Originally Posted by ontherocks83
Originally Posted by estarzinger
There are two approaches: (1) is to stay south/east of the stream as long as you can and then cross at a right angle, picking a crossing time when there is no northerly wind. And use Bermuda in case of a terrible forecast. That's the safe and comfortable approach. (2) is to go west looking for the stream and ride it as long as you can. If bad weather pops up you duck further to the east out of the stream (perhaps into port depending on the forecast).
We always liked #1.
2 sounds great and can probably really speed up the trip but if the weather goes pear shaped that doesn't seem like a fun place to be. It will be interesting to see what route he picked after he gets to NY.
Well, taking advantage of the Stream to any significant degree would likely involve a route far different from the more rhumb line approach to this passage
that Mark would appear to be taking...
It shouldn't be dismissed, however... After a few recent very nice passages back from the islands employing what could be termed the 'Big Bend' curve to the west, I've become a big fan of that approach.
However, my perspective on such passages is largely informed by the fact that I sail a boat with a meager 25 feet of waterline, without the ability to do much in the way of maneuvering into favorable positions relative to weather systems. After a few days out, I usually become pretty much of a sitting duck for whatever is gonna come my way... (Not to mention, I possess nowhere remotely close to the weather analysis acumen of a guy like Evans :-)) So, for those reasons, when sailing my own boat, or others shorthanded, I prefer the route that might afford me some options, and riding the big Westward Curve back from the islands fits that bill nicely...
I left from Antigua
on 8 May with a V-42 bound for the Chesapeake. We were just starting to hear about the possible formation of TS Ana, so for me shooting straight for Hatteras was off the table... Instead, after passing over the top of Anegada
, we shaped a course which would pass N of the Silver Bank and Turks & Caicos, and outside of the Bahamas
, with the idea of hitching a ride in the Stream from there... We set the whisker pole abeam of Anegada
, and never touched it again for roughly 700 miles, until abeam of Rum
Cay and the entrance to Exuma Sound... Absolutely glorious sailing, far enough clear of PR and Hispaniola to avoid the squall activity those islands often seem to generate. Easy, fast sailing, save for a bit of rolling due to a NE swell being developed by Ana well to the N...
However, there was also a large disturbance stalled to the N of the Abacos, so we went up Exuma Sound and the NW Providence Channel, instead... With light air forecast for the run up towards Hatteras, we made a quick pit stop for fuel
in Ft Pierce, then carried on, pulling into Beaufort
shortly before the arrival of the first of 2 cold fronts that passed over the mid-Atlantic states prior to Memorial Day weekend...
Of course, one of the options this route affords to boats that are ICW-capable, is the possibility of passing inside behind Hatteras. Actually, by far the toughest part of this trip was the beat across Albemarle Sound, and then up the Lower Chesapeake after the passage of the second reinforcing cold front... So, while heading up The Ditch from Beaufort
to Norfolk might be the less 'pure' way to make the passage back from the islands, that option can come in might handy, sometimes :-) There is no way I would have wanted to be E of the Outer Banks
during that time, and I'm sure we were tied up at the dock
, while a couple of boats that had to go out around Hatteras, were still sitting in Beaufort waiting for things to settle down...
Still, even with boats that have to go outside, I still really like the Big Bend approach... Two years ago at this time, I left Trinidad with an H-R 43 headed for Annapolis
... By the time we passed thru the Mona Passage, Chris Parker began warning of what was to eventually become TS Andrea... Again, the rhumb line to the Chesapeake was off the table for me, and we sailed up thru the Bahamas to keep our options open, and wound up hunkering down in Ft Pierce as the storm passed over the Florida peninsula up around Daytona. At the same time we were going thru the Mona Passage, an Island Packet
38 left San Juan
, sailing direct for Charleston... They met up with Andrea about 100 miles off the SC coast, whereupon the CG lifted the 4 crew off into a Jayhawk helo... A day later, we jumped out into the Stream off Ft Pierce, enjoyed perfect sailing conditions in the wake of Andrea's passage, and were tied up in a slip at Port Annapolis exactly 99 hours later :-)
Again, looking at the charts
, this route might appear to be the long way around... But it has worked very well for me, and I think for certain boats and crews - especially in the absence of an extremely favorable and reliable weather pattern over the rhumb line route - is certainly an option worth considering...