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Old 14-01-2019, 17:45   #1
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I ran across an article by Dan Street, in the article he talked about heading south to the islands from the East Coast of the Us. one suggestion was to leave Jacksonville Florida head east just before a “Norther” and then head south. My question is what’s a “Norther”, is that a low pressure system moving north or is that a northerly wind?


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Old 14-01-2019, 18:02   #2
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Re: Norther?

A cold front that's heading south and east. Happens often in the winter months. The wind clocks and the prevailing easterlies stop. Wind goes s, w, and n and then back to e. You ride the n south.

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Old 14-01-2019, 19:12   #3
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Next big Norther due in Central Bahamas next Mon, winds can be quite fierce. They seem to be pretty frequent during Winter, a couple a month or so.
I would not cross the Gulf Stream and head to the islands just ahead of a big Norther, winds and waves can be bad, real bad, then when it hits, you want to be in a hole or at least hid behind an island.
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Old 15-01-2019, 05:54   #4
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Re: Norther?

Hi Arias,

This is something that seems to come up frequently on CF.

Maybe I can offer an enhanced image of the "wind-over-tide" situation caused by a Northern front over the Gulf Stream. (Yes, I do realize the Gulf Stream is not tide, it's an ocean current, but I'm trying to conjur an image for the Forum at Large).

Imagine a river the size of the Mississippi, flowing from South to North (almost horizontally) along the US' Eastern Seaboard. Now, add strong winds, blowing from the opposite direction: North to South. In such a scenario, these natural dynamic forces produce an 180-degree opposition, shoving against each other. When this occurs, huge and confused seas build up that can give a severe pounding to any boat (and her crew) no matter how well-founded.

With that consideration, you can see how Dan Street is suggesting to make the jump across the Stream in (almost anything but a North wind) and then once across and the North winds fill in, those Northerlies will push you South.

It's why captains are so hyper-conscious about weather forecasts (and are trained to be that way).

Fair winds for your trip (when you ultimately make it),
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Old 15-01-2019, 06:48   #5
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If you want to head E to the Islands of the Caribe your best bet is wait for Southerlies to ride across the Stream North of the Bahama Banks.. usually last 2 sometimes 3 days before swinging West and North.. enough time to clear the Stream and Bank then ride the Northerlies East.. they generally then go East and South again as you get further out.
Not many choose this route however prefering the rigours of the Thorny Path and the illusion of safety given by the surrounding islands.
MarkJ did Florida to SXM in 10 days if memory serves following this option.

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Old 15-01-2019, 08:02   #6
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Re: Norther?

What Phil said.

The “I-65 Route - 1,100 miles Miami-to-the-Virgins

Rule number one, in the Gulf Stream, is to avoid “Northers”; the cold fronts that come blasting down the Florida peninsula every so often, usually beginning in November and becoming more frequent and more powerful as the season progresses.
A bit further on, these wind shifts will become your ally, but when strong northerly winds blow against the northbound current of the Gulf Stream, big, steep, breaking waves build rapidly, making for a rough passage.
Once across the Gulf Stream, you’re hoping for a Norther. Those same cold fronts that you were avoiding just a couple of days ago, in the Gulf Stream, can now be a real asset.
The prevailing winds here are from the East and Southeast—exactly where you want to go (naturally), but as a Norther approaches, it sets up a veering wind pattern. First, the wind shifts to the South, then Southwest.
Just ahead of the front it may die in the West.
Then the leading edge of the front comes with a cold rush out of the Northwest, usually accompanied by blustery winds, clouds and rainsqualls.
Then, as the sky clears, the wind clocks around to the North and Northeast before settling back into the prevailing Easterly again.
Delivery skippers, setting sail as soon as the wind goes South, use these favorable wind directions to make a few hundred miles of “free easting” into the Atlantic.
Around 70 degrees West, start putting a bit of Southing in your course, so that you cross the 24th parallel around the 67th meridian.
Then head roughly Southeast by a point south toward a waypoint of 22 degrees North and 65 degrees West. This meridian, often called “I-65”, marks the last leg to the Virgin Islands and the best part of the trip. From here you sail due South, soon picking up the Northeast Trades if you haven’t already.
This is why you "head east just before a “Norther” and then head south."
Gord May
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Old 21-01-2019, 17:36   #7
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Re: Norther?

This is all great stuff and you even answered questions I haven’t thought of yet.

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