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Old 16-11-2019, 05:36   #1
AST
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Sailing Beaufort to Miami -> Bahamas

Hi
My goal is to get to the Bahamas. But I don't think I am comfortable enough just to sail on the outside directly to the Bahamas from Beaufort.

So my options are: (I want to limit to day sailing/motoring)

1- Sail on the outside. Hug the shoreline. Problem with this waiting for WX windows and wasting time getting in and out of inlets.
2- ICW. Problems are too many bridges (Mainly FL) and mostly motoring I believe
3- Some combinations fo the two.

I will be single-handed. But my goal is to reach there in a short time as possible.
Questions (appreciate your feedback in advance).
1- Which would be the best choices?
2- I could possibly hire a captain and sail directly on the outside (see below timetable)
3- Any other advice?
4- Not really interested in sightseeing along the way.
5- What kind of WX window should I be looking for
6- If I go through ICW, how much of that would be sailing and how long do you guys think it will take to reach the Miami area?

Timetable: Around the end of December
Boat: IP 29
Draft: 4.5 feet

Thanks,
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Old 16-11-2019, 05:52   #2
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Re: Sailing Beaufort to Miami -> Bahamas

If you want to limit your movement to daylight hours, going out of and into inlets isn’t going to work. Especially as the days are so short this time of year.

I wouldn’t rely on being able to sail on any of the ICW. It’s a bonus, when it happens.

Figure 10 hours of motoring per day, at whatever speed your boat motors.

I wouldn’t want to do many of those days in a row, at the helm all day, by myself.
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Old 16-11-2019, 07:03   #3
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Re: Sailing Beaufort to Miami -> Bahamas

AST,
Do you have an autopilot? This would help relieve sitting behind the helm all day and be the "extra person" to help needed to make an offshore passage.
Agree that going in/out of inlets will chew up too much time to make it worth while. It can be done, but sailing outside will be the most efficient way to get S and several overnights will be needed to cover the ~450nm from Beaufort to either Miami or Bahamas.
Could hire a capt. or grab an experienced crew member to help w/the passage. Even w/the AP you'll be more rested w/another crew member onboard during the passage.

If the weather isn't good, you could always continue down the ICW and jump off at Cape Fear, etc. and cut down the number of nights offshore.


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Old 16-11-2019, 08:19   #4
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Re: Sailing Beaufort to Miami -> Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by AST View Post
Hi
My goal is to get to the Bahamas. But I don't think I am comfortable enough just to sail on the outside directly to the Bahamas from Beaufort.

So my options are: (I want to limit to day sailing/motoring)

1- Sail on the outside. Hug the shoreline. Problem with this waiting for WX windows and wasting time getting in and out of inlets.
2- ICW. Problems are too many bridges (Mainly FL) and mostly motoring I believe
3- Some combinations fo the two.

I will be single-handed. But my goal is to reach there in a short time as possible.
Questions (appreciate your feedback in advance).
1- Which would be the best choices?
2- I could possibly hire a captain and sail directly on the outside (see below timetable)
3- Any other advice?
4- Not really interested in sightseeing along the way.
5- What kind of WX window should I be looking for
6- If I go through ICW, how much of that would be sailing and how long do you guys think it will take to reach the Miami area?

Timetable: Around the end of December
Boat: IP 29
Draft: 4.5 feet

Thanks,
A few years ago I left mid November from New Bern, same draft as yours went inside the whole way south. Only 10 hours of daylight per day, poor planing on my part got me to McClellanville at dead low tide, a sailboat grounded ahead of me and I picked the wrong side to go around him, spend 3 1/2 hours waiting in full darkness to float off and motor to an anchorage, every 50 hours (5 days) changed oil, autopilot crapped out in Georgetown and was not repairable so I hand steered the rest of the way (solo), froze my ass off the whole way until I got to mid-Georgia. Waited a relatively short 10 days in Stuart for a weather window to cross to the Abacos, I did not find the bridges all that troublesome in FL. Motoring averaged 5.5 knots. It took 19 days, I did stay an extra day in Georgetown and Charleston. I'm going to guess that Miami is another 5 days from Stuart. I assume it would be even colder at the end of December. If you go inside, have a fully enclosed cockpit, autopilot, and heater in the cabin.

If its any indication I've gone outside ever since.
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Old 16-11-2019, 08:44   #5
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Re: Sailing Beaufort to Miami -> Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by AST View Post
Hi

My goal is to get to the Bahamas.

5- What kind of WX window should I be looking for


Timetable: Around the end of December

Boat: IP 29

Draft: 4.5 feet



Thanks,

Weather window... I’ll give you the advise I got from a old salt many years ago. Wait for a forecast with 3 days open, day one go to the beach and look at the Gulf Stream, if you see elephants wait another day and look again. No winds from the north. I usually get swells from at least 2 directions and they will stack up from time to time and give you 2 times the forecast height. I’ve also crossed when a high was right over my route and it was flat as a pond. The reality is you need about 10 clear hours at 5 knots more or less. I’ve hit it most times and missed it some times.

I’ve followed that advice and 80% of the time it works. The 20%, just remember the boat is stronger then you.
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Old 16-11-2019, 10:35   #6
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Re: Sailing Beaufort to Miami -> Bahamas

I have made that trip a few times, most recently two weeks ago from Moorehead City to Jacksonville.


Previous answers and your initial speculation are right on the money. Especially along the SE coast going in and out of the inlets is a huge time waster. You could easily spend half a day going in and out. Also can easily leave you entering an inlet at dark and having to bumble around at night looking for an anchorage or dock.


If you don't want to go outside for at least 24-36 hours then the only thing that makes sense is to stay inside and motor, motor, motor (as mentioned, any sailing you may get would be rare and a bonus).


Time, figure 40-50 miles/day on the ICW so could take you 2 1/2 weeks to get there.



If you don't already have an autopilot then get one. For singlehanding it will be the best money you ever spent on your boat.
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Old 16-11-2019, 11:11   #7
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Re: Sailing Beaufort to Miami -> Bahamas

I do have an auto pilot. But no full enclosure.
What website would guys recommend to find an experienced crew?
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Old 16-11-2019, 11:34   #8
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Re: Sailing Beaufort to Miami -> Bahamas

Weather Weather Weather
Did this last January; will do again this January.
Annapolis - Beaufort icw; beaufort - charleston outside; charleston - jax or st augustine or stuart outside.
Get a helper if you do not feel comfortable by yourself.
More: weather.......
I have a 50 ft trawler, enclosed, heat etc
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Old 16-11-2019, 11:42   #9
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Re: Sailing Beaufort to Miami -> Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by AST View Post
I do have an auto pilot. But no full enclosure.
What website would guys recommend to find an experienced crew?

AP almost indispensable. Enclosure will keep you warmer but I did just fine with just a dodger and bimini.


You can advertise for crew on this forum.
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Old 16-11-2019, 11:47   #10
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Re: Sailing Beaufort to Miami -> Bahamas

Bridges are not really a problem until you get south of Ft Pierce.
Cruising the ICW in winter can be enjoyable after a front pushes thru and you get blue skies. Going outside can be brutal trying to make daylight and tides work in your favour. The ICW gives you a chance to throw out the hook, make lunch, dinghy to restaurant, observe the flora & fauna, sleep in calm water - kinda like a real vacation. Offshore can be white knuckle, sometimes living on the edge and often physically exhausting.

If you are on a timetable, be best to put her on a truck and get delivery in 48 hours! Lots of firms in South Florida can do the transport for you
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Old 16-11-2019, 11:54   #11
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Re: Sailing Beaufort to Miami -> Bahamas

I did this 6 mo ago headed north. I draw 7.5 and had to go outside in GA. I prefer an overnight outside to make miles and a day or 2 R&R vice hand-steering the ICW for 10 hours day after day. Much easier to be solo on the outside with the autopilot doing 95% of the driving and little to avoid IMO. The inlets in GA and SC are very long and generally not worth going outside if you are just day sailing as you will spend several hours just getting in and out. Your day 1 sail is one exception. You can day-sail outside to Masonboro inlet/Wrightsville about 70miles, so a long day but doable. I went inside to Cape Fear and back outside from there to Charleston non stop. This is an overnight, but there are inlets that you may be able to anchor and break up into day sails. After R&R in Charleston, I went ~150mi overnight to Brunswick/St Simons Sound behind Jekyll is. I went outside to St. Augustine 80mi. but there are inlets in between (jacksonville and cumberland). I did the ICW south from St. Augustine to Ft. Pierce with a few stops including Titusville for a day at the space center. Ft. Pierce to Lake worth inlet is a daysail outside 45mi. and another day outside to Port everglades.



If in the ICW, you can move no matter what the weather. As for outside, you are going to want wind aft of beam and under 20knts. It's shallow even 20miles out and gets choppy in a blow. Keep an open plan. Research what inlets are available (https://activecaptain.garmin.com/ ) and make a decision 1 - 2 days in advance when you know the weather to decide your final routing.
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Old 16-11-2019, 14:37   #12
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Re: Sailing Beaufort to Miami -> Bahamas

No offense but from the questions you ask hiring a professional would be a good move. Talk to several and find someone who enjoys teaching and having the owner along.
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Old 16-11-2019, 19:11   #13
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Re: Sailing Beaufort to Miami -> Bahamas

We have done it 12 times starting in New Bern, mostly inside, mostly motoring 50 miles per day in January. irish-eyes-to-the-bahamas.blogspot.com
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Old 17-11-2019, 10:59   #14
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Re: Sailing Beaufort to Miami -> Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by AST View Post
My goal is to get to the Bahamas. But I don't think I am comfortable enough just to sail on the outside directly to the Bahamas from Beaufort.
For starters, you asked your question with your priority up front. Kudos. That makes it easier to help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AST View Post
So my options are: (I want to limit to day sailing/motoring)

1- Sail on the outside. Hug the shoreline. Problem with this waiting for WX windows and wasting time getting in and out of inlets.
2- ICW. Problems are too many bridges (Mainly FL) and mostly motoring I believe
3- Some combinations fo the two.
Add 4- sail direct to the Bahamas. Yes, you said you aren't comfortable. Bear with me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AST View Post
I will be single-handed. But my goal is to reach there in a short time as possible.
Questions (appreciate your feedback in advance).
1- Which would be the best choices?
2- I could possibly hire a captain and sail directly on the outside (see below timetable)
3- Any other advice?
4- Not really interested in sightseeing along the way.
5- What kind of WX window should I be looking for
6- If I go through ICW, how much of that would be sailing and how long do you guys think it will take to reach the Miami area?
1. Best choices. Sailing outside really only makes sense if the wind is favorable and you can stretch to 36 hours. Even if you have to take a lay day skipping Georgia will pay off outside. The biggest problem is that you are most tired when you are entering someplace you've never been when you need to be at highest performance. Finding the counter currents for coastal "offshore" is a skill.

For the ICW or coastal you are going to want heat. I am a fan of the Mr. Heater 'Portable Buddy' catalytic propane heater. The 1# bottles are expensive. Get the adapter to a 20# bottle. Learn to bake. Bread or even biscuits help warm up the boat. Lasagna.

2. Hire help. Sure. I'd like to bid. Your IP 29 is probably six or seven days to the Bahamas, maybe two days to significantly warmer weather. A benefit of this approach is that you leave the cold behind at the Gulf Stream. You might reach out to @Snore as well. Your boat is a little small for either of us but what is life without whimsy? *grin*

3. Other. Bigger boat? *grin* Don't be optimistic. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. You have 23 gallons of fuel. Let's assume two fuel jugs. 1/2 gph fuel consumption? With reserve that means stopping for fuel every five days. Fuel stops are killers. You might have to stop more often for pump-out, especially if you have another person on board. Water. Inside you'll have occasional lay days for weather, provisioning, and just plain "I'm cold and tired and need a break." This is why the realistic average progress down the ICW is 35 sm/day. Beufort is just short of MM 200 and Fort Lauderdale is just over MM 1900. That puts you in Fort Lauderdale toward the end of February. That starts making a week to Bahamas look good. *grin*

You will hear people talk about 50 miles/day but 1. they're talking about best days not average and 2. most recreational boater don't have the discipline to keep that up over time. I can certainly give you guidance on how to accomplish that on your own and hit a 50 or 60 sm/day average but it isn't fun. Personally I'd much rather help you go direct to the Bahamas.

I can share some single-handing realities with you.

Buy really good long underwear. Don't cheap out. Eat beans if you must to afford good long underwear.

5. *sigh* That depends on your routing decision and your understanding of weather. If you fall into the grib trap you'll have to be conservative. Synoptics give you a better picture of what's coming and if you can move or not. "Can" and "should" are different and depend on who is on board. For an IP29 which is small and not very fast, safe but no coddling of crew I'd leave Beaufort on the heels of a cold front when I see a minor Low (as opposed to a deep Low) over the Great Lakes or Arctic Canada. If that doesn't make sense to you consider a subscription to a weather router like Chris Parker.

6. Realistically you won't be sailing at all on the ICW, especially single-handed. There is just too much going on to grab that one or two hours of fair wind.

Which does lead to cost. If my 0.5 gph number is good and assuming 4.5 kts and using the difference between sm and nm as margin for getting in and out of anchorages, marinas, fuel docks, and waiting for bridges I see something over $400 in fuel. Inside has other costs - marinas in particular. Propane. Rental cars/Uber/taxis for provisioning runs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AST View Post
I do have an auto pilot. But no full enclosure.
What website would guys recommend to find an experienced crew?
I can help you with crew, whether you hire me or not. Write me at dave@auspiciousworks.com and we'll schedule a phone call and put out a call. Realistically your market is going to be other singlehanders thinking through the same process you are. There could be bailouts.
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Old 17-11-2019, 14:23   #15
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Re: Sailing Beaufort to Miami -> Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Auspicious View Post
3. Other. Bigger boat? *grin* Don't be optimistic. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. You have 23 gallons of fuel. Let's assume two fuel jugs. 1/2 gph fuel consumption? With reserve that means stopping for fuel every five days. Fuel stops are killers. You might have to stop more often for pump-out, especially if you have another person on board. Water. Inside you'll have occasional lay days for weather, provisioning, and just plain "I'm cold and tired and need a break." This is why the realistic average progress down the ICW is 35 sm/day. Beufort is just short of MM 200 and Fort Lauderdale is just over MM 1900. That puts you in Fort Lauderdale toward the end of February. That starts making a week to Bahamas look good. *grin*

You will hear people talk about 50 miles/day but 1. they're talking about best days not average and 2. most recreational boater don't have the discipline to keep that up over time. I can certainly give you guidance on how to accomplish that on your own and hit a 50 or 60 sm/day average but it isn't fun. Personally I'd much rather help you go direct to the Bahamas.

I can share some single-handing realities with you.
I can reinforce what Auspicious is saying. I left late (mid-November) and needed to be in Stuart by the beginning of December. Each day I left at first light regardless of weather and stopped at sun down. Made a hot dinner, plotted my next day's leg and went to sleep. Started over the next day. Day after day after day... Only took 2 lay days. It was mostly cold, occasional soaking wet, occasionally very windy, you don't get to pick the direction of travel it is already decided for you. It takes a lot of disciple and is not fun, its work to keep this grind up and get close to 50-55 miles a day. Not 50 miles made good to the destination, just 50 miles total. I did not stop for provisioning except the 2 lay days (I had 30 days of freeze dried meals on board). I had 4 Jerry cans of fuel. New Bern to Stuart in 17 days was an average of 47.3 miles per day on travel days.

The enclosed cockpit is not for warmth specifically, it's for protection from rain too. I had one of the ICW guide books in the cockpit with me and it showed all the shallow areas. Imagine trying to find the next shallow area just around the corner in the twists and turns of Southern SC or Georgia when the pages are stuck together and soaken wet. There isn't a single day of that trip that I can recall with a smile on my face. It's not sailing, not cruising, it's mind numbing drudgery.

Your choice.
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