Originally Posted by RDW
The question I was trying to make but did not do a good job was as follows. The gulf stream directly North of Bermuda headed to Maine is almost always (when I have looked) been more spread out, scrambled, wider, multiple eddies as compared to a narrow fast flowing stream say at Hatteras.
Is it consistently easier so spread out?
Are there different considerations in this area of crossing?
I am planning on getting a picture several days ahead of time knowing that it does not change very quickly.
Now I need more answers along with the views!
As to whether it's easier or not to cross farther north on a rhumb line between Bermuda and Maine, the answer is "yes and no." The stream can still be fairly concentrated at that point and you'll want to look at images
less than a week old to determine it's contour and the best place/time to cross. While it can be a bit dissipated farther north, the fact that it is wider means more area for ugly conditions to build and the longer it takes to cross it. It's still prudent to head
into it with the wind with the current.
Also, playing the eddies farther north is more critical, since they are bigger and more numerous. Don't around Virgina/Hatteraas you can generally just charge on through, but the farther north you go the bigger a role the eddies play in plotting your course.
You always hear the worst stories about crossing the stream from racers, because they don't have a choice about when they cross it. The race
starts and off they go and have to deal with what they find. You have the luxury, to a degree, of picking your window.
Definitely look at NOAA's infrared satellite
photos, and if you can cross the stream at right angles, to get across it as quickly as possible, do so. If you don't have experience crossing it you really don't want to be caught in it if the weather
changes on you.
Below is the course for the winning boat in the 2002 Newport
. It shows a perfect course playing the eddies all the way through. As you can see, the stream is as concentrated, of not more so, on the northern route
than down by the Mid Atlantic.