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Old 02-02-2017, 16:04   #1
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Bahamas Crossing At Night?

Seems like few cross the Gulf Stream from Florida at night. We seem to do most of our sailing at night and plan our arrivals for the early morning. Why don't more people cross at night?
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Old 02-02-2017, 16:21   #2
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Re: Bahamas Crossing At Night?

I did my first few crossings at night, but eventually it dawned on me that for me it's much easier to sail during the day and sleep at anchor at night, than to pull an all nighter sailing.
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Old 02-02-2017, 16:52   #3
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Re: Bahamas Crossing At Night?

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I did my first few crossings at night, but eventually it dawned on me that for me it's much easier to sail during the day and sleep at anchor at night, than to pull an all nighter sailing.

I had the same epiphany after two night Crossings. I always cross in the daytime now.
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Old 02-02-2017, 17:01   #4
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Re: Bahamas Crossing At Night?

If you make a night crossing you end up sleeping most of the day, wasting time you could be enjoying the islands.
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Old 02-02-2017, 17:24   #5
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Re: Bahamas Crossing At Night?

We've done it both ways, and it sure is nice to sail in the day and sleep at night- even if you have to leave before daylight.
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Old 02-02-2017, 17:33   #6
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Re: Bahamas Crossing At Night?

Me too. What all the other guys said.
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Old 02-02-2017, 19:46   #7
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Re: Bahamas Crossing At Night?

I love sailing at night. Steering by a star, the Bimini folded back, all alone in the cockpit, I'm part of 10's of thousands of years of other sailors doing the same thing.
The journey is my epiphany, not my destination.
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Old 02-02-2017, 19:52   #8
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Re: Bahamas Crossing At Night?

Some folks don't like crossing to the Bahamas at night because of ship traffic which is often easier to see in daylight. Those big boys often are going 30KN+ and they take a long time to turn, even if they see you; which they may not at night.
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Old 02-02-2017, 21:56   #9
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Re: Bahamas Crossing At Night?

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I love sailing at night. Steering by a star, the Bimini folded back, all alone in the cockpit, I'm part of 10's of thousands of years of other sailors doing the same thing.
The journey is my epiphany, not my destination.
Very nicely said. There doesn't seem to be too many romantics on these various forums. Thanks.
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Old 03-02-2017, 04:29   #10
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Re: Bahamas Crossing At Night?

I love sailing at night and often prefer it. To me it is magical to be out on the water with the moon and the stars, bioluminescence, dolphins, etc. Some of my favorite memories sailing are at night. I saw St Elmo's fire at night once which was amazing.

I suppose I am also younger than most of you guys and not quite so over the hill as it were. I could see where being old and tired could make sailing at night less appealing. If your balance isn't as good as it used to be you might not be so comfortable walking around the boat at night. Maybe eyesight isn't so great anymore. Plus you guys probably have a harder time adjusting your sleep schedules.
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Old 03-02-2017, 04:44   #11
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Re: Bahamas Crossing At Night?

We usually cross GS at night, do other passages at night as well, depending on distance. If passage +60nm will normally do at night
-less traffic and shipping easier to see.
-allows more distance in one hop, ie west palm to great sale, bimini to exumas.
-at night land effect larger so seas tend to be calmer.
-arrive at first light so not rushing to make port in failing light
-winter weather windows short, so make max use of it. Otherwise chances are better in getting trapped.
-sailing at night is devine, for some its more about the viyage than the destination.
-if you are a couple you still get about 5 hours sleep.
-lots of people are scared of the dark, so dont sail at night.
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Old 03-02-2017, 05:17   #12
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Re: Bahamas Crossing At Night?

We did our first crossing during the night of December 28/29, 2016. It was fabulous. Most of the reasons were as explained above by SSgtPitt and Bvander, but there's one more.

Everyone said to do a daytime crossing you get up about 3am or 4am to leave Florida. Seriously? That is a "daytime" crossing?

We went and anchored in Boca Raton and at 3pm we pulled anchor and headed out. We watched the sun set, and the waves just died right off. We had a smooth ride all through the night with my son and I taking turns. We watched the sun come up at 7:06am before making the turn in to Port Lucaya, tying up at the customs dock at 7:30am nearly 100 nautical miles from our departure.

The trip was amazing. If I had to change anything, we would have left about 5pm. Around 4am the wind moved around to the south (as expected) and we could have really flown, probably still would have been in around 7:30 or so. As it is we slowed the boat to wait for sun up to enter the Bell Channel.

You can read about our crossing here if you are interested: http://sailquest.ca/index.php/96-cro...he-gulf-stream
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Old 03-02-2017, 05:23   #13
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Re: Bahamas Crossing At Night?

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Some folks don't like crossing to the Bahamas at night because of ship traffic which is often easier to see in daylight. Those big boys often are going 30KN+ and they take a long time to turn, even if they see you; which they may not at night.
That's the other good reason. That's a 50 mile passage where you cross perpendicular to a lot of big ship traffic. I like being fully awake with maximum visibility when I do it.

I did it my first two times, back in the eighties, at night because I was told that that was the way to do it. As my experience level grew, I just decided I didn't agree with that doctrine.

My SOP now is to stage at no name harbor and leave at first light. I get to the banks in plenty of time. That's a much better place to do your night sailing, if that's what you want to do, in my opinion.
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Old 03-02-2017, 05:38   #14
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Re: Bahamas Crossing At Night?

While we do sail overnight when necessary, and in fact enjoy night passages for the views of the heavens as mentioned, a difficulty of a night passage to the Bahamas from southeast Florida is arriving near one's destination in the early morning hours near sunrise. With the sun low and ahead of one, it is very difficult to see through the reflections off the water, even with polarized sunglasses. The ability to "read the water" is critical to safely entering or transiting passes between islands/cays such as the pass between Gun Cay and Cat Cay, which requires a sharp north to south to north to east "S" turn following the "blue" water around to the east side of the Cays.

FWIW...
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Old 03-02-2017, 07:03   #15
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Re: Bahamas Crossing At Night?

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With the sun low and ahead of one, it is very difficult to see through the reflections off the water, even with polarized sunglasses. The ability to "read the water" is critical to safely entering or transiting passes between islands/cays such as the pass between Gun Cay and Cat Cay, which requires a sharp north to south to north to east "S" turn following the "blue" water around to the east side of the Cays.

Needing beauty sleep and being afraid of sailing at night because of big ships I expected since I think for people who don't like to sail at night these are some of the reasons that head up the list of why not.

This bit about having a hard time reading the water with the rising sun low in the east in the morning though, very interesting.Thanks!
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