I HAVE sailed to Bimini out of the Lake Worth inlet, and would never do it that way again! We left at about sundown, hugged the east coast
south, (REALLY close, inside the Gulf Stream), and when we got to just past the Fort Lauderdale
inlet, turned east, to cross from there.
First, crossing the Lauderdale inlet at night is really scary! The ships were lined up one after the other, so we HAD to time it right, and pass in front of one. With the lights on shore as a background, determining the ships exact possition becomes more difficult. But, this was not the primary reason...
To go straight East from Lauderdale requires that you crab your boat
, (pointing SE, but tracking
E) severely, to counter the Gulf Stream. This can make your VMG toward your destination
really slow, and double the time spent in the stream. If you went straight E from the lake Worth inlet, this effect would be much worse! Unless you have a big powerboat, DON"T DO IT!
All of my previous departures have been from Byscane Bay, and it is so much easier from there. Next time, if I wanted to head
out of the lake Worth Inlet, (in order to avoid what is bar none the worst part of the ICW... Lake Worth to Miami), This is what I'd do...
out of Lake Worth Inlet early in the morning, and hug the coast south, very close to avoid the stream, as far as Byscane Bay. Leave Lake Worth before first light if necessary, to get in Byscane Channel in daylight. Then drop the hook and get some rest.
The next morning, or your chosen morning if the next one doesn't look good, head out of the Channel and point east. The boat will track N East, toward your destination
, without the crabbing into the stream. This is actually faster AND a more gentle motion. Be sure to leave early enough, or motorsail, to assure a daylit landfall! Or do it at night...
I HAVE crossed in a stable NW or N wind, and as long as it wasn't over 15 knots, and clocking, we had no problem at all. If it is a clocking front, about to go to the NE, OR to increase in wind spead, I'd wait! Otherwise, a gentle North wind is fine! For some that I know, they prefer almost NO wind, and to motor
across! Mororsailing across in 8 to 10 knots of steady N wind is a piece of cake.
I HAVE had my ass whipped before, by a 30+ knot
N wind the Gulf Stream, (when I was young & foolish)... And all warnings about how bad it can get are to be heeded! Having said that, however, to say that ANY N component to the wind, even a very light & steady one from the NW, is an exageration of the risk... IMO.