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Old 27-03-2024, 11:48   #1
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Ft Pierce Inlet - Miami on the outside. Gulf Stream question.

Question for the group here…

We’re delivering a Caliber 33 and are planning to transition from the ICW to the outside for the rest of the route to Miami tomorrow mid day around high tide. At this point we should have winds out of the west for awhile but the wind has been variable with some poor weather developing to the north and winds shifting to a northern wind later Thursday and into Friday. There’s been much discussion on avoiding the Gulf Stream when there’s a northern wind. The question we have at this point is how quickly seas build when winds shift to coming from the north and since we’re not actually crossing but ideally staying relatively close to shore (1-2 miles) how much we’d be impacted if there were adverse conditions.

Much appreciation for any insight.
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Old 27-03-2024, 13:14   #2
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Re: Ft Pierce Inlet - Miami on the outside. Gulf Stream question.

Keep one foot on the beach and you shouldn't have problems. In some places 2 miles offshore is too far.
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Old 27-03-2024, 13:24   #3
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Re: Ft Pierce Inlet - Miami on the outside. Gulf Stream question.

I would avoid going into the gulf stream at all on that route. After exiting the Ft. Pierce inlet set a course that intercepts the 20ft contour about 5 miles north of Jupiter inlet and then stay between 20 and 25 ft all the way to Miami. This pretty much keeps you inside of the gulf stream effects all the way down. Crossing Palm Beach Inlet you'll end up a bit deeper as the water on the south side of the inlet is deeper than the north, but you should aim to be back on the 20ft line by the time you get to the big hotel on the beach. You might even get a bit of a counter current this close to shore. I've done this route on a NE wind of about 15knots and had a nice ride in about a 3ft sea off the quarter. Then again I'm a Cat and I've seen Monohulls have a less enjoyable time with quartering seas.
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Old 27-03-2024, 13:29   #4
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Re: Ft Pierce Inlet - Miami on the outside. Gulf Stream question.

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I would avoid going into the gulf stream at all on that route. After exiting the Ft. Pierce inlet set a course that intercepts the 20ft contour about 5 miles north of Jupiter inlet and then stay between 20 and 25 ft all the way to Miami. This pretty much keeps you inside of the gulf stream effects all the way down. Crossing Palm Beach Inlet you'll end up a bit deeper as the water on the south side of the inlet is deeper than the north, but you should aim to be back on the 20ft line by the time you get to the big hotel on the beach. You might even get a bit of a counter current this close to shore. I've done this route on a NE wind of about 15knots and had a nice ride in about a 3ft sea off the quarter. Then again I'm a Cat and I've seen Monohulls have a less enjoyable time with quartering seas.
Pretty much what he says. I use 50 feet, but whichever. Do not sweat the north wind on this trip.
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Old 27-03-2024, 14:17   #5
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Re: Ft Pierce Inlet - Miami on the outside. Gulf Stream question.

In that area you should be fine just sticking to the coast.
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Old 27-03-2024, 14:37   #6
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Re: Ft Pierce Inlet - Miami on the outside. Gulf Stream question.

Channel 16 has been broadcasting NWS forecast of 5-7 foot waves, bigger in the Gulf Stream for tomorrow.
I'm in Miami heading north, inclined to sit still here and let everything settle down a bit.
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Old 28-03-2024, 03:24   #7
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Re: Ft Pierce Inlet - Miami on the outside. Gulf Stream question.

Today's forecast is for 20kts NW. You certainly could stay in the ICW and have a nice sail with flat water, until you get to the multitude of bridges as you near West Palm. You can plenty of heacway south on the ICW if those seas are too uncomfortable offshore; you can run the ICW at night if you are trying to make good time.

Friday looks better offshore. You could make an inside run to WPB, anchor and jump out there. Safe travels.
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Old 28-03-2024, 03:58   #8
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Re: Ft Pierce Inlet - Miami on the outside. Gulf Stream question.

I've run this route countless times. It takes a while for the seas to lay down after a prolonged north-easterly wind.
"Sticking close" to the coast implies just that. "close" being the key word.

Standing on the beach, looking east. one can always tell the condition of the waves in the GS. If you can see the waves jumping up and down, and there is no mistaking this, it will be rough. Not unmanageable, but certainly rough.
A NW wind, however, will likely provide relatively smooth sailing close to shore, as you will be in the " wind shadow" caused by land. The lane of relative smooth water can be 1 mile wide or so.
It's only when the wind shifts to the NE, that wave conditions close to shore get big.

That's a tough area to transverse by ICW and would not be my preference.
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Old 28-03-2024, 05:22   #9
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Re: Ft Pierce Inlet - Miami on the outside. Gulf Stream question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brazenarticle View Post
Channel 16 has been broadcasting NWS forecast of 5-7 foot waves, bigger in the Gulf Stream for tomorrow.
I'm in Miami heading north, inclined to sit still here and let everything settle down a bit.
If you are on a 28' Catalina, take the ditch (ICW)! There area a few lakes in Broward County you can spend the night while taking a slow ride up.

Please note, winds are out of the south- so this is as calm as it gets. 5-7 in the GS means 5-7 10-20 miles off shore. Check the near coastal report for a more accurate forecast. Any doubts? Go out Government Cut and have Everglades (FLL) as a bailout point.
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Old 28-03-2024, 05:36   #10
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Re: Ft Pierce Inlet - Miami on the outside. Gulf Stream question.

Many thanks for all of the replies gentlemen. Much appreciation for sharing your experience. Currently leaning toward ICW but going to hold off on final decision till a bit later. Will report back with the results.
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Old 28-03-2024, 05:56   #11
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Re: Ft Pierce Inlet - Miami on the outside. Gulf Stream question.

Keep in mind too that once the wind becomes northeast those inlets can become nasty when the current is going out--steep, short seas with breakers! Even the big ones like Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami can become nasty. As long as the wind is northwest, off the beach, it can be a beautiful sail just hugging the coastline. But, the forecast is calling for the west to northwest winds to go north then northeast by tomorrow morning, so will be pretty rough along the coast.
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Old 28-03-2024, 06:48   #12
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Re: Ft Pierce Inlet - Miami on the outside. Gulf Stream question.

Above is true....inlets can be especially rough with a NE'ly blowing against an outgoing tide.
Inlet becomes a veritable washing machine and your boat becomes a submarine.

99.99% of the time I've had bad experiences along this stretch of coastline was because I was on "a schedule" and had to be someplace for one reason or another.

This is hard to manage for most people that have only a limited time to go or be somewhere.

That section of coastline is also difficult to manage going via the ICW. To key to success here is to plan ahead taking into account the many bridges, water traffic, etc.
Better to take several short jumps rather than one long jump.

At the end of the day however, only you can make a decision that best fits your needs regardless of advice given here.
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Old 01-04-2024, 06:00   #13
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Re: Ft Pierce Inlet - Miami on the outside. Gulf Stream question.

Circling back around on this one...

We ended up waiting a day and taking the outside route. Light winds out of the SE and motor sailed all the way.. Sea state wasn't bad.. stayed between 20-50ft.

Thanks again for the feedback last week.
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