As Skip has pointed out, it's pretty straight forward...
Originally Posted by CaptainBW
We are getting ready to do the run from Hilton Head to Florida
via the Atlantic. Never did this before. What routes work? How far off shore is best? How long does it typically take? General advice???
1) In general you want to be far enough offshore
that you avoid "day-sailors" and misc. coastal traffic....BUT, not so far off that you end up bucking the Gulf Stream...
2) For Hilton Head / Savannah areas....head out, roughly SE, a half dozen miles or so, until you're in 40' - 50' of clear water
, and head South...(Just about Due South, for about 175 nm)
Head south, staying in about 40' - 50' of water
, until you're about 10 - 15 miles east of Daytona Beach / Ponce Inlet...
Then head a bit SSE, for a point about 3 miles off Cape Canaveral.....
Then turn a bit, and head for a point about 3 miles off Ft. Pierce Inlet....
You'll start to get into water a bit shallower...as you get farther along this route...but saying 2 - 3 miles off will keep you clear of shoals/shallow water...
Once you get near Vero Beach / Ft. Pierce areas, the Gulf Stream gets pretty close to the coast, and as you get to Jupiter and West Pam Beach (Lake Worth Inlet), and Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), you will need to hug the coast quite close (about 1 mile off, at most) in order to avoid adverse current
....(if you get out too far, you'll be bucking the Stream...)
Remember the main axis of the Stream along the S. FL coast, is typically 20 - 25 miles wide....and the actual "walls" are farther away than that...so best to hug the coast by the time you're nearing 27* N...
Here are the Gulf Stream locations, from earlier this week....(updated every few days, and broadcast 24/7 on NOAA Weather Radio
THE APPROXIMATE LOCATION OF THE WEST WALL OF THE GULF STREAM BASED ON THE REAL TIME OCEAN FORECAST SYSTEM FROM MONDAY NOVEMBER 3RD.
43 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF PONCE INLET.
29 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF PORT CANAVERAL.
25 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF SEBASTIAN INLET.
15 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF FORT PIERCE INLET.
10 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF SAINT LUCIE INLET.
6 NAUTICAL MILES NORTH NORTHEAST OF JUPITER INLET.
5 NAUTICAL MILES NORTHEAST OF LAKE WORTH.
5 NAUTICAL MILES EAST SOUTHEAST OF PORT EVERGLADES.
5 NAUTICAL MILES SOUTH SOUTHEAST OF FOWEY ROCKS.
I have seen it as close as 1 mile off Fowey, Port Everglades, and Lake Worth
....and as close as 2.5 miles off Jupiter and St. Lucie, and 3 miles off Ft. Pierce....
And, as far off as 12 miles off Port Evergaldes, 10 miles off Lake worth and Jupiter, etc...
So, it DOES move around quite a bit....
As for decent ports/inlets....if you're inexperienced, stay with the bigger/commercial ports/inlets (such as Ft. Pierce, Lake Worth, Port Everglades, etc...)
Be aware that recent dredging has made the St. Lucie Inlet very nice and easy (but still, like many of the smaller inlets, not advisable at night without local knowledge/experience...)
I hope this helps...
s/v Annie Laurie