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Old 06-11-2016, 06:49   #1
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Southern Florida to Bimini, Bahamas, passage, anchorages etc.

Hello, thank you for taking your time and reading this.

I am sailing/motoring a 38 ft from Southern Florida (I am in Palm Beach now) to Bimini, around december 1st, I have a 44hp engine, and aprox 35 gallons of fuel, I plan to take some extra, just in case. I do not care about only sailing, I just want to get there, don't mind motoring.

I am thinking about going south to Key Biscayne, No Name Harbor, and departing at nightfall. I will be solo on this leg.

Is this the best way to go? Or can I just motor straight from here? (I have been monitoring the currents on Passageweather and they do not seem too strong at this time) Any other ideas?

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...36#post2251736

Any thoughts on winds and the Gulf Stream is appreciated.

Also I am interested in knowing what is the recommended marina for a few days stay, and any anchorages.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 06-11-2016, 07:26   #2
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Re: Southern Florida to Bimini, Bahamas, passage, anchorages etc.

Welcome to CF Carlo!

Now that the thread is published people will be along shortly with answers...
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Old 06-11-2016, 07:34   #3
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Re: Southern Florida to Bimini, Bahamas, passage, anchorages etc.

Howdy Carlo, and Welcome Aboard CF!

I am sure others will have short answers soon for you. I have not made that trip myself yet. But, I have spent some time researching the topic and found a very good source of advice and tips.

Here is a link to a page that has more links to more pages of information I found very useful when thinking about taking a small boat to Bimini or the Bahamas from Florida.

If you will search a bit on some of the pages, I think you will find excellent advice and good details about what to expect. You might also like to see the detailed description of his crossing (it is well illustrated with chartplotter screen shots etc.). It is the very BEST and most comprehensive guide I have seen online to making that trip. The writer's text and photos are well crafted and illustrate the entire voyage well. The writer is SUMNER and he is a member of CF too.

http://1fatgmc.com/boat/mac-1/2015%2...Main-Menu.html

Bon Voyage!
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Old 06-11-2016, 08:01   #4
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Re: Southern Florida to Bimini, Bahamas, passage, anchorages etc.

Carlo, Welcome to the community.

First I'll share my opinion about the departure ports. Your best choices would be to use the current of the Gulfstream to your advantage by making your crossing with a heading somewhat north of due east. This makes the trip from Palm Beach (Lake Worth Inlet) an undesirable choice. If your choice of a landfall is Bimini, leaving from the No Name Harbor location or even further south would be best.

Second is the weather or wind question. During this time of year, Florida is subject to occasional cold fronts coming from the northwest and bringing three to five days of brisk north to northeast winds. Most who are planning to cross to the Bahamas find themselves waiting for breaks between these "northers". Ideally, it would be nice to have the winds coming from the southeast to south while crossing in a northeast direction, but some languish too long waiting for the best weather.

Third comes the question of departure time. If you plan on motoring at times when the winds don't favor you making at least five knots; then, you have two choices that would fit for a likely eight to ten hour passage. You can leave at first light and arrive at mid to late afternoon or you can leave in the middle of the night and arrive at mid to late morning.

Best choice in summary,- -don't cross to the Bahamas from South Florida by heading south; don't cross for the Bahamas with an significant north winds; and don't arrive at an unfamiliar Bahamian port in the dark.

'have a fun and safe trip!
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Old 06-11-2016, 08:21   #5
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Re: Southern Florida to Bimini, Bahamas, passage, anchorages etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson Force View Post
Carlo, Welcome to the community.

First I'll share my opinion about the departure ports. Your best choices would be to use the current of the Gulfstream to your advantage by making your crossing with a heading somewhat north of due east. This makes the trip from Palm Beach (Lake Worth Inlet) an undesirable choice. If your choice of a landfall is Bimini, leaving from the No Name Harbor location or even further south would be best.

Second is the weather or wind question. During this time of year, Florida is subject to occasional cold fronts coming from the northwest and bringing three to five days of brisk north to northeast winds. Most who are planning to cross to the Bahamas find themselves waiting for breaks between these "northers". Ideally, it would be nice to have the winds coming from the southeast to south while crossing in a northeast direction, but some languish too long waiting for the best weather.

Third comes the question of departure time. If you plan on motoring at times when the winds don't favor you making at least five knots; then, you have two choices that would fit for a likely eight to ten hour passage. You can leave at first light and arrive at mid to late afternoon or you can leave in the middle of the night and arrive at mid to late morning.

Best choice in summary,- -don't cross to the Bahamas from South Florida by heading south; don't cross for the Bahamas with an significant north winds; and don't arrive at an unfamiliar Bahamian port in the dark.

'have a fun and safe trip!
Excellent advice as usual!

And an excellent and concise and wise summary! (Will share that wisdom.)
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Old 06-11-2016, 08:46   #6
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Re: Southern Florida to Bimini, Bahamas, passage, anchorages etc.

I always did it from No Name or thereabouts. It puts you at a good angle to the Gulf Stream.
If leaving in the dark you need good navigation skills as there are reefs etc exiting Biscayne from there. Not too difficult with the lighted bouys, just pay attention.
You will be steering at least 20 degrees upstream against the GS when you first leave. Sometimes a wait for a good night to cross is good advice. If the wind is E or NE wait. Every week or two, often the wind clocks around going south, then west. When it starts this cycle...go!
People cross from all over though.
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Old 06-11-2016, 09:03   #7
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Re: Southern Florida to Bimini, Bahamas, passage, anchorages etc.

I took another look through my notes and found this link to the best page describing a transit from Miami to Bimini by SUMNER in his MacGregor 26S.

It is very well illustrated. I will post one photo to show you his course and track, which illustrates well the effect the Gulf Stream had on pushing his boat North of his course.

Gulf Stream Crossing from Miami to Bimini

http://1fatgmc.com/boat/mac-1/2015%2...as-Page-1.html

NOTE!
There are many pages of detailed notes on Sumner's blog about his trip to the Bahamas. The link above is just one page out of many. While I recommend that page above for the concise transit notes, I encourage you to read the other pages discussing preparations, weather, and other days of the trip too. Well worth reading, regardless of the size of boat you have. The link to the Main Menu for his Bahamas voyage is below:

http://1fatgmc.com/boat/mac-1/2015%2...Main-Menu.html
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Old 07-11-2016, 05:57   #8
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Re: Southern Florida to Bimini, Bahamas, passage, anchorages etc.

Thank you so much for so many great answers, extremely helpful.

Anyone knows if this is a good marina to stay for a few days before departing to more secluded anchorages?

Welcome to Brown's Marina in Bimini, Bahamas. Your marina in Bimini!

Thank you again.
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Old 07-11-2016, 09:41   #9
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Re: Southern Florida to Bimini, Bahamas, passage, anchorages etc.

I sailed my Hunter33.5 from "Government Cut" to Bimini while steering 129 degrees, motorsailing at about 5 kts thereabouts, We would leave 8-9 pm and get to Bimini at about 6am you, will see the lights a few hours out as you approach.
Usually stayed at the Bayside Marina in Miami and departed from there out Government Cut via the, "shipping channel. It is not permitted to use the main channel in Miami when Cruise Liners are docked.

Have fun...........
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Old 07-11-2016, 09:48   #10
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Re: Southern Florida to Bimini, Bahamas, passage, anchorages etc.

Brown's is fine, good location and services are "normal." After you enter the channel you might radio ahead for advice on entry to the marina, there are shoals there (and everywhere) and they'll guide you around them. Have fun. I really like Bimini.

Regarding your first question, the answers you got were excellent. Since I always try to avoid the motor and prefer to sail, my normal departure was from Angelfish Creek. I would anchor in the Sound and get some sleep for a few hours before departing, usually around 4am. Nice angle on the wind and stream from there. It's best to arrive Bimini mid-afternoon so that the sun is behind you and you'll be able to see the reefs. Post-Matthew, I wouldn't want to make any bets on channel markers, which are unreliable at the best of times! Pete
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Old 07-11-2016, 10:00   #11
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Re: Southern Florida to Bimini, Bahamas, passage, anchorages etc.

Have done that trip many times.
Usually leave from No Name harbor early morning.
(Did night's before but it ruins the next day.)
Usually 9-10 hours motor-sailing.
Get to Bimini around 5PM, then if slack tide I go in to Weeches Bimini dock and check in from there.
Now that the Goverememt offices has moved once again it takes a bit longer:
10 mins brisk walk and 20 mins to check in if no line. If 4-5 boats are checking in the same time, an hour wait.
Most of the time I spend the night at the dock, then next morning at slack tide, motor out of the harbor to anchor further south.
If I get to Bimini after 5PM, anchor off the Radio Beach, dinner and drinks, then check in the next day at slack tide.
Sometimes I take the dink in instead of the big boat.
Many ways to skin a cat.
Important: Don't cross with a North or NE wind, it gets rough out there.
Important: Strond tidal currents in the harbor, go in at slack tide, or be very skilled at docking solo with wind and current tossing you around.
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Old 07-11-2016, 10:15   #12
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Re: Southern Florida to Bimini, Bahamas, passage, anchorages etc.

Yeah.... you don't want anything from the North.... Leaving at night is fine if you know your way to deep water.... otherwise wait until daybreak....

You typically don't get much loss due to current until you get close to the Spine of the Stream , which is generally starts in force about 20 miles offshore..... Bimini entrance can be tricky without light ... Brown's has been around forever but haven't been there in many years... Cat Cay has a really nice marina the last time I was there...as an alternate...

The crossing should be a dream ...so tune up the Bob Marley .. and watch for flying fish...( if the weather is in your favor. )

It's quick if all goes right....
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Old 07-11-2016, 15:08   #13
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Re: Southern Florida to Bimini, Bahamas, passage, anchorages etc.

Years ago, before they dredged the new channel to North Binini and before everybody and his grandmother had a WAAS chart plotter, we crossed at night so as to enter the range markers in daylight.
Did a few night crossings back then, but said screw it, there is no dragons out there during the day.
Go from No Name @ 05:00 if you know how to navigate and be in Bimini late afternoon.
Winds don't pick up untill 9-10 and you are half way there.
Use the GPS for ground speed: Before you hit the axis, head 140-150 degrees to make a South track, when the stream hits, go 90 and ride it up to keep the ground speed.
Even so you may have to head S of E to hit the entrance marker. Or go N of it and come down when you are close.
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Old 07-11-2016, 17:58   #14
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Re: Southern Florida to Bimini, Bahamas, passage, anchorages etc.

we like to leave around 4 am from No Name
arrive mid day in Bimini
I have gone across from further south but I have never made up the time to go south in the crossing by doing that

Best marina in Bimini for me is Bimini Blue Water - they are in a location that does not experience as much current through the docks - a big factor in trying to get in a slip when current is ripping through there...
they also have a pool which is very nice and are small

second choice for me would be bimini big game club - also has a pool and customs/immigration on site
Browns is okay but has late night music on weekends right next to the docks!
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Old 07-11-2016, 18:31   #15
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Re: Southern Florida to Bimini, Bahamas, passage, anchorages etc.

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-----second choice for me would be bimini big game club - also has a pool and customs/immigration on site
Browns is okay but has late night music on weekends right next to the docks!
You forgot to say LOUD music lol.

I've also stayed at Weech's Marina near Browns, nothing fancy but nice folks.

No idea how Matthew treated everybody in Bimini, you might want to try to find out current conditions before making plans. Have a great time!
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