Originally Posted by billknny
Well... the answer is IT DEPENDS!!!
There is no answer that is always right. We do this trip every year (usually leaving with the first weather window after November 1). Anybody who insists that one way or the other is the only way is wrong half the time.
Sometimes routing makes sense to sail down the coast--west of the GS all the way, other times it is better to get east of the Gulf Stream ASAP.
The most common "best" route runs between those extremes: close to due south out of the Chesapeake, once east of the GS, stay there until the northwest corner of the Bahamas
, then duck in close to shore for the last bit to Port Everglades.
If it's a mystery to the delivery skipper
on how to make the choice, it might be worth investing in hiring a weather router to help pick the window and best course.
That's pretty much my experience.
The best Gulf Stream velocity and location information comes from DEOS at Technische Hogeschule Delft. Their website has been done for a while. You can use this instead: https://marine.rutgers.edu/cool/sat_...ast¬humbs=0
- it isn't as good but it's something. Your best tool is setting the depth sounder
to show sea water
temperature. Hotter is faster.
If you're going West of the Gulf Stream I'd run along the beach toward Cape Hatteras (I think thats about 165T) and watch sea water
temp to minimize foul current
. There is a counter current but it's weak. Chasing it around the ocean is not productive. The DEOS data shows the location pretty well. Once you get down to about Jacksonville
the best you can do is stay as far west as you safely can.
Absent good counter-current I run the two-bar line (tm) except where the coast swings way west.
For the offshore
route I run 135T from the Chesapeake sea buoy until water temp shows I'm across the Gulf Stream and then head
South. Keep an eye on water temp for eddies. Generally cross the back over the Gulf Stream at about Fort Pierce. Depending on weather you may end up further East and South and cross through the Providence channels to Ft Lauderdale.
On a 50' catamaran
expect eight or nine days.
On a boat
that big why not crew up? Weather is everything on this trip and you'll want good updates on board underway. If you don't have weather fax I'd stay west and get in cell range at least once a day. However all things being equal I'd go east to be warmer. You risk getting stuck on the wrong side of the Gulf Stream by weather.