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Old 26-08-2003, 19:42   #1
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Crossing gulf stream

Not sure i know what iam doing or if iam in the right place!
We are planning are first cruis from TX to the Bahamas. Wanted to know if its hard crossing the golf stream? Or if one time of year is better then another? If it matters from what port you sail from in FL ? If you have any info that might help new sailers It would tickle me pink


Thank you for your help
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Old 27-08-2003, 02:13   #2
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Old 27-08-2003, 07:41   #3
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Well, lemme see.
I have crossed the Gulfstream 30 times in the last 4 years.
Yes, it can be hard or it can be easy....

Many a times ya wanne sit and wait for the weather to improve.
If it is blowing more than 15 from the North or the NorthEast, you don't want to cross.
Since the stream runs South to North, any North wind component wil go against the current and kick up a rather lumpy chop.

20 from the East or SouthEast is another homemade limit from crossing to the East.
Ya rarely have Westerly winds, only for a few hours after a front have just passed.

In the winter ya have strong NorthEast winds, in the summer SouthEast....As a general rule...
Whenever I need to sail to the South, then the wind is from the South..When I need to sail to the East, the wind is from the East., so there is exceptions to the rule..

A good place to wait for weather is No-Name Harbour in Key Biscayne, it is nicely protected in the winter, but too many bugs there in the summer.

So to sum it up, yes, the stream can be lumpy at times, check the weather and start early in the morning when the winds are still light....

Good luck.
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Old 27-08-2003, 08:11   #4
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As CSY man said, the time of year you cross the stream has a big impact on what the conditions will be when you go.I've only crossed in the Springtime aboard my 26 footer. Another factor to take into consideration is the sailing angle you will be crossing at. To come up with a good angle,you need to run a navigational vector from your starting point to calculate in the drift of the stream current in regards to how it's going to push you Northwards. When I tried to cross the first time, I had planned to leave from Ft.Lauderdale and sail to West End,Grand Bahama. Unfortunately,I ran into some bad weather and decided to turn back after I was half way there. I then headed South through the Keys and got as far as Key Largo. The weather window opened up,but I was running out of vacation time. I sailed from there to N.Bimini.The point I'm trying to make here is that your course line crossing over should look something like an "S." You head a little South of your heading and as you cross you count on the current pushing you North.You then head back a little South as you get closer to your destination. The Gulfstream runs around 1/2 to 1 knot close to the shore,and around 3-4 knots in the middle. I trolled a line behind the boat both ways over, and caught some nice size Barracudas,and a big dolphin fish. I let the Barracudas go ( I have a rule never to eat anything that can eat me!), but I grilled the Dolphin fish for my supper on the return trip. It was great! Be sure to try your luck at it if you like to fish
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Old 16-06-2008, 08:11   #5
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Crossing to Westend Bahamas June 28

I"m planning to cross to Westend from Boca Raton on June 28 at early hours in the morning if weather is fine, I would like to find another boat going on that day to make the crossing together with us. If you know anybody plaese have them contact me @ 954-683-8616 or e-mail me at
Luis H.
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Old 26-06-2008, 17:19   #6
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to avoid starting another thread on the subject, we were thinking of leaving Savannah in December to spend christmas and perhaps New Year in the Bahamas. I would assume(erk) that a coast hugging run down to say Biscayne Bay and then across, would be the best option. However, I have no knowledge of the winds at that time of year.
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Old 26-06-2008, 18:06   #7
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I always cross over from at least Ft. Lauderdale. Usually I either go from Key Biscayne, or Rodrigues Key.
I also leave at around midnight or shortly after, to be sure I arive in daylight, even if I have light winds. Just hate to motor. After all it is a sailboat.
As mentioned by others North winds=no go.
Leaving from north of Ft. Lauderdale, can get you set further north than you want.
Enjoy and be sure to feel the water temp in the stream, and note your course steered, compared to your actual progress over the bottom!
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Old 26-06-2008, 18:31   #8
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For the last 10 years we've crossed from Miami. Sometimes from Government Cut sometimes from the bottom of Biscayne Bay. We normally cross between Christmas and New Years. Just wait for a window, sometimes a small one of maybe 8 hours, just enough to get across. Generally you have to wait for the wind to go south or at least SE. It usually coincides with a front and the wind starts clocking. For the past five years we've gone right to Nassau to clear in, about 30 hours. We don't care what time of the day or night we leave, just as soon as conditions permit. We get on the Great Bahama Bank at North Rock, just north of Bimini. A very easy entry onto the Bank, day or night. Deep and wide. Unlike most lights in the Bahamas, North Rock is usually lit.
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
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