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Old 09-07-2008, 19:15   #1
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Can anyone tell me their experiences going from the North East to the Caribbean via outside the ICW?

I am afraid that by the time I am ready to make the break, a lot of the ICW will only be passable with a draft of less than 5 feet.

How would the trip from Nova Scotia to the Bahamas look like from the outside? How hard would it be to buck the stream the whole way?
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Old 09-07-2008, 20:02   #2
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I am afraid that by the time I am ready to make the break, a lot of the ICW will only be passable with a draft of less than 5 feet.
Prediction of the future is not an exact science. No one knows what the depth will be where you might sail sometime we don't know. Maybe you never would leave in the first place.

Going outside with favorable weather is clearly 10 times faster. You can't transit the ICW in the dark. The trick is you don't buck the stream at all. Some parts you go all the way outside beyond the Gulf Stream. You don't try to do Cape Hatteras inside the Gulf Stream it would be stupid. Farther south you can go inside the stream and take shorter sections outside.

You need some experience to take the whole trip outside and if you have never done it I would suggest you don't. It is not about if it is possible but if it is possible for you. It sounds like it's not possible for you right now.
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Old 09-07-2008, 20:16   #3
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Nothing is possible for me right now, I am just asking questions out of curiosity. So thank you very much for the info.
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Old 09-07-2008, 20:24   #4
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Read the log from SV Galena. He did it this year and I think a year before.
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Old 09-07-2008, 21:24   #5
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Well...I can't see your prediction happening except on some small sections where you'd need to go around and outside. It is tougher heading south along the coast due to prevailing winds and currents but there are LOTS of inlets you can jump in and out of and you never need to go more than 24 hours without being able to duck in somewhere for a rest if you don't want to keep going or if the weather kicks up once you are south of Beaufort NC. The Dodge SE US Inlet guide is an invaluable resource for those taking even a couple of offshore jumps.
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Old 10-07-2008, 05:52   #6
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The NGA's pilot charts are a good source of info when planning offshore passages. Here's a link to the North Atlantic charts:

Maritime Safety Information

You'll probably be heading south in the Fall, after the hurricanes are gone but before the really strong winter storms begin. Look at the October chart. You'll note that there's a prevailing current to the south close in to shore. That would be my recommendation. As Camaraderie said, you can duck into certain of the inlets if things get too bad out there.

A lot of folks transit Long Island Sound, go offshore to Cape May, NJ, then into the Delaware Bay, thru the C&D Canal and down the Chesapeake Bay. From Hampton Roads, if you pick your weather carefully, you can head south along the coast and round Cape Hatteras inside the Gulf Stream. I've done that four times with no problems. The key is to have a very good weather forecast, or a weather routing service, to make certain the weather will be suitable. It's usually favorable after a front has passed through and the winds go light to the southeast.

In November, you'll probably experience gale conditions at some point after rounding Hatteras, so you need to decide whether you want to be near the coast or east of the Stream, heading for the Abacos or beyond. If you go east, you want to be well away from the Gulf Stream by the time the next front overtakes you.
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:16   #7
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Why not go to Bermuda, and then south?
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:22   #8
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That makes some sense if going to the Caribbean. Maybe not as much if going to the Bahamas. The OP wasn't totally clear on his ultimate destination. The reason I like to go offshore at Hatteras or thereabout is that the Gulf Stream is usually narrowest there. I can get across in 9 or 10 hours and be done with it.

https://oceanography.navy.mil/legacy...223/19/0-0-5/1
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