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Old 20-04-2014, 14:24   #1
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Sailing from Great Sale Cay to St. Augustine

I'm looking for feedback from anyone who has sailed nonstop from Great Sale Cay to St Augustine. I will be making this crossing in the next couple of weeks, and any and all info would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 21-04-2014, 21:41   #2
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Re: Sailing from Great Sale Cay to St. Augustine

I sailed from Great Sale to Canaveral a couple years ago.

To get a an easy pre-dawn departure, I anchored in the lee, rather than in the harbor of Great Sale. Obviously the sea state picks up notably once leaving the bank.

With favorable conditions, take the best advantage of the gulf steam you can. It's easy to not appreciate what an aid it's been until you cross out of it. Obviously one should have favorable conditions to be in the stream at all.
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Old 21-04-2014, 21:49   #3
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Re: Sailing from Great Sale Cay to St. Augustine

Pretty straightforward trip.

Watch the weather. Don't cross the Gulf Stream in strong winds from NW to NE. Use the Gulf Stream to give you an extra kick north.

Been a few years so I don't recall me exact course but believe there are plenty of easy exits from the banks to deep water.
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Old 21-04-2014, 22:16   #4
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Re: Sailing from Great Sale Cay to St. Augustine

i've gone great sale to fort pierce. i left great sale going west to exit the bank at memory rock, then took the course for fort pierce. you get a big bump from the gulf stream. in your case the 'bump' diminishes some because the florida coastline trends to the west as you go farther north and you end up going to the west side of the gulf stream. but still a lot of free miles.

it's also possible to go northwest out of great sale and leave the bahamas at white sand ridge, but i've not done that route. it would save a few miles. some of the boats that come in for regatta time in abaco have come/gone that way.
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Old 22-04-2014, 06:46   #5
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Re: Sailing from Great Sale Cay to St. Augustine

Thanks for all the advice. I'm aware of when it's best to cross the GS, but I was hoping to get feedback on how much of a boost I will get from the GS. That will help me determine when I should depart from Great Sale. I avg around 6kts. I would like to time my departure to coincide with the St Augustine inlet tides, as well as making my entrance there with sufficient daylight. So, if anyone if familiar with this specific passage, your knowledge and experience would be very helpful.

Cheers,
Will
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Old 22-04-2014, 10:54   #6
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Re: Sailing from Great Sale Cay to St. Augustine

that would be a tough call for anyone, even one who regularly runs that route. it all depends on how long you can (or want to) remain in the axis of the gulf stream where the 'push' is the strongest. but as i posted above, if you remain in the axis you will gradually move east away from st augustine because the coastline trends west.

i live in daytona beach; the axis is about 50 miles east of here. if i rode it up to daytona from the bahamas i'd probably lose much of the time i gained when i had to turn west to get to daytona.
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Old 22-04-2014, 12:53   #7
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Re: Sailing from Great Sale Cay to St. Augustine

Based on past experience, I would estimate about a knot and a half boost to your speed over the time you calculate from when you exit the Little Bahamas Bank until you cross the west wall of the Gulf Stream.

That's for that particular stretch of the Gulf Stream. It's very fast when you first get in it, but it slows as you go north along your planned route.

Does this sound right to others?
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Old 22-04-2014, 14:27   #8
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Re: Sailing from Great Sale Cay to St. Augustine

There's just a lot of variables when you factor in the weather.
I left out of Westend Grand Bahama Island at eight am one morning and entered by the St. Augustine sea buoy at noon the next day.
The weather was great and we were on a fast boat, hit 19 knots surfing on the knotmeter, Neptune knows what the gps was reading.

I would try to plan to make an early daylight arrival and just deal with the tide. An early arrival would give you time to hang out for a tide change if necessary, but with any reasonable weather it shouldn't be bad.
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Old 22-04-2014, 15:12   #9
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Re: Sailing from Great Sale Cay to St. Augustine

Quote:
Originally Posted by westsailwill View Post
Thanks for all the advice. I'm aware of when it's best to cross the GS, but I was hoping to get feedback on how much of a boost I will get from the GS. That will help me determine when I should depart from Great Sale. I avg around 6kts. I would like to time my departure to coincide with the St Augustine inlet tides, as well as making my entrance there with sufficient daylight. So, if anyone if familiar with this specific passage, your knowledge and experience would be very helpful.
Recently the stream has been running very slow (for a couple of months), but it seems to be picking up again. No way of knowing exactly, but a general estimate for the FL coast is 2 to 2.5kt average across the full width, with a peak of about 3 to maybe 3.5kt in the middle. Nonetheless, right now it is about 1.5kt. Directly North. pete
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