directions, and lots of local advice.
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