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Old 29-07-2014, 07:22   #16
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Re: Advisability sailing to bimini in december on a potter

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Originally Posted by BZT54 View Post
Anyone who intends to sail the waters off Florida, an area that is known to swallow well found boats should have respect for the sea and should reconsider putting his life and others in harms way.
Well there are occasional hurricanes, the potential for strong thunderstorms and the cold fronts in the winter. But all of these are pretty predictable, thunderstorms less so but still the conditions that lead to thunderstorm development are well known.

So it's pretty simple to avoid all the above with just a modicum of attention to weather. Then Florida is some of the most benign sailing I have experienced.




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My biggest gripe is not with the OP; it is with experienced sailors giving poor advice, particularly those individuals who are of the mindset, “Just GO for IT”.

BZT
Don't recall any post on this thread that said just go for it. Several replies supported the trip but offered advise on the best routes and cautioned that the weather would very likely be a problem.
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Old 29-07-2014, 09:25   #17
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Re: Advisability sailing to bimini in december on a potter

On what's the smallest craft, to attempt with:

I believe there's a story in small craft adviser about a fellow who did it in a Guppy. He went in the spring.

I sure the crazier water tribe members might try it in a kayak.

I sailed it the other way, from Blowing rock to Fort Lauderdale in a norther. It was exciting then in an Ericson. So I wouldn't relish a similar trip in a Potter and would wait until the winds clocked around to the south again.
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Old 29-07-2014, 09:55   #18
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Re: Advisability sailing to bimini in december on a potter

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Actually I have a very healthy respect for the power of the sea based on 40 years boating, thousands of miles at sea, several years liveaboard and cruising, owning a dozen or so boats including ski-boats, speedboats, sportfishermen and sailboats from 32 to 65' and have lost count of the Gulf Stream crossings. I have been in gales off Hatteras and hurricanes in the Caribbean. Believe me I have a tremendous respect for the sea.

You're talking about a 10 hour trip across the Gulf Stream. Maybe from your perspective this is a huge, serious dangerous trip but real world experience would indicate otherwise.





No, stunts are the kids that cross the Stream on jet skis and Hobie Cats and I assure you a West Wight Potter is not a toy boat.




Pick the weather and the odds of the OP calling in a Mayday is about zero and 13' Guppy is not the same at all as a 19' WWP.




So anyone that doesn't own a boat like yours isn't a serious sailor? At what size does one become serious as opposed to a stunt sailor? Is it 20' or 23' or 27' or does it have to be 37'? Just what are your personal rules for the rest of the boaters to be considered serious?
The weather and waters off the Florida coast are unpredictable. I’ve been sailing them since the 70’s. A boat of this size would be lucky to make it in 10 hours. I have crossed the stream a number of times without incident but had one crossing where Murphy showed up; blown out head sail, engine quit and the window closed. It was November.

We were caught in a Nor’easter in the stream in 15’ seas. The boat, a new 31’ Allmand sloop got pooped twice. If **** happens and the little Potter misses its window he’s in for the ride of his life.

The only good advice is to do it in a bigger safer boat. A man with your experience should know better than to give the OP encouragement.

BZT
PS As far as size goes, bigger is always better. At least that’s what my wife says…
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Old 29-07-2014, 10:48   #19
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Re: Advisability sailing to bimini in december on a potter

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The weather and waters off the Florida coast are unpredictable. I’ve been sailing them since the 70’s. A boat of this size would be lucky to make it in 10 hours. I have crossed the stream a number of times without incident but had one crossing where Murphy showed up; blown out head sail, engine quit and the window closed. It was November.

We were caught in a Nor’easter in the stream in 15’ seas. The boat, a new 31’ Allmand sloop got pooped twice.
My first trip to the Bahamas was 1972.

I would completely disagree that the weather in Florida is unpredictable. There are three types of severe weather you might experience in south Florida to the Bahamas.

1. Thunderstorms. These are the least predictable but not completely so. The conditions that are conducive to thunderstorms buildups are very well known but the exact timing, location and severity is not an exact science. However, while the conditions in a thunderstorm can be severe they are short lived. In a small boat the biggest risk is from very large waves which don't happen in a thunderstorm that lasts for a few hours at most. They are also very easy to see when at sea so preparation and running for cover is an options. December when the OP plans the trip the risk of severe thunderstorms is very small.

2. Northers or winter cold fronts. Winter fronts do not show up without lots of warning. They are tracked as they progress south with plenty of lead time. Extremely clear to watch as the low pressure, cold and winds progress from Canada to the central US into the SE, through GA and north Florida down to south Florida. Oh a front may arrive a few hours or even half a day earlier or later than originally forecast but wise trip planning one should not cut the weather so close.

I would suggest if you got caught in the Stream in a norther then perhaps you tried to squeeze through in too small of a window. Did you not have a spare headsail? Even with just a main with a front on the way the prudent thing to do would have been to turn back and run while you had time.

3. Hurricanes. Occasionally a hurricane may form off the coast of Florida, especially in the early season. However even then they are well reported and tracked and one still has at least a day or three warning. Otherwise, anyone that leaves Florida for Bimini and gets caught in a hurricane must have been living in a cave.


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If **** happens and the little Potter misses its window he’s in for the ride of his life.
The answer is for the OP to choose wisely. Don't go if there is the slightest chance of getting caught in a norther. And in a broad context northers are very predictable. They don't just pop up overnight without warning. If there is a front coming, even if it's not supposed to arrive for 24 hours, in a small boat I would take that as a no go. First because any problem or delays or if the front picks up speed then you are whacked. Second because as the front approaches you often get a calm and may get stuck on the ocean without a wind.

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The only good advice is to do it in a bigger safer boat.
So again, in your opinion what is big enough? 19 1/2'? 20'? What about 27' or 30'. Is 30' too small but 31' big enough or is 37' the bare minimum? Do you know some special size that is guaranteed to be safe, even if the captain screws up and puts his boat in harms way?




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A man with your experience should know better than to give the OP encouragement.

I stand behind my recommendation. With care, preparation and close attention to the weather it would be a safe trip to take a 19' WWP to the Bahamas. With a poorly prepared, ill-equipped boat in bad shape and no attention to the weather I don't care if it's 37' or 57' it could be dangerous.
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Old 29-07-2014, 11:17   #20
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Re: Advisability sailing to bimini in december on a potter

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Can it be done yes. Do I know guys who have taken crazy small boats across the Gulf Stream, yes.

My benchmark is always, "If I have to ask if it can be done, I'm not ready to do it."

Not being rude, just sharing the mantra that has allowed me to have some bully adventures and live to tell about them.
I'll agree with snore on this one. A sailor must understand the basic rules. Two of them are.

1) Understanding fully how to read the weather, Gribs, faxes and written reports.
2) never set a time line to get to a destination or back from a destination.

The OP might have number one I don't know but if he tells us that a week is what he has then he or she is making the mistake so many experienced and un experienced sailors make. MEETING A DEADLINE

Can anyone else help the OP with ideas on the needed experience to set off on this adventure?

cheers
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Old 29-07-2014, 11:45   #21
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Re: Advisability sailing to bimini in december on a potter

Yep, the Potter is fine, but the weather window is unpredictable.
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Old 29-07-2014, 12:08   #22
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Re: Advisability sailing to bimini in december on a potter

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Originally Posted by BZT54 View Post
The weather and waters off the Florida coast are unpredictable. I’ve been sailing them since the 70’s. A boat of this size would be lucky to make it in 10 hours. I have crossed the stream a number of times without incident but had one crossing where Murphy showed up; blown out head sail, engine quit and the window closed. It was November.

We were caught in a Nor’easter in the stream in 15’ seas. The boat, a new 31’ Allmand sloop got pooped twice. If **** happens and the little Potter misses its window he’s in for the ride of his life.
You're right, you need a big tough boat if you're going to make mistakes like that.

You did exactly that which he's been told not to do. That time of year, I would guess you were making a similar passage, FL to some island. If you were caught in a storm system that close to land, you left at the wrong time and it would have hit you anyhow. If it caught you in the gulf stream you never had a chance to outrun it to your destination. Blown out sail and bad engine, Murphy, had nothing to do with that.

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Old 29-07-2014, 13:35   #23
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Re: Advisability sailing to bimini in december on a potter

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I would take the Keys cause a week ain't very long especially when you consider all the hours wasted trying to find someone to clear ya in and clear ya out and then clear ya back in to the home country .
Easy and very quick to check in at Alice Town, North Bimini. From Brown's Marina, it's about two blocks to Customs, and another one to Bimini Big Game Club for Immigrations.

There is no check out for the Bahamas. You can leave your cruising permit with the guys at Brown's, or mail it back once in the states. Actually, we have done neither, and not called on it when we checked in the next trip.

Maybe save some time by getting the Local Boater's Option before crossing to Bimini. Since the OP is from Texas, he may not know about it...? Florida | U.S. Customs and Border Protection Check in is more of a pain when returning to the USA. More time consuming, at least in our case.

We have crossed in April, May, June, and December. The conditions would have been ok for a 20' boat, but we did have to wait awhile for our windows. You'll have to be patient, especially if you have a small boat.....or a Hunter (coastal cruiser) with a spade rudder like mine.

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Old 29-07-2014, 13:41   #24
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Re: Advisability sailing to bimini in december on a potter

I ignored this thread yesterday when I first saw it because I knew what it would be: a bunch of armchair and overly cautious sailors saying something easily accomplished with proper planning couldn't be done. Sorry to say you didn't disappoint.

But this line took the cake for me.

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My benchmark is always, "If I have to ask if it can be done, I'm not ready to do it."
Great motto to live your life by if you want to be able to watch your 401K/savings/pension dwindle while watching Matlock or, on a "caution to the wind" day, Murder She Wrote.

No thanks. I would rather live by this:

Quote:
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. -Neale Donald Walsch
And to really drive the point home for me, I got this from a man who finally left his comfort zone and started living his life only to have it end tragically by a massive heart attack before he even got outside of the US.
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Old 29-07-2014, 13:56   #25
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Re: Advisability sailing to bimini in december on a potter

For those of you who are unaware of this, the first west wight potter, a 14 footer, did an east to west transatlantic with the two designer/builders aboard.

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Old 29-07-2014, 15:30   #26
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Re: Advisability sailing to bimini in december on a potter

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I ignored this thread yesterday when I first saw it because I knew what it would be: a bunch of armchair and overly cautious sailors saying something easily accomplished with proper planning couldn't be done. Sorry to say you didn't disappoint.

But this line took the cake for me.



Great motto to live your life by if you want to be able to watch your 401K/savings/pension dwindle while watching Matlock or, on a "caution to the wind" day, Murder She Wrote.

No thanks. I would rather live by this:



And to really drive the point home for me, I got this from a man who finally left his comfort zone and started living his life only to have it end tragically by a massive heart attack before he even got outside of the US.
A bit out of line don't you think.

Perhaps while they watched their 401 K dissolve they spent some time not watching Matlock and spent the time studying how to read weather and having enough time on the water to understand that destinations on a time line can kill. Not only the sailor is in danger but those who risk their lives rescuing those who do not have the time on the water to understand this fact of sailing life.

I appears that the OP just does not have the experience yet to make such a wonderful journey. A twenty foot boat that is seaworthy will do the journey just fine but it is the sailor who does not know the ropes who has not put his time in learning what his voyage could mean to him and others that should be evaluated. I hope the Op will make that crossing someday when he is ready to, when he knows he does not have to ask on some forum if it is a good idea.

Over the last few years we have seen so many boats abandoned because sailors wanted to live the dream they feel they are deserving of and many of them were not.

Weather you agree or not some members of this forum are giving good advise, they care about this person enough to do so. Hopefully the Op will understand and maybe you will too.

Cheers again.
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Old 29-07-2014, 15:39   #27
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Re: Advisability sailing to bimini in december on a potter

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I ignored this thread yesterday when I first saw it because I knew what it would be: a bunch of armchair and overly cautious sailors saying something easily accomplished with proper planning couldn't be done. Sorry to say you didn't disappoint.

But this line took the cake for me.



Great motto to live your life by if you want to be able to watch your 401K/savings/pension dwindle while watching Matlock or, on a "caution to the wind" day, Murder She Wrote.

No thanks. I would rather live by this:



And to really drive the point home for me, I got this from a man who finally left his comfort zone and started living his life only to have it end tragically by a massive heart attack before he even got outside of the US.
Spoken like many of those who were rescued off their boats the last year, unprepared, in a cheap boat, and not even far from land.
I hear people saying don't just go because you have a week or two, the weather matters. I have been thrown on beam ends in the Gulf Stream in a 47 footer with water coming in every seam on a well built, good condition boat. Thought outweighs stupidity every time IMHO.
it is well known that a rigid schedule leads to trouble.
If the OP "knows what he's doing and is ready, he doesn't need to ask here" was good advice.
maybe that's what you are saying... "ignore this thread"
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Old 29-07-2014, 16:04   #28
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Re: Advisability sailing to bimini in december on a potter

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Originally Posted by JK n Smitty View Post
I ignored this thread yesterday when I first saw it because I knew what it would be: a bunch of armchair and overly cautious sailors saying something easily accomplished with proper planning couldn't be done. Sorry to say you didn't disappoint.

But this line took the cake for me.



Great motto to live your life by if you want to be able to watch your 401K/savings/pension dwindle while watching Matlock or, on a "caution to the wind" day, Murder She Wrote.

No thanks. I would rather live by this:



And to really drive the point home for me, I got this from a man who finally left his comfort zone and started living his life only to have it end tragically by a massive heart attack before he even got outside of the US.
Let's see.... I have a very respectable kayaking resume. Google SnoreBringGator the info is out there and some interesting videos others have taken. I've paddled 30-40 hours non-stop while racing and raced through Everglades National Park through the night alone. I don't want to sound like a braggart, so take a look. My a@@ does not sit on the couch.

Oh yes waited till I was experienced enough to single hand a Gulf Stream crossing and back in a day on a 33 footer.

Only a fool leaves his comfort zone without knowing that he can handle what can happen. Or should one carry a sat phone and call for help??

Take your cake and....
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Old 29-07-2014, 16:45   #29
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Re: Advisability sailing to bimini in december on a potter

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Let's see.... I have a very respectable kayaking resume. Google SnoreBringGator the info is out there and some interesting videos others have taken. I've paddled 30-40 hours non-stop while racing and raced through Everglades National Park through the night alone. I don't want to sound like a braggart, so take a look. My a@@ does not sit on the couch.

Oh yes waited till I was experienced enough to single hand a Gulf Stream crossing and back in a day on a 33 footer.

Only a fool leaves his comfort zone without knowing that he can handle what can happen. Or should one carry a sat phone and call for help??

Take your cake and....

So in the course of doing all those things you bragged about you never asked if they had been done before or looked for advice from those who have done it? Bull $h!t!!

Get off your high horse.

The OP asked a simple question to solicit advice (further addressed in my next post). You did not have to be so condescending in your response.


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Old 29-07-2014, 17:18   #30
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Re: Advisability sailing to bimini in december on a potter

To the original intent of the OPs post.

First, where does the idea that this skipper is inexperienced come from? In his first post he stated he did a Gulf Stream crossing already. Just because he asked the question doesn't mean he is too inexperienced to attempt the trip.

Second, inexperienced does not mean unprepared. You can become prepared for this trip by doing research (like asking for advice from those who have done it before on a cruising forum, along with reading and reviewing other sources of information), taking your boat out locally in increasing conditions to see what the boat and you can handle (if only the OP said he was doing this too, oh wait he did) and making sure the boat is in as good of a condition as possible. I am sure this is how many of you with the experience gained it.

Third, there is a bias on this and other sites towards people trying to enjoy the experience of cruising in smaller, production boats. Just because that is not how you would do it doesn't make it wrong. Many of the boats that are trashed on this basis were actually designed for this type of use. As has already been pointed out, the OPs boat choice has crossed oceans.

Fourth, the idea of NEVER sailing on a schedule is great for trustifarians and those who are independently wealthy. But for us mere mortals it is something we have to cope with. The OP has already raised this issue and has shown that it is a consideration. Having a schedule means that you still plan your vacation cruise but it might be prudent to have a backup plan. I just had to deal with that situation when Hurricane Arthur decided to come awfully close to cape cod during the only extended vacation time we had this summer. It meant dropping a port off of our cruise and doing something different than we first planned. It doesn't mean not even attempting the cruise. You plan it, watch the weather and if you have the window, you go. If you don't, then plan B comes into play. I hope one day soon to eliminate schedule from my variables I have to balance when making decisions to sail away from land (and part of the reason I will be able to do that I live on and cruise a 31 footer). Until then I have to be back to punch the time clock on Monday in order to fill the cruising kitty.

Lastly, thanks for confirming my initial inclination to ignore this thread.

To the OP, your boat is capable of the trip. You have some experience already. Continue to test yourself and your boat until you have a good sense of what you both can handle. Continue to do research and solicit advice from those that are experienced. Plan your trip but have a fall back plan incase you don't get the weather window. And be prepared for people to say that they wouldn't do what you plan to do. Ask them why and then decide if their advice is valid.

Good luck and fair winds


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