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Old 23-05-2017, 13:43   #1
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Bimini Trip

HI,

We are planning to go to Bimini soon.
We have had the boat for 6 months, 3 of which were spent working on it.
36 foot Beneteau cc. Please no beneteau bashing, thats what we bought.
Not planning on world travel.

My question is where to start from?
We are in Key west and thought either Key Largo or no name harbor?
I know the gulfstream will push us north so?

Also as far as safety equipment, the vhf radio works how far out?
Don't have a satellite phone or epirb, perhaps I will break down and buy one?

Waiting on dog permit and weather window.

Thanks in advance for all the suggestions
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Old 23-05-2017, 13:52   #2
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Re: Bimini Trip

The Gulf Stream will push you north 25nm during the crossing if you average 5 kts. so start at least that far south. Best crossing I ever had, out of 20, was from Marathon. However it does depend on the wind angle.

Beneteaus are good boats I know several sailing the South Pacific.

Get an EPIRB and good luck.
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Old 23-05-2017, 14:01   #3
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Re: Bimini Trip

I'd suggest leaving from KL, and definitely wait for a favorable weather window. Your VHF range depends on a lot of factors - with an antenna on the masthead and everything working properly you'll probably have a range of 10-12 miles. With a handheld in the cockpit maybe 3-4 miles.

+1 on the idea of getting an epirb or plb.....
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Old 23-05-2017, 17:02   #4
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Re: Bimini Trip

We have made ten trips from Florida to the Bahamas. Eight from No Name Harbor to Bimini, one from West Palm to West End, and one from Government Cut Miami to Great Harbour in the Berry Islands. The rules are simple; no letter N in the wind forecast, no seas over 3'. We leave No Name at Florida Channel G"1" at 0500 on a heading of 120 magnetic and arrive at Bimini at 1300 watching the chartplotter draw a funny looking S curve along the way. We have a 45' mast and can hear both the USCG and TowBoat US Ft Lauderdale all the way across - and beyond - on VHF. On a clear day you will be able to see the Miami skyline half way across. We do carry an EPIRB, but really it is for the 4 day offshore trip back to the US. Explorer charts and good anchoring gear are far more important.

Irish Eyes to the Bahamas
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Old 23-05-2017, 17:54   #5
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Re: Bimini Trip

This time of year, you're fine with a weather window and VHF. You only talking 48nm of open water. At 6kts it's a 8hr trip. Enjoy yourself and a question why stop there? Be sure to drag some lines.
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Old 24-05-2017, 08:13   #6
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Re: Bimini Trip

Thanks for your advice.
I am finishing my navigation studying.
How do I find out what the speed of the gulfstream is at the time of my crossing. I was figuring our boat does between 5-6 knots
it would take 10 hours, but calculating a current of 3 knots, we should start 30 miles south of where we want to land
I shouldn't use our gps with autopilot, but to use autopilot based on the angle from the southern starting point.
We have a displacement, weight, of 13,000 and a 35# delta. We have anchored a few times and dragged on one ocasion at boca grande key when the current changed, it was strong. I was thinking of getting a bigger, different anchor. Its on 150 feet chain and 100 feet line..
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Old 26-05-2017, 17:50   #7
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Re: Bimini Trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennyq View Post
How do I find out what the speed of the gulfstream is at the time of my crossing.
It is overkill, but the data is at Global RTOFS Gulf Stream Location Look at the surface current. Otherwise, just say 2 kts.
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Old 26-05-2017, 18:10   #8
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Re: Bimini Trip

I would just start from Key West or wherever is easy to get out of. No name is good but takes some time getting into the GS due to all the bouys and hazards. The Stream will push you north, but it really doesn't matter much, you just steer so the boat "crabs" along the direction you want to go. For a trip to Bimini a VHF is fine, of course an Epirb is always a nice safety feature.
What's your draft?
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Old 27-05-2017, 08:10   #9
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Re: Bimini Trip

Our draft is 5'2".
I like the idea of avoiding the buoys!
But we haven't traveled at night yet, so I wanted to leave early morning. We are now in marathon and were thinking of heading to rodriguez key next. We could leave from there if the weather is good?
Is water available in no name harbor?
How about dogs going ashore at no name, anyone know ?
If not I guess we leave from rodriguez.
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Old 27-05-2017, 08:11   #10
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Re: Bimini Trip

We were also wanting to travel in the bahamas for a month. Wanted to go to bimini first because its closest. we could next go north to west end then around to abacus?
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Old 27-05-2017, 08:57   #11
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Re: Bimini Trip

No Name is Bill Baggs State Park. The web site indicates pets on a leash and not on the beach are ok.
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Old 28-05-2017, 01:57   #12
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Re: Bimini Trip

Jenny -- first -- GET AN EPIRB OR PLB - no iffs ands or buts - stuff happens and if you are out vhf range it is goodbye -- safety first safety second and safety third -

second listen to someone like wsmurdoch who has done it and knows it well - we did the same as he did 3 times

third - how do plan to get weather??? it is a bad year in the Bahamas and we have friends there now who are South African and sailed all over the world and are world class sailors and they are getting beat up a bit and running between blows to protected anchorages - so you need a way to get weather and plan forward for your passages and anchorages - If world class sailors are having issues just think of the issues you will have

and remember hurricane season is coming
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Old 28-05-2017, 02:06   #13
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Re: Bimini Trip

As for VHF radio range: A normal fixed mount has 25 watts of transmitting power, but quality of anteanna and connectors will slow you down.
I soldered silver connectors on my rig and used fat cable and new mast top antenna.
The farthest out I could get a readable radio check with Tow Boat Us in Florida was on the Bahama Banks, 99 NM from the Florida coast.47' tall mast, 3' antenna.
No problem sitting in Bimini getting VHF weather from Florida, crystal clear reception.
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Old 28-05-2017, 03:50   #14
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Re: Bimini Trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennyq View Post
Our draft is 5'2".
I like the idea of avoiding the buoys!
But we haven't traveled at night yet, so I wanted to leave early morning. We are now in marathon and were thinking of heading to rodriguez key next. We could leave from there if the weather is good?
Is water available in no name harbor?
How about dogs going ashore at no name, anyone know ?
If not I guess we leave from rodriguez.
There are no buoys between No Name Harbor and the ocean, only daymarks. The light on G"3" was dim and not flashing in March of this year (and also last year) when we went past. We draw 5 ft and have had no problems passing through in the dark.

Many boats leave for the Bahamas from Rodriguez Key. It is a longer trip.

This year we watered and fueled the boat at Crandon Park Marina. In the past there was free water at the pumpout station in No Name Harbor. Weekend people abused it washing their boats and ran up a huge water bill. The park staff turned the water off. We have since then twice watered the boat there by filling 5 gal jugs from the showers - a funnel and a hose. That said it has been several years since we have gone into the harbor; we have anchored off prior to our depature.
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Old 28-05-2017, 04:02   #15
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Re: Bimini Trip

A PLB can be had for $200 these days. An amazing bit of peace of mind for relatively little money. Wear it on a lanyard around your neck whenever standing watch, especially in the dark.

Ditto for a handheld DSC VHF -- can be had for under $100.

Hope you have a great trip!
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