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Old 24-02-2013, 08:20   #1
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Miami - Bimini Next Weekend

Howdy,

I noticed there are several threads on FL to Bimini crossings, but I have a bit more of a specific situation and hoping there are some veterans on here that can share some sound advice.

I'm chartering a Lagoon 440 Cat starting on March 2nd, and I'll have it until the 10th. I have extensive blue water experience, but not on a cat, so I still have that first-timer catamaran anxiety...knowing that I don't have a few thousand pounds of ballast to keep me bobbing like a cork if all goes wrong. The only other time I crossed the Gulf Stream was East to West on a Swan 65 in gnarly north winds, east of Cape Hatteras.

We would like to spend the majority of our charter in Bimini, but the forecast right now isn't all that great for our one-week charter. Planning to leave from No Name Harbor. Winds out of the Northwest (let's say 10-20kn, for now) and cooler temps...granted, we're still about a week away from departure and things can change. Of course getting back to FL is just as, if not more important than getting to Bimini with our limited window. Can anyone shed some insight?
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Old 24-02-2013, 09:24   #2
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Re: Miami - Bimini Next Weekend

It will be bouncy getting across the Gulf Stream with that much wind from the NW, but I would certainly do it in a boat that size. In fact, that is just about ideal if the wind does stay below 20, because it gives you a favorable wind angle to help you crab into the current as you go across. Just be sure to stow everything well (even on a cat), have any crew take seasickness meds if they are prone to it, and I like to have hot coffee in a thermos so I can eat and drink things without a lot of fuss. Get as early a start as you can--before first light, so you have plenty of time and the sun fairly high when you make the Bimini channel. On the way back you might want to head to FT. Lauderdale, if you can, and then back via the ICW--gives you a better angle with the current.
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Old 24-02-2013, 09:37   #3
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Re: Miami - Bimini Next Weekend

Thanks. K-Well! One of my concerns isn't so much the day/morning of departure, but the fact that the wind is supposed to blow NW 10-20 for a few days prior to our departure. Even if, let's say, we get zero knots of wind during our crossing...how long will the conditions on the stream remain a washing machine?
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Old 24-02-2013, 09:43   #4
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Re: Miami - Bimini Next Weekend

It calms down pretty quickly once the wind drops off--a matter of a few hours. Keep in mind that the wind you feel in No Name will be a lot less than when you get out of the wind shadow of land. You get into the edge of the stream pretty quickly from there so you'll soon get a feel for how rough it will get. The first time I ever crossed was in a solid NW blow with reefed main and very rough for a 30-foot boat. It was bouncy and wet, but not deadly.
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Old 24-02-2013, 09:45   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JacoLTD View Post
Thanks. K-Well! One of my concerns isn't so much the day/morning of departure, but the fact that the wind is supposed to blow NW 10-20 for a few days prior to our departure. Even if, let's say, we get zero knots of wind during our crossing...how long will the conditions on the stream remain a washing machine?
Just got back from Bimini (Cat Cay to be exact) and the conditions were good both ways. We left on Thursday and got back Friday. A little harder on the way in than back but we sailed the new Jeanneau 469 and 509. It was just great! I was surprisingly relieved as the crossing was easier than I thought!
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Old 24-02-2013, 09:48   #6
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Re: Miami - Bimini Next Weekend

Quote:
.SYNOPSIS...LIGHT SOUTH TO SOUTHWEST WINDS TODAY WILL BECOME
SOUTHEAST AND INCREASE IN SPEED ON MONDAY AS LOW PRESSURE BEGINS
TO ORGANIZE OVER THE SOUTHERN PLAINS STATES. WINDS ONCE AGAIN TURN
TO THE SOUTHWEST ON TUESDAY AS A COLD FRONT ASSOCIATED WITH THE
LOW PRESSURE AREA MOVES OVER SOUTH FLORIDA. THIS FRONT IS FORECAST
TO BECOME NEARLY STATIONARY JUST SOUTH OF THE FLORIDA PENINSULA
WEDNESDAY BEFORE BEING REPLACED BY A SECOND, STRONGER FRONT ON
THURSDAY. WINDS OVER THE LOCAL WATERS WILL BE MOSTLY NORTHERLY ON
WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY.
Not sure what forecast you're looking at that far out, but it is sure to be inaccurate this many days ahead. From the report above I might be concerned with that "second, stronger front" they are talking about on Thursday. Hopefully that will be over with by the time you leave.
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Old 24-02-2013, 14:26   #7
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Re: Miami - Bimini Next Weekend

I hope things will change for the better! It's not all just about crossing either, it's about enjoying clear snorkeling and relaxed swimming once we get there! I keep an eye on NOAA, but it has proved wrong for me the past few times I've relied on the text forecasts vs the models. I like passageweather.com Finger's crossed!
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Old 25-02-2013, 19:21   #8
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Re: Miami - Bimini Next Weekend

I still don't trust the weather that far out, but passageweather is indicating it might be only 15-20 on Saturday, but 20-25 on Sunday, and then Monday 25-30 before calming down on Tuesday. Any chance you can get out of there early on Saturday morning?
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Old 25-02-2013, 19:35   #9
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Re: Miami - Bimini Next Weekend

Unfortunately not...we're actually leaving the marina from ft lauderdale Saturday afternoon. I'm hoping getting to no name saturday night for a cuban sandwich. Maybe pass the day on sunday in no name, then sunday night in boca chita...then hit the stream around angelfish cut on tuesday. Still a week away, so fingers are crossed.
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Old 25-02-2013, 20:07   #10
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Re: Miami - Bimini Next Weekend

Watch out though--as I think you know after the front goes by it will go NW and then N and then NE usually, so if you time it wrong you might be in NE going E winds on the nose the whole way.
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Old 25-02-2013, 20:13   #11
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Re: Miami - Bimini Next Weekend

Right! I'll post an update on here with what decide and some pictures in case anyone's following. Oh the downsides of working and chartering once a year vs liveaboard cruising!
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Old 25-02-2013, 20:16   #12
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Re: Miami - Bimini Next Weekend

Interesting...I'm looking at the same charter in January next year on a Lagoon 420, 440 or 450 out of Fort Lauderdale. I thought in my planning we'd take 10 days and cross from Miami to Bimini then around the Berry Islands and back to Fort Lauderdale via Freeport.

I was thinking about having a Plan 'B' to divert and spend time cruising the Florida Keys if the winds kick up somewhere out of the North and the forecast won't work to cross the Gulf Stream (there or back).

I'll keep an eye on your thread and I hope you post how things turned out.

About the catamaran, we just finished a 10 day charter on a Lagoon 420 from St. Lucia to Grenada and back via St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We saw true winds up to around 30 knots for a portion of the trip and swells to 10 feet. We ran 2 reefs in the main and partial genoa when the wind was strongest and while it was a bit bumpy, it was a good ride and the boat took good care of us. The Lagoons are a bit heavier, but I like the feel of them and they don't bounce around as much as the lighter Leopards from my experience. So I'd expect your Lagoon will also treat you well.

All the best with the trip & the weather.
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Old 25-02-2013, 20:19   #13
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Re: Miami - Bimini Next Weekend

Did the keys last year and the weather rocked us too! He's the wind from last year's trip...
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Old 25-02-2013, 20:23   #14
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Re: Miami - Bimini Next Weekend

Did the keys last year and we were all hoping to switch things up this year...cause we got blasted with wind and waves in the keys last year.
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Old 25-02-2013, 20:44   #15
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Question Re: Miami - Bimini Next Weekend

No Name to Bimini with NW anywhere near 20? You'll have fun with that..
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