Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 06-12-2011, 22:28   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 3
Route Confusion! Florida to Panama via Bahamas

I have been studying guides for the past couple of days as I am getting ready to set out (around 2nd week of Jan.) from Riviera Beach, FL (lake worth) to Bocas del Toro, Panama nonstop if possible. I have a pretty tight crew schedule so non stop is the only option barring heavy weather received via SSB/XM.

The gulfstream, Bahamas and this whole area is a new beast to me as I live in Texas, so please pardon some of my ignorance.

Ive dug through a few topics on here and found 3 that ask roughly the same questions so I will attempt to combine them.

Im most curious about a route towards Bimini, across the banks south to the Old Bahama Channel. I plan to beat southeast (winds have been a steady east/ne so that could help) towards the Windward passage and turn south and once clear set a rhum line for bocas.

I hear everyone/guides talk about the difficulty making easting so Im wondering about how bad it is, especially with a difficult time frame. I have also considered the route through the northwest passage out to around 74W or so and drop due south passing just west of Inagua. But this route includes a ton of east motoring. which brings us to the next issue.

I delivered this boat from Panama City Beach to Riviera Beach back in April and found out quickly she has major issues motoring in anything over 2ft. Now, the yard where some major repair work was done totally redesigned her engine sleds and apparently she will motor now without issues... this has yet to be proven (Ill know in a few weeks). Its a 42ft catamaran carrying twin 9.9 outboards and its adequate in flat water but when I came across lake worth on delivery back in April I had a 15kt southern breeze in my face and I was forced down to 3kts of boat speed!!!

I wont have much time in the Bahamas to try and ride a northerner or anything like that. Im praying to get across the stream and hopefully I can point high enough through the old Bahama Channel to beat my way south. The previous owners removed her daggerboards so her windward work is nothing short of horrible. Im a multihull nut but they must keep their daggerboards!!!!! Ohh btw, draft is 2.2ft... banks should be ok right? For the record, Im just now ordering charts so im using noaa charts of bahamas and they are not very detailed. Like I said, please forgive the ignorance. Charts (paper, gps, and guides) on the way!
__________________

__________________
2far2drive is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2011, 07:03   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
colemj's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Presently on US East Coast
Boat: Manta 40 "Reach"
Posts: 10,049
Images: 12
Re: Route Confusion! Florida to Panama via Bahamas

Oh my.

Let me see if I understood you correctly:

1. You plan on leaving FL in mid-January bound for Panama non-stop.
2. You have a tight schedule that bars you from deviating from it more than the slightest amount.
3. You have no knowledge of, or experience with, the Gulf Stream (this is actually the least of your worries).
4. You have major engine problems that may have been fixed with a structural redesign, but are untested.
5. Your schedule is so tight, that you cannot even wait for a proper weather window on the most difficult part of a 1,500 mile passage.
6. Your boat has been radically redesigned from the original plans and has no leeward arresting appendages. And you plan on doing a lot of windward work in high winds and seas.

Well, anything is possible. I think you are lacking in common sense, but if you can turn the corner heading SW and are comfortable with heavy weather, it is downwind sailing. Good luck.

Mark
__________________

__________________
www.svreach.com

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
colemj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2011, 07:39   #3
Registered User
 
s/v Moondancer's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Fiji but heading for Alaska
Boat: Tayana 55
Posts: 1,225
Re: Route Confusion! Florida to Panama via Bahamas

Not really possible...

A good friend in a 60 ft racing cat with very deep boards took 11 days beating from Florida to DR into the Yucatan Channel and the trades south of Cuba!

Motoring my 30 ton 55 ft deep keel mono hull barely made 3.5 knots into the winds and current in the Old Bahama Channel and that speed was very hard on crew and boat.

I have also motored a cat and a tri equipped with outboards and in heavy seas they close to worthless spending more time out of the water than in.

Make time for weather windows or don't start. Oh and carry lots of fuel you can fill up in Nassau, Georgetown and Great Inagua. But it might be wise to pay the Bahama check in fee as they are very touchy when you have not paid.
__________________
Phil

"Remember, experience only means that you screw-up less often."
s/v Moondancer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2011, 07:45   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
S/V Antares's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Annapolis, Bahamas
Boat: 1983 Gulfstar 36
Posts: 1,249
Images: 1
Re: Route Confusion! Florida to Panama via Bahamas

Unless you get very lucky the weather will change your unchangable schedule. One can not make short window plans for this time of year.
__________________
Will & Muffin
Lucy the dog

"Yes, well.. perhaps some more wine" (Julia Child)
S/V Antares is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2011, 09:24   #5
Moderator Emeritus
 
GordMay's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 31,583
Images: 240
Re: Route Confusion! Florida to Panama via Bahamas

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, 2far2drive.
__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2011, 10:47   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 3
Re: Route Confusion! Florida to Panama via Bahamas

eeesh, lacking in common sense? Im asking some people supposedly "in the know" about routes I know nothing about. Like I STATED, books are on order. I had heard some horror stories about Old Bahama Channel but Im trying to confirm everything first before I make any decisions.

The boat couldnt motor in chop for crap before, so why would I care if they were "radically redesigned", what are they going to work worse than crap??? I delivered that boat before and due to time constraints (and less than optimal winds rounding florida) I came across the Okeechobee and everything was fine. I spent 4 days sailing a route from Carabelle to Clearwater that normally takes 24-36hours because of less than optimal wind directions which I knew I was getting into. I have a horrible affliction of sailing,not motoring. I wont fire them up until Im in tight channels and entering marinas.

I came on here looking for the friendly advice I saw others getting asking the same sorts of questions..

I have checked the pilots and I have been watching every weather pattern like a hawk. Ive watched every front pass for the past month, how it affects the Carib/bahamas and what kind of winds and seas it brings. When you mention "heavy weather", what exactly are your definitions? seas and winds plz.

Im seeing averages of 6-8ft with 15-25kts of wind once I clear the windward passage, a route suggested by several cruising guides. I know that could easily be double that, but if we all stayed in port waiting for 10-15, downwind, 1ft chop, we would never get anywhere. This seems to be the best I can do with what I have.

Rest assured I will make time for weather as is necessary, Im not foolish. Ill loose most of my crew doing so but so be it.

The boat is fine. she just had a very extensive refit to repair some structural problems assosciated with these boats (wharram) by a great wharram pro builder. shes carring all storm sails, drogue and para-anchor along with some 1500ft of line for warps or whatever. shes made passage from texas through the canal to hawaii and back before, she is well built and designed for such passages.

So Old Bahama Channel is a no go, thats all I needed to hear. I think I will plan on getting that cruising permit as suggested to avoid trouble and will work my way east if possible and dive south. Like I said, not many other options besides W along n. cuba until Yucatan and dive south from there but I have to fight the Gulf Stream for most of the start. eesh... hurricanes or heavy trades/northerners... lol pick my poison.
__________________
2far2drive is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2011, 11:04   #7
CF Adviser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Boat: Custom Van De Stadt 47 Samoa
Posts: 3,748
Re: Route Confusion! Florida to Panama via Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2far2drive View Post
I have been studying guides for the past couple of days as I am getting ready to set out (around 2nd week of Jan.) from Riviera Beach, FL (lake worth) to Bocas del Toro, Panama nonstop if possible.
You may already have seen it, but below is a the relevant section of the January Pilot chart.

Click image for larger version

Name:	jan.jpg
Views:	403
Size:	357.0 KB
ID:	34497

If it were me I would probably plan to go west of Cuba. Yes, there is some current against you, but you will note on the pilot chart that there is also some (less) current against you on the north coast of Cuba and Bahamas. And at least going west of Cuba you should have terrific sailing winds and you will probably not get bogged down by weather and its simple to do non-stop

If you go west, the only trick is to be careful with the banks off Honduras.
__________________
estarzinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2011, 11:11   #8
CF Adviser
Moderator Emeritus
 
Hud3's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Virginia
Boat: Island Packet 380, now sold
Posts: 8,929
Images: 49
Re: Route Confusion! Florida to Panama via Bahamas

2f2d,

Don't take the "tough love" to heart! You obviously know more about passage-making than some readers may have inferred from your first post.

If you study the pilots, I think you'll agree that working east through the Bahamas is the better plan. The Old Bahamas Channel is a great way to get to Florida from the Virgins, but going the other way, not so much. Another thing to keep on your radar is the possibility of enhanced Tradewinds building in (the so-called Christmas Winds). The crank up in most winters and can blow 25-35 knots for days, and there's nothing to do but wait them out if you're headed east.

Good luck to you!
__________________
Hud
Hud3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2011, 11:11   #9
Senior Cruiser
 
colemj's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Presently on US East Coast
Boat: Manta 40 "Reach"
Posts: 10,049
Images: 12
Re: Route Confusion! Florida to Panama via Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2far2drive View Post
eeesh, lacking in common sense? Im asking some people supposedly "in the know" about routes I know nothing about. Like I STATED, books are on order. I had heard some horror stories about Old Bahama Channel but Im trying to confirm everything first before I make any decisions.

Maybe the common sense part was harsh, but you acknowledged ignorance. I didn't think your explanation of your situation or your questions showed a lack of knowledge, but a lack of common sense. The six points I boiled out of your message are not ones that most would leave unresolved in this type of passage. Questions from lack of knowledge would have been along the lines of "which time of year is best" or "approximately how many days on average should I plan on waiting for a weather window" or "what would a good weather window out of the Bahamas look like and how long would it last", etc

The boat couldnt motor in chop for crap before, so why would I care if they were "radically redesigned", what are they going to work worse than crap??? I delivered that boat before and due to time constraints (and less than optimal winds rounding florida) I came across the Okeechobee and everything was fine. I spent 4 days sailing a route from Carabelle to Clearwater that normally takes 24-36hours because of less than optimal wind directions which I knew I was getting into. I have a horrible affliction of sailing,not motoring. I wont fire them up until Im in tight channels and entering marinas.

You implied in your original post that you were counting on the redesign to improve motoring ability and that you were disappointed in not being able to motor before.

I came on here looking for the friendly advice I saw others getting asking the same sorts of questions..

I have checked the pilots and I have been watching every weather pattern like a hawk. Ive watched every front pass for the past month, how it affects the Carib/bahamas and what kind of winds and seas it brings. When you mention "heavy weather", what exactly are your definitions? seas and winds plz.

Im seeing averages of 6-8ft with 15-25kts of wind once I clear the windward passage, a route suggested by several cruising guides. I know that could easily be double that, but if we all stayed in port waiting for 10-15, downwind, 1ft chop, we would never get anywhere. This seems to be the best I can do with what I have.

Yes, double that is what you should expect that time of year. Like I mentioned, once you turn the corner it is all downwind sailing, so if you are comfortable with that weather it is no problem.

Rest assured I will make time for weather as is necessary, Im not foolish. Ill loose most of my crew doing so but so be it.

This is opposite of what you said in your original post

The boat is fine. she just had a very extensive refit to repair some structural problems assosciated with these boats (wharram) by a great wharram pro builder. shes carring all storm sails, drogue and para-anchor along with some 1500ft of line for warps or whatever. shes made passage from texas through the canal to hawaii and back before, she is well built and designed for such passages.

I never questioned the boat build or safety - I questioned your plans to do a lot of windward work in heavy weather with no keels or boards.

So Old Bahama Channel is a no go, thats all I needed to hear. I think I will plan on getting that cruising permit as suggested to avoid trouble and will work my way east if possible and dive south. Like I said, not many other options besides W along n. cuba until Yucatan and dive south from there but I have to fight the Gulf Stream for most of the start. eesh... hurricanes or heavy trades/northerners... lol pick my poison.

The Bahama cruising permit is expensive. If you are simply waiting on weather and passing through quickly, I would forgo it. There is a large window of opportunity to make this passage without the risk of hurricanes, heavy trades or a rapid succession of northern fronts. And if you pick your window to get around the corner, it is all downhill and fairly easy even with heavier weather.
and here is the 5 characters or more that I need to type to get this posted (argh, I hate this feature).

Mark
__________________
www.svreach.com

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
colemj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2011, 11:33   #10
Registered User
 
svWindfall's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Panama - Bocas del Toro
Boat: 1977 42' Mapleleaf
Posts: 81
Images: 1
Re: Route Confusion! Florida to Panama via Bahamas

It's been our experience that anyone with a "set schedule" usually (not always) will have big problems along the way.
__________________
I don't have a solution, but I admire your problem
svWindfall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2011, 11:53   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Posts: 310
Re: Route Confusion! Florida to Panama via Bahamas

From where you are located, I would suggest crossing the Gulf Stream and rounding the Bahamas on the north end instead of Bimini, say West End, Grand Bahama. Run through the Abacos and stop if you have time. I believe the boat you are on is Smile Maker, and you Dave "Boatsmith" worked on your boat. He is the best for that type of work. Good luck with the trip.
__________________
Abaco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2011, 12:30   #12
Registered User
 
Richard Jordan's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Posts: 317
Just finished a delivery from Lauderdale to Colombia and would take the same route to San Blas or Boca del Torro. Stopping points were Chub, Staniel, Inagua. I would skip Inagua and fuel up in Jamaica. Did it in 11 days averaging around 7 knots. Was aboard 5' drafting, 46' cat. Even with current calm weather we had 5 to 8 foot waves in Caribe. Did a suicide run on a Catalina 320 on same route in June. Serious ocean. I would not attempt such a route with the serious engine problem that you mention.
__________________
Professional Yacht Broker per FTC 16 CFR Part 255
President of Cruisers Forum Sponsoring Vendor Jordan Yacht & Ship Co.
Richard Jordan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2011, 12:30   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 3
Re: Route Confusion! Florida to Panama via Bahamas

Abaco, Yes Dave at Boatsmith did the refit but I am not on Smile Maker, Im on Kaimalolo, a 42ft Wharram Pahi. I have also considered this route but I need to take another look at it. If your in Ft. Lauderdale, stop by for a looksee if you want. Ill be there next week to start painting and prepping. Shes on the hard at crackerboy in riviera beach.

svWindfall - I totally agree with your statement, however with very tight crew schedules, Ill go broke dropping them off in random airports and buying tickets at the counter. I have to find a nice balance here.

Hud3 - yea I had a buddy who did the OBC some 10 years ago working his way to the carib and told me the spent almost 2+weeks beating to windward. But I take what he says with a grain of salt, he is one of those 80s/90s BVI/USVI guys that Im frankly amazed he is alive. Hes a captain ron, somehow they all manage to make it. Been hearing and reading about these xmas winds too lol. Ahh Texas, blissful highly predictable/stable sailing weather, "most" of the time hahaha.

colemj - I get ya. I was trying to explain what I wanted to do with what I had to work with, and efficient motoring might be out of question in swell and winds > 20kts. I havent seen the new sleds in action but I dont have high hopes, Like i said, I prefer sailing anyways. 3 days motoring the okeechobee waterway to riviera beach solo was hell for me. I will pick my weather the best that I can and I am indeed willing to wait a little for a window, especially clearing through the windward passage. But if im 300 miles from anything and a front is forecast to push into the southern carib, Ill have to grit my teeth and push on. Waiting until the trades abate some is not an option with the owner/biz partner

*sigh* back to the drawing board
__________________
2far2drive is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2011, 14:13   #14
Senior Cruiser
 
S/V Antares's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Annapolis, Bahamas
Boat: 1983 Gulfstar 36
Posts: 1,249
Images: 1
Re: Route Confusion! Florida to Panama via Bahamas

Given you can get through the O-waterway Have you thought going back through and starting from the west coast of Fl? Save a lot of up wind work.
__________________

__________________
Will & Muffin
Lucy the dog

"Yes, well.. perhaps some more wine" (Julia Child)
S/V Antares is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
Bahamas, florida, Panama

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
Is a Catalina 22 Seaworthy Enough to Make the Passage from Florida to the Bahamas ? The Gentle Way Our Community 105 10-02-2014 18:51
Crew Wanted: Florida to Panama flysci Crew Archives 53 01-05-2012 17:42
Advice on Best Route / Time - Honduras to Florida kcarrothers Atlantic & the Caribbean 3 16-11-2011 12:18
For Sale: Garmin BlueChart Data Card - Florida and Bahamas Greg S Classifieds Archive 6 26-10-2011 08:18
For Sale: Bahamas Explorer Chartbooks, Florida Charts, Cruising Guides sinberg Classifieds Archive 4 06-08-2011 15:01



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 13:04.


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.