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Old 31-12-2017, 06:32   #31
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Re: Gulf Stream Crossing Weather

Friends of mind ended up not going yesterday...waiting for next window....forecasts look iffy for the next few days.

Yesterday afternoon till now still looks like it was a good window to me...anybody jump?
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Old 31-12-2017, 06:58   #32
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pirate Re: Gulf Stream Crossing Weather

There's a window on Monday.. then it appears to slam shut with some strong winds in the week ahead.
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Old 31-12-2017, 07:00   #33
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Re: Gulf Stream Crossing Weather

I’m using Weather Tracker to view GRIBS. NOAA GFS

At this point I’m hoping the forecasts change, because I’m not seeing anything until the 9th.
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Old 31-12-2017, 07:29   #34
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Re: Gulf Stream Crossing Weather

Yes Boatman, but we are stuck here to Wednesday for other reasons. Self inflicted wound.
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Old 31-12-2017, 08:30   #35
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Re: Gulf Stream Crossing Weather

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
There's a window on Monday.. then it appears to slam shut with some strong winds in the week ahead.
Building winds forecast by ECMWF and GFS for Tuesday so would want to cross in something fast on Monday.
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Old 31-12-2017, 08:35   #36
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Re: Gulf Stream Crossing Weather

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Friends of mind ended up not going yesterday...waiting for next window....forecasts look iffy for the next few days.

Yesterday afternoon till now still looks like it was a good window to me...anybody jump?
They've decided to jump across starting this afternoon. Winds are forecast northerly but light...so nobody is going to die...maybe motoring into some chop. Will post how it goes.
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Old 31-12-2017, 11:35   #37
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Re: Gulf Stream Crossing Weather

Fronts come thru Florida peninsula, before front hits winds are from SW then go clockwise to NW as front moves in, once front is here winds go to N then eventually to NE. Once front dies or moves on, winds go back to SE or SW depending upon which coast you are on.
Crossing to West End with North wind is fun, because the waves run contrary to the Gulf Stream, so they build up to steep seas. If you see elephants on the horizon as you leave the inlet, you may need to wait another day.

And once you get close to West End, those swells that developed in the deep ocean hit a sudden wall (Grand Bahama Bank) and bounce back at you as you approach, making large breakers! And since you need to rely on visual observations to make your way on the Bank, the water is churning too much to see the reefs. I know boaters who made it within 2 miles of West End and had to come back. If you stay well south of West End, you could attempt to make it to Freeport, just follow the cruise ships, if you can keep up
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Old 31-12-2017, 12:14   #38
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Re: Gulf Stream Crossing Weather

Iím looking at departing Brunswick GA and going across for Green Turtle end of next week. Looks like Iíll have a bit of a wait. Perhaps Saturday. Not much interest in crossing the stream after all those strong north winds.
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Old 01-01-2018, 14:06   #39
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Re: Gulf Stream Crossing Weather

Friends just crossed last night from Marathon to Bimini. Close to nothing for wind and seas. Not very exciting sailing, but sure beats whats forecast for tomorrow: NE Winds ~25, gusting over 30, seas to near 4 meters w 8s period...fun stuff!
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Old 01-01-2018, 17:15   #40
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Re: Gulf Stream Crossing Weather

We are a 33' cruising sailboat. W40 Westerbeke with a 6.5 to 7 kts cruising speed. We have always left from Angelfish creek on Largo bound for Bimini. I have found this crossing has the Gulf Stream giving maximum push.
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Old 01-01-2018, 17:32   #41
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Re: Gulf Stream Crossing Weather

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We are a 33' cruising sailboat. W40 Westerbeke with a 6.5 to 7 kts cruising speed. We have always left from Angelfish creek on Largo bound for Bimini. I have found this crossing has the Gulf Stream giving maximum push.
Yes, starting a bit south gets you at the right angle for a nice push up to Bimini.

In 2005, we spent a very nice couple of weeks in the mooring field at John Pennekamp waiting for a window. The weather really sucked, but as a result we had the park almost to ourselves. We jumped from there to Bimini on a very light air night after a frontal passage and had a boring, but uneventful crossing.
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Old 02-01-2018, 06:57   #42
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Re: Gulf Stream Crossing Weather

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Thanks for a direct answer - however it sounds like the standard “book answer”...how many times have you crossed and what were your worst wind/sea state conditions?
I'll only say I've crossed twice with a north wind and it was blowing about 20 knots, and I was younger, and on a fully crewed 38 foot sailboat. And, it was on the same trip.

It was hellish. We left from Port Everglades (which was also dumb). Both crossings were at night, in November, in 8-9 foot, very steep, seas, burying the bow at the bottom of many of the troughs with water coming over the deck to the mast (and past it occasionally). Lots of vomit n the cockpit when we arrived at Bimini (I put some of it there and I never get seasick).

Return trip, a few weeks later was just as bad. Same wind, same direction. We were cursed on that trip. We knew better, but we were on a tight schedule because of our jobs. I was 29.

Never again. I accept 0 knots of north wind now and I've made several crossings since then. I wait for the weather now. I am 59.

With age comes wisdom.
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Old 02-01-2018, 07:54   #43
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Re: Gulf Stream Crossing Weather

I’ve crossed from Lake Worth to WE on my 30 foot Hunter in 10 knots from the north, a relatively light wind day between higher northerly winds. While lumpy, it was a fairly comfortable crossing on a beam to broad reach, much more comfortable than the time I tried to sail across close hauled in 30 from the SE.

I’d happily cross in those conditions again. My bigger concern is how much trust I put in wind forecasts.
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Old 02-01-2018, 09:49   #44
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Re: Gulf Stream Crossing Weather

To get back to the OP's question, I have contemplated this question many times, and the answer is (drumroll) that there is no single answer. Over a broad range of winds and sea states, it really depends on your boat and crew. I remember distinctly the first time I crossed (Miami to Bimini), the winds had been out of the north for three straight days at 20+ knots, and at the time of our (midnight) departure, NOAA radio was relaying conditions as 25kt gusting to 35kt from the north. Classic no-go conditions. But we did. As we got past the shelf, there was an 8-10 foot swell coming from the NE and 6-10 foot short-period waves coming from the north. HOWEVER, we were an experienced crew of 4 on a 50' heavy displacement Dufour, and although 3/4 of us got seasick (yep, me too), there was never any doubt that the boat was doing just fine, thank you, steady as a rock.

Now, would I do that on a 36 foot, light displacement boat, with an inexperienced crew? Of course not. And it's worth noting too that you never know when some component will fail, regardless of the size and type of boat. So you're better off waiting, in general.

I would end by saying that it's not just the strength and direction of the wind that matters, but how long it has been blowing from that direction. I've made a couple of exhilarating crossings in a strong northerly when it was just newly clocking to the north; in fact, this is a great time to leave, because your heading (given a 3kt northerly flow to the Gulf stream) for the crossing is SE, putting you on a nice broad reach and arriving at your destination before the devil knows you're gone. If the wind's been out of the north for a while, though, you get the conditions I described above, and even at only 10kt, the hackles will stand up in the stream after a couple of days.

So no clear answer (sorry), except that it depends on your boat, your crew, how long there has been a northerly, and how strong the northerly is.

I wouldn't want to be out there today...

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Old 02-01-2018, 10:59   #45
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Re: Gulf Stream Crossing Weather

Perfect answer from Pete! That should end this thread!!!
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