It took us 4-1/2 days in a boat with a 32' waterline. Roughest trip I've ever experienced in 9K offshore
miles, and that was in June/July! November can bring some strong gales, and you're pretty much guaranteed to experience one on that passage
, since they come along at 3-5 day intervals that time of year.
I'm with speciald--wait for your Gulf Stream crossing until there's no northerly component in the wind
, and then head
for Hatteras to cross the Stream. If you depart right after a cold front moves through, the winds will usually have become SE and light. As the next front approaches, the winds will build and clock through the S, SW, W and NW as the front overtakes you. You should be across the Stream by then, and the wind
will generally be blowing pretty good from the NNE or NE, off your port quarter. We always left Hampton Roads
around noon, and were across the Stream by sundown the next day.
You might be able to sail the rhumbline to Bermuda, but you really should look at an up-to-date chart of the currents out there before deciding. I've found that the Stream is usually more narrow off Hatteras than to the north, 60 nm or so wide, so you can minimize your exposure to 10-12 hours.
Once across, look for the clockwise-spinning cold eddy currents and play them. If you get on the wrong (bottom) side of one, you can see a 1-2 kt foul current
, but if you cross the top of one, you'll get the equivalent boost. It's worth changing course to be on the "good" side of the eddies.
Be prepared for a good blow, anywhere from 35-40 kts up to 50 kts when that inevitable cold front passes by.
There are some sources of Gulf Stream and Sargasso Sea current
data available. I don't have all the links any more, but found these just by Googling. Northern Gulf Institute