Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 08-04-2010, 10:07   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 7
Miami to Bahamas Passage

We are currently looking at areas that may be a good place for us to learn how to sail. We are looking at New Orleans (family there), and Ft Lauderdale (job potential). Our goals are to eventually cruise the world when we retire, with plenty of cross-atlantic trips on the way to retirement.

I was doing a little research on sailing to the Bahamas and realized that this isn't something you can just hop in your boat and do. Can someone explain the dangers of making this passage and why? Would these same cautions need to be considered when planning a trip to Europe from the US?
__________________

__________________
Furian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2010, 10:39   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 7
Found lots of good info here, Florida to Bahamas Watchdog
__________________

__________________
Furian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2010, 10:54   #3
Senior Cruiser
 
nautical62's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Live Iowa - Sail mostly Bahamas
Boat: Beneteau 32.5
Posts: 2,264
Images: 12
The gulf stream is the largest surface current in the world, exceeding the volume of the Amazon River. Obviously this pushes anyone in it north. The other problem is that wind against current creates steep seas, so the gulf stream can get very rough in north winds. With south winds, you have both the current and wind pushing you north.

That said, with a bit of thought and waiting for the right weather, it's not particularly challenging.

If you will have windows of a few weeks or more, then the Bahamas can offer a wonderful cruising area convenient to SE Florida. Day and weekend sails in Biscayne Bay with a yearly cruise to the Bahamas and maybe a shorter cruise of the keys would not be a bad life.

I have a few thoughts about my gulf stream crossing tactics on my website:

bahamasmariner.com/abaocs
__________________
nautical62 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2010, 11:00   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 24
I am VERY new to sail as well. From my readings the Bahamas is about 50 miles from FL. Equiptment and conditons has to be important but it is only 50 miles. I could kayak that may could swim it but I think the Atlantic is another can of worms. I could only guess it's around 100x more of a challenge. Some boats can do one and not the other safely. A great goal no the less!
__________________
whiteH2Okayaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2010, 11:11   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lakeland, FL
Posts: 1,296
The Bahamas are only a daysail away from the east coast of Florida. When the weather is good, prevailing winds are from the east so you frequently wind up motor sailing. The reason you don't just hop in your boat and go is the Gulf Stream. It flows northward along the east coast of Florida at speeds up to 4 knots. You simply adjust course to account for this or even take advantage of it when making the crossing. But if the current is opposed by north winds, nasty steep faced waves can build up very quickly. If the current or forecasted winds contain any northerly component, it is best to wait for a weather "window." You will find lots of cruisers waiting for weather to make the crossing from south Florida - especially in the winter when continental cold fronts bring north winds which then clock to different directions before disipating.
__________________
"There's nothing . . . absolutely nothing . . . half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats."

Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (River Rat to Mole)
slomotion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2010, 11:35   #6
Registered User
 
YOGAO's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: St. Augustine, FL - an unwilling C.L.O.D.
Boat: Maine Cat 41
Posts: 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteH2Okayaker View Post
I am VERY new to sail as well. From my readings the Bahamas is about 50 miles from FL. Equiptment and conditons has to be important but it is only 50 miles. I could kayak that may could swim it but I think the Atlantic is another can of worms. I could only guess it's around 100x more of a challenge. Some boats can do one and not the other safely. A great goal no the less!
Good first sentence. There's a lot to learn (but it's not difficult).

There are circumnavigators who have written that crossing the GS was the most challenging part of their journey. I have no doubt that you could kayak or maybe swim it, but to do so when the wind has a northerly component will make you regret it at best.

Fair Winds,
Mike
__________________
YOGAO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2010, 12:12   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29 49.16 N 82 25.82 W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,373
Actually, boaters in S Florida jump in their boats and pop over to the Bahamas all the time. As was pointed out, it's only 50 miles. No way to compare this on any level with a trip from Europe.

Yes from fall to spring there is the chance of a front from the north that could kick up the Gulf Stream. In mid winter it's pretty common to sit and wait out a string of cold fronts and it could take days or weeks. In the summer there's a chance for a hurricane and occasional afternoon thunderstorms that can get nasty.

Just check the weather before you leave. Hurricanes and cold fronts don't appear from nowhere in a matter of a few hours. It's only 8-10 hours even in a relatively small, slow sailboat. Afternoon thunderstorms might pop up on short notice but out on the ocean you can see the cumulonimbus building from 50 miles away.
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2010, 20:03   #8
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
Actually, the Bahamas is one of the best "training areas" for new sailors. After a prudent crossing there are numerous deserted and populated islands, great open stretches of shallow water and "gin-clear" water for swimming, snorkeling and diving.
__________________
osirissail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-05-2010, 10:30   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 3
I am new here but have been lurking for a long time reading all the great info here on my way toward the dream. I cannot add to the sailing to the Bahamas part but I can help with the Big Easy part. I am from New Orleans and grew up sailing Lake Ponchartrain on everything from a Nacra up to 32' Mono's. I also actively crewed on a few race teams on 36' Mono's in the LPRC racing series in the lake for about 10 years. The lake is a great place to learn sailing and grow skills. It seems like you can encounter almost every condition in the same day out there sometimes. Sometimes we would go out for the day and you'll have light wind, heavy wind, no wind, heavy wind, have a storm kick up then die off and get calm again. Very fun ever changing sailing experience. Cruise through the Rigolets and you are out in the Gulf. Very active sailing community and the food and people cannot be beat.
__________________
Far Niente is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-05-2010, 15:18   #10
Registered User
 
Sunspot Baby's Avatar

Join Date: May 2003
Location: New Bern, NC
Boat: Prout Manta 38' Catamaran - Sunspot Baby
Posts: 1,521
Images: 14
We have just returned from our 6th extended Bahamas cruise. Yes they are close to the US and there is no need for extended passages, but don't start thinking of them as the "kiddie pool" of cruising. There are a lot of things that can go wrong.

This year alone we know personally of two boaters who had to be flown out due to injuries, one boat that went aground at Rum Cay and sank (no loss of life), and a megayacht that went on the reef at Conception and had to be salvaged for big bucks. Add to that boats that drug anchor in high winds with boats nearby sending dinghies to try to keep them from dragging into another vessel, boats that lost power going into a narrow cut against the wind, snorkelers carried away from their boat by currents, and a dozen other problems I would probably remember given a few minutes to think. That is this year alone.

We love the Bahamas but don't think that just because they are close that you don't need to be well prepared and careful.

George
__________________
She took my address and my name
Put my credit to shame
Sunspot Baby, sure had a real good time
Bob Seger
Sunspot Baby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-03-2014, 06:09   #11
Registered User
 
Sea_Green's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Boat: Chrysler 22
Posts: 17
Images: 1
Re: Miami to Bahamas Passage

I'm looking at making the crossing this spring/summer. Many, many different factors to take into consideration as I'll be crossing in a C22. Ain't nothing like reviving an old thread! RISE LAZARUS! RISEEE!
__________________

__________________
Sea_Green is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
Bahamas, miami

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
Miami Passage - Day 7 - October 14 skipgundlach General Sailing Forum 0 14-10-2008 09:48
Miami Passage - Day 5, October 6 skipgundlach General Sailing Forum 0 12-10-2008 18:35
Miami Passage - Day 3, October 4 skipgundlach General Sailing Forum 0 12-10-2008 09:48
Miami Passage - Day 2, October 3 skipgundlach General Sailing Forum 0 11-10-2008 17:37
Miami Passage - Day 1, October 2 skipgundlach General Sailing Forum 0 11-10-2008 15:51



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:14.


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.