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Old 02-07-2011, 20:01   #16
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Re: Hypothetical gulf stream crossing

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Originally Posted by sck5 View Post
just did this trip in the other direction - it took 4 days from Marsh Harbour to Beaufort. If you do go offshore you want to cross the Gulf Stream more or less perpendicularly which would be a course of something like SE or SSE. Once you are across sail the rhumb line to Abaco. I think this wouldnt be such a bad idea if you are prepared for offshore passages since weather reports are more or less accurate 5 days out which is how long it would take. Of course, sometimes they are wrong, so you have to be ready for anything. Also bear in mind that the cuts into Abaco arent always calm enough to get through so you have to have a backup plan (either heave to or continue on to the leeward side of one or another of the Bahamas)
Thanks for that. Green turtle is just a point to aim for initially for no particular reason so I would take any safe route once I got that far. I wont have ssb except a receiver but yes I will look for an accurate weather forecast for a good window before I begin.
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Old 02-07-2011, 20:15   #17
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Re: Hypothetical gulf stream crossing

Trying to sail straight to Green Turtle from NC it is not quite as clear cut as cross the Gulf Stream and you're past it. North of the Bahamas the Equatorial Current merges with the Gulf Stream so you may have the current against for most of the trip. There are eddies north of the Banks and you might catch a southerly current but you could just as easily have it against you.

To see what I mean go check out the Pilot Charts for the Atlantic. Link to Nov is

http://msi.nga.mil/MSISiteContent/St...106/106nov.pdf

Bottom line, follow the coast south and cut over around W Palm or so.
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Old 02-07-2011, 20:42   #18
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Re: Hypothetical gulf stream crossing

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Trying to sail straight to Green Turtle from NC it is not quite as clear cut as cross the Gulf Stream and you're past it. North of the Bahamas the Equatorial Current merges with the Gulf Stream so you may have the current against for most of the trip. There are eddies north of the Banks and you might catch a southerly current but you could just as easily have it against you.

To see what I mean go check out the Pilot Charts for the Atlantic. Link to Nov is

http://msi.nga.mil/MSISiteContent/St...106/106nov.pdf

Bottom line, follow the coast south and cut over around W Palm or so.
Thanks. I have been studying these charts and did note those currents. But even going against a half knot current over a long period will make a huge difference I guess. I'm not ruling out the possibility but am coming to understand the sense of a more southerly crossing.
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Old 02-07-2011, 20:50   #19
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Re: Hypothetical gulf stream crossing

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Originally Posted by Hillbillylad View Post
Thanks. I have been studying these charts and did note those currents. But even going against a half knot current over a long period will make a huge difference I guess. I'm not ruling out the possibility but am coming to understand the sense of a more southerly crossing.
Another thing to think about and possibly more problematic than 0.5 kt current against you, is what happens if you catch a cold front while crossing and you have winds from the north against a current from the south. Can make for a very, very bumpy ride. Don't ask how I know this.
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Old 02-07-2011, 20:58   #20
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Re: Hypothetical gulf stream crossing

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Another thing to think about and possibly more problematic than 0.5 kt current against you, is what happens if you catch a cold front while crossing and you have winds from the north against a current from the south. Can make for a very, very bumpy ride. Don't ask how I know this.
Becoming more probable of course over a long crossing.Lots to ponder, but still plenty of time to think it through. Thankee.
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:26   #21
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Re: Hypothetical gulf stream crossing

I've done the trip between the Abacos (Green Turtle or Marsh Harbour) and either Beaufort NC or Norfolk VA a large number of times, both on my own boat and on delivery. As it happens there are enough people frustrated with FL that owner-aboard offshore deliveries to the Abacos are a growing part of my business. A number of owners have concluded they spend less money paying me to take them offshore than to motor down the ICW while avoiding the various local unpleasantness.

There are some beautiful places on the ICW and it is worth a trip at some point if you haven't done it before but most of it is droning along hour after hour for days and weeks on end under power. I avoid it. YMMV.

Beaufort to Marsh Harbour is about three days on my boat. Your Centaur will be slower. Your five or six day guesstimate is reasonable.

Ocean currents are very stable. The currents change significantly only over a period of months. Local conditions in the those currents change more quickly due to surface effects from wind. You should have plenty of time in a good window to get across the Southbound near-shore current and the Gulf Stream. I've not had a problem staying out of the worst of the Equatorial current.

Note that the Gulf Stream tips over pretty Easterly where you are and a good passage plan will take advantage of that boost. I can knock a plan together for you and send you a graphic if you like. PM me an e-mail address.

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There were several boats in the Caribbean 1500 that ran into serious problems because the organizers were set on a schedule. So that might not be good advise.
Chuck, if you are referring to last year's events then I think it isn't necessarily a generalizable data point. When the Carib 1500 was planning to leave Tomas was wandering around the Caribbean with no clear indication of where he was heading. There was a huge (HUGE) Nor'wester off Nova Scotia and three substantial Lows with associated gales spaced down the US East Coast. I was leaving Annapolis the same day the Carib 1500 was to leave Norfolk. I sat in Little Creek while the Carib 1500 sat in Norfolk. Ultimately I went home and they launched. My take on the weather was more conservative than theirs and it didn't look like a good idea to go. I haven't ever had that kind of problem in September, October, November, December, or February before. I've not gone in January so can't speak to that. *grin*

If schedule hadn't been an issue for us we would have anchored off Cape Charles or Mobjack Bay and hung out, but Janet's vacation clock was ticking so we took a car trip instead. As it happens a one week delay would have given us a story-book trip to Tortola.

The Centaur is a great boat, very sturdy. I wouldn't hesitate to take one in good shape offshore and the Beaufort - Abacos run is great fun and pretty predictable.
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:48   #22
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Re: Hypothetical gulf stream crossing

I can't add anything to the offshore recommendations, but just wanted to add, I owned a Centaur for years and took it over to the Bahamas several times. I felt the solid build and shallow draft made it a great Bahamas boat.

Have a great cruise.

- Dave
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:02   #23
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Re: Hypothetical gulf stream crossing

Many thanks for the replies.
I have sent you a pm Auspicious and am grateful for your first hand input to the thread.
St Augustine has to be one of the most beautiful towns in the country and I have enjoyed my visits there on land. But I am not prepared to be a part of their silly political money farming from boaters. Nor do I intend to waste my valuable time explaining my toilet facilities or whether my pfd is colour coordinated with my shorts.
Glad to hear others are giving the place a miss. Maybe the morons that have made these silly inconveniences will start taking notice.
As far as the boat goes, I'm still 7 hours away from getting my butt on there and starting to prep it but that will all be for another thread.
Thanks again folks
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Old 03-07-2011, 14:04   #24
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Re: Hypothetical gulf stream crossing

I run in and out of Ponce Inlet all the time. Live here and have never heard of anyone being stopped by the potty police or anything similar. Never had the boat checked or pulled over. Come down on the inside of the stream until you get to the Ft. Pierce or Stuart area and then start your cross. Around New Smyrna, Daytona the gulfstream is 40 nm offshore. You will never see the potty police or any law enforcement group for that matter. Rarely I see the CG offshore.
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Old 03-07-2011, 17:44   #25
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Re: Hypothetical gulf stream crossing

On last year's Carib 1500 (I was in it) there were indeed lots of weather systems running around and we did see large seas and winds to 40 knots or so for part of the passage - but the only boats who got into serious trouble were those who bailed out part way through and so were no longer actually doing the 1500. And their trouble happened because of the bailing out, not the other way around. The organizers actually did a fairly good job of answering the question of when to go if you wanted to make sure you get to the Caribbean but wanted to avoid not only the bad weather that caused the delay, but also the potentially worsening weather through later November and December. We were the smallest boat in the fleet and made it fine - As is often the case it probably wasnt the boats that had problems with the conditions but some of the crew. So dont go offshore unless both the crew AND the boat are prepared.
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Old 03-07-2011, 18:03   #26
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Re: Hypothetical gulf stream crossing

Fernandina and St. Augustine in North FL is great (except for the smell in Fernandina and the potential mooring situation in SA) and Canaveral South is great. The only problem is between those two. And that problem is a single person acting out his own power fantasies. We have been boarded by him all three times we have passed through this area, but were fortunate that he did not pull a gun on us as he has apparently been doing to others in the past year.

SCK5 is correct - as I recall, the people who got into problems bailed out for the Bahamas and were not savvy enough to understand rage conditions in the inlets. The boats that got beat up were trying to run raging inlets.

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Old 03-07-2011, 18:49   #27
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Re: Hypothetical gulf stream crossing

If you're thinking of a November time frame, which I am not clear on, I much prefer the run down the ICW to at least Palm Beach, and then a nice overnighter over to the Abacos. I am biased as I love the ICW. If you want to do more sailing, just hop outside when the weather is good and make some tracks, but you will often find that staying inside is faster. Despite the occasional hassle in Florida there are also many great anchorages and in Florida you can hook up with other boaters with similar plans for the Bahamas, if you want to. IMHO you will not have any problems with police as long as you are really a transient and your boat is all legal. Keep the seacocks closed and wire tied or locked and there are no issues, though I have never been inspected in Florida for such.

Actually, my scariest boarding ever was right off of Beaufort, NC, inlet, back in the '80s when they were waiting out there in the dark for boats coming in from offshore. All of a sudden we were illuminated by the lights on the big offshore CG cutter and an inflatable sped over to us. The boarding party came with arms at the ready while the inflatable circled us with more CG pointing automatic weapons at us, and I could see the cutter had some 50 calibers pointing down at us too. After about 30 seconds someone said something on the radio and the weapons were put down, but it was tense for a few moments there. I imagine they were expecting someone else, but never found out what they were up to. I complained to the commandant of the CG about that one, for what good it did. In a period of two years we were boarded about 5 times by the CG.
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Old 03-07-2011, 19:00   #28
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Re: Hypothetical gulf stream crossing

Went from Beaufort Inlet NC to Marsh Harbor last November. Trip took about 80 hours motoring at 7 knots the whole time. We had winds from the north kicking up the gulf stream which made for a bumpy crossing the first night. Thankfully my buddy's sailboat is heavy displacement and handled it like a champ. Otherwise, it was a piece of cake. Agree with the others that weather window is important, but this definitely a 'doable' trip in right weather conditions and in the right boat.
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