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Old 30-01-2010, 13:19   #1
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Passage South, Cape Canaveral Outside

I am watching the weather very close to pick a weather window for us to head south from Jacksonville FL, the goal being to get to Lake Worth or further south. My mast is 65' plus antenna and stuff so we are not ICW players.

The weather tomorrow morning is showing sunny all day, northeast winds 10-15 and seas 2-4ft. Tomorrow night is showing northeast winds 15 and seas 3-5 and the same thing on Monday.

I figure to leave out of the Jacksonville inlet early in the morning and sail south relatively close to the coast in 35 - 90 ft of water so as to maximize and southward counter current flow. The conditions appear ok... until we reach Cape Canaveral sometime probably mid to late Monday morning.

The forecast for the cape on Monday at this point is for east winds 10-15 and seas 3-5 with a chance of showers. The rain doesnt bother us, we have a great full enclosure, but getting the entire crew seasick and beat us is not my goal on this first offshore passage with the kids on board.

I have no local knowledge of the cape canaveral area.... the last time I passed by we were 200+ miles offshore.

So.... whats the story with the Cape? What should I know and watch out for? All local knowledge is appreciated!


Terry

PS we have a blog now!
This engine HATES me ! | S/V Lillie Mae... Underway!
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Old 30-01-2010, 13:57   #2
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First I assume you looked at the tides and realize you will be battling an incoming tide first thing in the morning and it is pretty strong at Jax.

Anyway looking at the current weather forecast I wouldn't have a problem doing it. The swell should be behind you. The cape has shoals that extend well out to sea. You can cheat inshore somewhat from the buoys depending on your draft but the "cape effect" is pretty pronounced the closer to shore you are and even when its behind you (as it should be as the cold front moves through) it can be an uncomfortable quartering sea. If the wind has veered to due east the cape effect is non-existant.

Look to your starboard and you'll see the shuttle sitting on the pad.

Finally I would delay if the forecast deteriorates at all. The farther south you get the more gulf stream influence you get and the combination of north to northeast winds against the north flowing stream can build short hazardous seas. This cold front at this time appears fairly weak and is forecast to stall off south florida thus the favorable seas forecast. However some times the weather guys get fooled. You can always come in Canaveral even with your mast. You have to go through the locks though to find an anchorage.

Fair winds.
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Old 30-01-2010, 13:58   #3
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Hi

We have done this route numerous times as our mast height is 68ft. we run St. Augustine to West Palm. Roughly speaking we figure 36 hours at 6 knots

Sounds like you have a good forecast for the time needed. Follow the depth contours as you say working your way out to the Cape.

You must observe Hetzel Shoal (sp?) buoy off Cape Canaveral. Once you have rounded this mark start working back into the coast and again follow close along the shore.

As you near the Lake Worth Inlet the Gulf Stream can be running pretty close to shore and at times quite strong. This is a good inlet and entry is relatively easy at night although the background lights do make it a little tricky to pick out the channel marks.
Ideally you want a favorable tide and no wind over tide conditions.

Bon voyage
Cheryl
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Old 30-01-2010, 14:15   #4
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We would be staging from right around the corner from the Jacksonville inlet so the while we may fight the current out it will not be for more than a mile or two.

The weather tomorrow and tomorrow night look great for this passage... but Monday and Monday night are a bit more iffy. Monday at the Cape and south should be east winds 10-15 with seas 3-5 but it will be rainy and some chance of thunderstorms. Still... not a horrible forecast and like I said we are determined to not let rain be that much of an influence, otherwise why did we spend the bucks on the enclosure?

I will look closer at the charts for the shoals off the cape. Any and all tips and local knowledge about this trip is appreciated.


Terry
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Old 30-01-2010, 14:37   #5
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Two weeks ago, we went overnight from Fernandina Beach to the Cape Canaveral inlet. My suggestion would be to stay pretty close to the shore (1-3 miles) until St. Augustine. The water is deep enough there and staying close will give you an excellent bail out point at St. Augustine in daylight. Once you make it past there, move further out. We like staying about 6 miles out until Cape Canaveral. Then come around the hook and into the inlet.

The inlet is large, well marked, and very safe. I wouldn't hesitate coming in while dark but you should probably be there in light on your first passage through. Once inside the basin, it is wide and very protected although you have to watch for commercial traffic. Most of the basin is no wake.

3-5 is the forecast but that's out to 20 nm. You won't be that far out and should experience lower swells. Swellinfo is a good site for looking at closer-in forecasts - here's the one for St. Augustine. My read of that shows that the swells will be pretty far in tomorrow. To be honest, I'd consider leaving on Tuesday because I like to see a calming trend when going overnight (but I'm a total wuss).

Planning and thinking the way you are is smart. It's rare when you leave an inlet for an overnight passage and are totally unconcerned.
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Old 30-01-2010, 15:39   #6
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We've done the same trip a couple of times. About 200 nm. Beware of going in locks. While we were making transit we heard some 16 chatter of someone hitting power lines past the locks that were lower than indicated on charts. Once you round cape put a line out, we've never failed on tuna hookups in this stretch.
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Old 30-01-2010, 15:49   #7
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Once you round the cape in an east wind the closer to shore the stream runs. In the conditions you describe we shoot through the shoals at the cape, and then close in on shore as needed to avoid the stream........i2f
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Old 30-01-2010, 19:28   #8
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Others have already provided several helpful hints - here are a few points that may come in handy (I used to liveaboard @ Cape Marina, Port Canaveral)

- During your approach from the North, do not cross west of R2 - This is the outer reef mark roughly 8 miles east of the Canaveral channel. If you check your charts, you can pretty much draw a line from R2 to R4 and then to Canaveral channel marker # 10... Do not go north of this line. Between R2 and R4 (Southeast shoal) kicks up extremely steep waves when the N/NE swells cross the shoal - has the potential to be very dangerous. Also, (see the chart) just north of R2 is very shallow. Easiest is to aim at R2 and set a course for just south of R4, then Canaveral #10.

- Once you arrive at Port Canaveral, if it is past the 401 bridge and the Canaveral lock operating hours, you have to go to one of the marinas - the anchorage that used to exist many years ago in the west basin is no more - the marinas have extended their docks to claim that area for themselves. Port Canaveral Yacht club (used to be Cocoa Beach YC) has a T-head for guests as well as Cape marina - both have a $ cost associated with it.

- If you arrive at daytime, you can (westward) transit 401 bridge and Canaveral lock - as soon as you exit the lock (you'll be in the barge canal) you have a couple of anchorage options: (1) immediately South of the entrance fenders of the lock, there is plenty of water and many people anchor there. It is however, very close to Hwy 528/A1A (Beeline/Beachline) and can be noisy. (2) Upon exiting the lock, you'll see some heavy duty concrete pilings and a channel heading North - This is the channel to Kennedy Space Center where they return the SRBs to refurbish. You'll also see (crossing this KSC channel) power lines... You can go North and anchor on the east side of this channel just south of the power lines.... I think it is marker #14 - this -if I remember correctly - is right by the second spoil island along the KSC channel. BTW, north of these power lines is an estuary and a no propeller zone.

- Another tidbit about 'Port Canaveral' is the post 9/11 mode of operation w/ regard to security... Frequent cruise ship traffic as well as naval ships (subs, primarily) exist. The port security announces on channel 16 security zones around these vessels that you must observe.

- Also, listen to channel 16 carefully well before your approach to the Cape (outside) - if there is a rocket launch, there is drop zone security borders - lat/lon type announced and it is dangerous to be in this zone. And, they get very mad at you

- At this time of year, the Gulf Stream is roughly 30 miles offshore. You can get the latest Stream info on your VHF marine weather station (from Melbourne - whatever channel that is )

- Last but not least, there is no tide factor in Port Canaveral.

Hope all this gives you a (local) idea of the Port. Fair winds!

Sailndive
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Old 30-01-2010, 20:31   #9
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Thanks for all the info, this was exactly what I was looking for. Great stuff!

It looks like we are going to hold off leaving tomorrow. The weather on Monday into Tuesday looks a bit iffy and honestly, the weather forecasts for this area over the past couple of months have been horrible. For example.... yesterday the forecast for tonight was for west winds 10-15 shifting to northwest the same by early Sunday morning. Well... right now it is blowing 20-25 from the north with gusts over 30 and it is very ugly.

Knowing that we would be traveling south at some point I have been watching the weather forecasts very closely for several months. The most clear thing I have learned is that those doing the forecasting really cannot tell that much more than those looking out the window. Their accuracy over the past couple of months has been so poor I am extremely hesitant to head out if it looks dodgy at all. Time after time I have watched the forecast for 48 hours out or longer radically turn... I just do not trust them.

We will wait for a very clear and pronounced window.

On top of that... we have been having the most horrendous run of bad luck I have ever experienced. EVER. One bad thing after another.... one broken or failed piece of gear after another... even now the engine is basically toast.... so I am not heading offshore unless the window REALLY looks good.

But the info is hugely helpful!



Terry
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Old 30-01-2010, 20:48   #10
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Terry,

Just took a look at your blog - hated to read about the engine problem - hope it is resolved soon... While you are at Mayport, you may want to take the family to Singleton's restaurant - next to the Mayport ferry port (south side of the channel) Very casual place - excellent blackened flounder - good (no draft, all bottles) beer... It would be a break from al the trouble

Good luck and fair winds to you!

Sailndive
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Old 31-01-2010, 05:37   #11
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I just read your blog over too Terry. There is nothing more frustrating than a problem that looks expensive and difficult to solve. And it might be something big. Or maybe not.

If I were you, I'd head over to boatdiesel.com and see the current discussions going on about your specific engine. For $25 you can join and get access to all of the archives as well as ask question specific about your engine and problem. The guys there solve problems like this for sport. You will likely receive a lot of advice from pro's while still onboard.

It's cloudy, rainy, and gray today. It'll be sunny again. Don't give up yet.
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Old 31-01-2010, 06:57   #12
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Sounds like you need a day off the boat. Rent a car, and go to Disneyworld. The young fella will love you for it. He will also learn in sometimes frustrating times there can be a silver lining. It will also give dad a chance to gather his thoughts. One of my signatures says it all. Unfortunately sometimes frustration is part of cruising.You will resolve this problem like you have others, and find yourself in the Bahamas soon.......i2f
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Old 31-01-2010, 15:40   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tspringer View Post
Thanks for all the info, this was exactly what I was looking for. Great stuff!

It looks like we are going to hold off leaving tomorrow. The weather on Monday into Tuesday looks a bit iffy and honestly, the weather forecasts for this area over the past couple of months have been horrible. For example.... yesterday the forecast for tonight was for west winds 10-15 shifting to northwest the same by early Sunday morning. Well... right now it is blowing 20-25 from the north with gusts over 30 and it is very ugly.

Knowing that we would be traveling south at some point I have been watching the weather forecasts very closely for several months. The most clear thing I have learned is that those doing the forecasting really cannot tell that much more than those looking out the window. Their accuracy over the past couple of months has been so poor I am extremely hesitant to head out if it looks dodgy at all. Time after time I have watched the forecast for 48 hours out or longer radically turn... I just do not trust them.

We will wait for a very clear and pronounced window.

On top of that... we have been having the most horrendous run of bad luck I have ever experienced. EVER. One bad thing after another.... one broken or failed piece of gear after another... even now the engine is basically toast.... so I am not heading offshore unless the window REALLY looks good.

But the info is hugely helpful!



Terry

Glad you held up. I am in Melbourne (just south of the Cape) and it is really honking from the northeast right now. Steady 20 knots with higher gusts. A low is forecast to develop on the tail of this front and move across the peninsula so you look to be stuck there until at least mid-week. Hang in there.
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Old 31-01-2010, 16:24   #14
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Glad you held up. I am in Melbourne (just south of the Cape) and it is really honking from the northeast right now. Steady 20 knots with higher gusts. A low is forecast to develop on the tail of this front and move across the peninsula so you look to be stuck there until at least mid-week. Hang in there.


Yea, the weather guru's really missed on the forecast here as well. Instead of the partly cloudy with northeast winds 10-15 we have gotten solid overcast with it blowing 20+ all day and gusts much higher.

We are going to focus on trying to at least get a definitive answer to what is wrong with the engine, assuming that is even possible, and then make some hard choices from there.


Terry
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Old 31-01-2010, 16:34   #15
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Here's another good site for looking at wind/wave predictions. That link is for St. Augustine - you can easily get other locations. I don't believe any of it more than 48 hours out but I like to track it every day and watch for trends. I still think that Tuesday/Wednesday is shaping up and looking nice but engine issues will take priority.

I have no affiliation with the site at all.
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