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Old 06-08-2012, 06:06   #1
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Looking at taking my Beneteau 49 from Halifax, NS to St. Petersburg Florida at end of September or early October. Understand it's still hurricane season but will take all precautions to find adequate weather windows. I have taken boat to Bermuda before and made it in 5 days. Could probably make Florida in another 5-6 . Wondering if this is a better option compared to doing the east coast as I understand there tends to be more weather. Perhaps more head to wind and possible groundings. This is not a pleasure trip and want to get it there ASAP, so slow cruising the ICW is not a preferred method. Open to hear views and advice on this delivery.

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Old 06-08-2012, 06:41   #2
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Re: Delivery

Late Sept to early Oct is the standard time for boats in the north to head south for the winter. If you want to do the same this is the right time but in my opinion I would not call this the best time, just the least bad time.

If you are in a hurry then the offshore route will be much faster than the ICW but once you are far offshore then you are committed and a fast approaching storm can be a serious problem. Every few years a boat is lost making this same trip.

You are balancing between the end of summer hurricane season and the start of the winter storm season. Go too early and the odds of a hurricane are higher, too late and the odds of a winter Nor'easter increase. Remember the Perfect Storm was the end of Oct.

Hurricane season "officially ends" in Nov so Sept/Oct can be high risk still for hurricanes. Also hurricanes don't always follow the rules and could happen later although the odds are much, much lower. But if you wait until Nov you are well into the season where Nor'easters could be a problem, especially as far north as Nova Scotia.

So there is no easy answer to this. It sounds like you have already researched the issues. Finding a good weather window is the key as well as making sure your crew and boat are well prepared for heavy weather. If you plan well the odds are in your favor but be ready just in case.

The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:29   #3
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Re: Delivery

A few things to consider.
THE GULF STREAM; it runs north at a considerable clip, making going south a bit tougher. There is a counter current near shore, but then you've got to be on your toes; lots more traffic & things to hit (buoys, fishing markers, breakwaters, etc).
I would not go out around Cape Hatteras; use the ICW, period; you'll have to power.
If you watch the weather closely, you can hop south behind fronts, taking advantage of northerlies & westerlies; taking a break in southerlies.
Hurricanes are not something to consider lightly. Watch the weather closely & try your best not to be where one is going to be. Finding a sheltered anchorage that is not over crowded with other boats (in other words, something that when it gets loose, will damage or sink your boat) is pretty hard these days.
To me a delivery is just that; not a pleasure cruise. I never let the boat get under 6 knots & run 24/7; push, push, push, but I hope you can be more relaxed than that.
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Old 06-08-2012, 16:17   #4
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Re: Delivery

So, the thought of going to Bermuda is a reasonable option? It takes out a lot of potential issues, though may be a little greater distance to travel. Potentially more sailing less motoring. This is a paid delivery, so pleasure is no factor here. I understand the potential for hurricane issues. A good sized weather window from Bermuda to Florida would have to be there for the second leg.
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Old 06-08-2012, 16:38   #5
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Re: Delivery

Any insurance issues this time of year?
An alternatove and more conservative route (based on the fact that you might need hurricane ports as a fall back)
Halifax to C and D canal 3 days
CD to Cape Charles, Chesapeake 3 days
If the weather looks good, keep going
Cape Charles, inside onICW if necsssry, to Moorehead.
Moorehead to Jacksonville outside 2-3 days
Jax to Ft Laudedale, then around the keys
Paul L
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Old 06-08-2012, 16:47   #6
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Re: Delivery

You'll have to watch that mast if you go inside to Beaufort. You're very near the limit and one bridge in the Alligator/Pungo canal is a tad under 65 feet and may have a lot less if the wind blows the water in.

Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
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