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Old 08-01-2010, 09:22   #1
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Strategy: Miami-Bimini with East Wind

This is a not-too-far-from-reality scenario I've been debating and I can't come to a conclusion, I'm sure someone else who makes this crossing has considered this and/or tried it. If you wanted to sail from Miami to Bimini (essentially dead E) and the wind was hypothetically dead E, considering an average gulfstream drift of dead N at 2.5kt (and, if you wish, an average boat speed of 5kt and 10-15kt wind speed - did I leave anything out?), what would you do?

It actually doesn't help (as far as I can estimate) in this scenario to leave from further south; even setting off as far south as Molasses Reef, a close reach on starboard tack would miss any land by a HUGE margin, and a close reach on port would only add a lot of distance. So it seems to me that leaving from Miami and tacking close reaches (obviously, with longer port legs) would be the best bet, but I would like to hear what others think.

I understand that I have the option of waiting for a wind shift, etc, and that I need to watch out for cold fronts this time of year, and hurricanes in the second half, etc. These aren't part of the question...

Thanks for your help as always! pete
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:30   #2
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Actually, if you plan to head dead east at 5kt.s with a 2.5 kt. current vector from the south (gulfstream) then you're desired heading would be about 120 degrees and you would be close on a port tack for your best progress. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:00   #3
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I did this in June of 08, and Captain Force is correct. The wind was right at 30 knots. It was a bumpy ride until we got in the lee of the islands. The islands don't block the wind, but the waves were nearly flat, and made for a great sail once we pointed N............i2f
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:06   #4
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You will find a huge corrrection toward the south is required for the first couple of hours due to the Gulf Stream anyway. The stream seemed strongest close to FLorida. If memory serves something like 30 degrees!
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:09   #5
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Well I'm happy to see some answers!

I would agree that the ideal course to steer is 120, but with the wind coming from 90, that's 30o off the wind. Can't sail there. 50o is more like it, 45o is pinching (in-mast furling, no battens, negative leech). Still the same advice?

thanks again. pete
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Old 08-01-2010, 12:20   #6
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The worst that can happen is you end up a wee bit south of Bimini. Make it a nice beam reach to Bimini in the lee of the islands.
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Old 08-01-2010, 12:42   #7
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I have lived in Mimai for 7 yrs and crossed many times...

In summer the wind is frequently from the east and you have to sail 140 deg to be able to sail which is significantly into the axis of the stream and makes for a long crossing which is why we motor at 110-120 deg about a third of the time. Or we go south down the Keys on a fair wind and drink beer in Key Largo while we wait for a wind shift and a fair wind to Bimini.

It gets even worse if the wind is from 110 deg, you have to sail 160 deg which gives you virtually no crossing vector or 060 deg which with the lift from the stream gets you going to Iceland or somewhere like that which makes the beer in Key Largo look even more attractive.
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Old 08-01-2010, 14:34   #8
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Originally Posted by s/v Moondancer View Post
I have lived in Mimai for 7 yrs and crossed many times...

In summer the wind is frequently from the east and you have to sail 140 deg to be able to sail which is significantly into the axis of the stream and makes for a long crossing which is why we motor at 110-120 deg about a third of the time. Or we go south down the Keys on a fair wind and drink beer in Key Largo while we wait for a wind shift and a fair wind to Bimini.

It gets even worse if the wind is from 110 deg, you have to sail 160 deg which gives you virtually no crossing vector or 060 deg which with the lift from the stream gets you going to Iceland or somewhere like that which makes the beer in Key Largo look even more attractive.
Precisely my thinking (motorsailing aside). UNFORTUNATELY, I have friends coming who are here for a limited time, which is why waiting for winds out of the S may not be feasible.
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