Reviving this thread, since I already made this crossing both ways, and I took two different routes.
To go Florida-Green Turtle Cay, I ended up leaving Ft Pierce (the actual inlet) at around 6am (I wanted to leave earlier, but you know how it goes sometimes it was my first time around that inlet, at night, lots of current
, I waited a bit for something closer to slack), I headed SW, making sure I gained some ground on the Gulf Stream
before heading W. How much? I can't really remember, I need to get to those GPS
tracks and post them. But I got NOWHERE close to Jupiter. I probably motorsailed for around 2 hours with a SW heading before going WEST. My plan was to enter the banks at Manatilla Shoals. I didn't really trust the idea of Memory Rock since it looked iffy on my plotter / and planning tool (Navionics both). At that point I was just not minding the Explorer charts
that much (afterwards I learned from my mistakes
I probably did the 12 hours that my planning stage determined, because I arrived at Manatilla just at sundown. I think Manatilla is a GREAT way to enter the banks. It's wiiiiiiide, easy, no obstructions, and there's always more water
than you would expect. We sailed through the banks at night (beautiful!), with only two small squalls on the way, the wind
was perfect, at around 15kts AWS, going into the 20s with the squalls on a beam/close reach. The bank, mainly flat in regards to wave action. We arrived in Great Sale
Cay maybe around 4am. This was my first time anchoring
here, the moon phase didn't really help, so I really didn't get inside the little cove, just barely, but it was good enough to sleep for a few hours and reset the anchor
later at daytime. The squalls were going to be more constant through out that day for all I could see, so we decided to rest and take the day at Great Sale
and continue the next morning, well rested, no squalls. It was a great decision since the sun came out, and we had fantastic weather
to push onto Pensacola
, full sail. We anchored at Pensacola
at daytime, with winds from the NE, which proved to be a great spot to anchor
under those conditions. My plan was to hit Green Turtle Cay in one go. Unfortunately, as I was motoring out of the anchorage, I noticed my Balmar
was acting up (voltage would spike past 15v and then come back, and spike, and come back). At first I thought it was the alternator
that was done, so I ended up stopping at the dreaded (and expensive) Spanish Cay. I did customs
there, called Balmar
, and just disconnected the regulator
until I could get a replacement (it was gone). To make matters worse, I had done some fiddling with the water heater
and the water supply lines, I realized the port side fresh water tank
was basically close to gone, it had leaked through out the trip, probably since before we left. And as I was trying to fix it, lost
quite a bit more. So, I paid for the most expensive water fill ever
Anyhow, the son of the owner of Spanish Cay was really nice (a Peruvian), and I ended up staying for two night while I fixed the water leak, figured out the Balmar thing and was able to order a replacement regulator that a girlfriend travelling by plane a few days later would bring to Green Turtle Cay.
From Spanish to GTC, it was an easy day sail. I ended up staying in the White Sound side in GTC, and ended up leaving the boat
until december in the marina. Long story but I had no outboard
, and preferred to be able to get on shore by walking off the boat
. Haha. Next time around Im taking a mooring
, now that all systems on my boat are working correctly.
I sailed around the Abacos for a few weeks in October, did quite a bit of sailing on my own (single handed) and really enjoyed the Abaco
In December I wanted to return to the US (long story), so I took on a friend with no experience whatasoever, who ended up getting seasick 80% of the trip back. I did GTC, Pensacola, Mangrove and West End thru the Indian cut, slept over at West End in the marina, and waited for a good window for a couple of days. It wasn't the BEST window, but ... it worked. I had to motorsail once I was about 20nm off West Palm Beach. Basically doing most of it singlehanded. Though, he did help out with the crossing in Indian Cut as a spotter.
So, I hope this account works for somebody looking to do similar trip.