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Old 08-03-2019, 06:03   #31
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Re: Crossing Gulf Stream Florida to Bahamas

Look up the crossing of the boat? "Stranded Naked" if you want to be sure that any boat can cross. If he made it every real boat can make it.
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Old 08-03-2019, 06:27   #32
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Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are looking good with winds going from SE on Saturday to S and then W before the next front comes down
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Old 08-03-2019, 09:54   #33
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Re: Crossing Gulf Stream Florida to Bahamas

....there is some mention here of leaving for the B'mas from NE Florida or even points further north.
...Quite a few people do this.
I live in the NE Florida area and have headed straight due east and headed south when I got to the longitude of Green Turtle.
It's about a 3 day trip...AND....you still have to cross the Gulf Stream.
The problem is that by the time the Gulf Stream is off the coast of NE Florida, the west wall is about 70-80 miles offshore and the Gulf Steam is also much wider, so you will be in it longer.
How wide ?. Well, that varies.
Additionally, the Gulf Stream starts to meander, so it's exact location is a hit and miss thing. You can get Gulf Stream updates though.
The winds offshore will likely all be from a SE quadrant, unless you have a big front come thru'. so you will be hard on the wind the whole way, but it's not a bad way to do it, even a relaxing way to do it..

After having done this trip for several years, I have concluded that the easiest and fastest way to get to the B'mas from NE is Florida is to sail down the coast.
There seems to be a " reverse" current along the coast to boost your speed.
In this regards, a Nor-Easter is perfect, as you will have the wind and waves on your quarter and you will be sliding off waves at 10 knots or more.
It's an exhilarating trip and I've made WPB in 1.5 days from NE Florida.
If you time it just right, by the time you get to WPB the NE will have died out and you can hang a left to Memory Rock without skipping a beat.

If for any reason, the doodoo really hits the fan, there are several inlets you can duck into.

Lastly, you can use the ICW. I'm not a big fan of the ICW. It will be a long, slow trip and can take you a week to make it. I did it one time and swore i would never do it again.

Sailing offshore, in my opinion, is the only way to fly. You can relax, put the boat on autopilot, crack open a beer, etc. The weather will be the weather, just take what you get and go. At night, after blowing out of the SE all day, the winds often swing to the west along the coast due the flow of air from the land to the sea and more often than not, by midnight, there will be no wind at all and you can switch the engine on for 6 hours or so.

I've been doing this trip since the early 1980's and running down the coast at night is the way to go.
You can stay fairly close to shore, 3-5 miles, with the exception of Cape Canaveral, which has a large exclusion zone ( check your chart). If you enter this zone by mistake, you will quickly find a Coast Guard boat on your butt. Ask me, I know.
But the reality is that there are extensive offshore shoals around the Cape Canaveral area, so you should be a good distance offshore anyway.
I've also had the US drug squad board me around the Ft. Pierce area at night. They will sneak up on you on their 4 engined go-fast and put the spotlight on you when least expected. They will ask to come aboard and take a look around. Be nice to them :-) They are armed to the gills.
By the time you reach Ft.Pierce, you should only be 1mile offshore max. as the Gulf Stream runs much closer to shore here....from Ft.P to WPB stay close to shore.

Despite the impromptu boardings, sliding the coast, in my humble opinion is the easiest, simplest and most relaxing way to do it.
If you don't want to do it in one whack, the trip from J'ville to Cape Canaveral is an overnighter. Another day trip will get you to Ft.Pierce and the next day will get you to WPB.

Speaking of WPB, there is an anchorage immediately east of Peanut Island, but it's usually crowded and shoal. There is a fuel dock/marina directly across from Peanut Island on the east, but be mindful of the shoals.
On the west side of Peanut Island is the City marina, where you can also gas up or tie up.
The preferred anchorage (for a quick departure to the B'mas) is to the south of Peanut Island, but there is another anchorage to the north of Peanut Island as well.
Be aware that this is heavily used inlet and boat wake will drive you nuts.
You may find several boats anchored there all wanting to head across to the B'mas.
It's not unusual to hook up with other boats and leave as a group for additional security. Just get on the vhf and ask around.
I've often gone across with a half dozen boats. You may even make some friends.

Interestingly, the CG has very tall vhf radio antenna's that can reach out to the B'ma banks, even 50 miles offshore, you can call the CG. They also have " repeaters" up and down the coast and their vhf signal can reach a long way.

Finally, I want to say this. Many people agonize over the weather to the most minute detail and end up never going anywhere. This is the ocean we are talking about and there will be wind and waves. Unless, its really honking out there, just go.
The weather will be the weather. It will be a rare day that the wind and waves will be so bad to keep you in part.
2-4' seas is the norm....get used to it....after a while, you won't even notice it, most sailboats can easily take that, unfortunately the same can't be said for the people sailing them.
Waiting for 6" waves and a gentle breeze is not going to happen.
It's a 60 mile crossing trip, not very long at all and just part of the whole adventure.

See ya on the water !!
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Old 08-03-2019, 12:19   #34
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Re: Crossing Gulf Stream Florida to Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradmax View Post
Check with BarometerBob.org before heading out. He updates crossing conditions daily from several different points going in either direction. I heard a report several days ago that had seas at 8-10 feet with a 5 second duration. That doesn't sound like any fun at all to me. That would be like boating in a giant washing machine.
That's like a bad day on the great lakes.
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Old 09-03-2019, 15:42   #35
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Re: Crossing Gulf Stream Florida to Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by MicHughV View Post
....there is some mention here of leaving for the B'mas from NE Florida or even points further north.
...Quite a few people do this.
I live in the NE Florida area and have headed straight due east and headed south when I got to the longitude of Green Turtle.
It's about a 3 day trip...AND....you still have to cross the Gulf Stream.
The problem is that by the time the Gulf Stream is off the coast of NE Florida, the west wall is about 70-80 miles offshore and the Gulf Steam is also much wider, so you will be in it longer.
How wide ?. Well, that varies.
Additionally, the Gulf Stream starts to meander, so it's exact location is a hit and miss thing. You can get Gulf Stream updates though.
The winds offshore will likely all be from a SE quadrant, unless you have a big front come thru'. so you will be hard on the wind the whole way, but it's not a bad way to do it, even a relaxing way to do it..

After having done this trip for several years, I have concluded that the easiest and fastest way to get to the B'mas from NE is Florida is to sail down the coast.
There seems to be a " reverse" current along the coast to boost your speed.
In this regards, a Nor-Easter is perfect, as you will have the wind and waves on your quarter and you will be sliding off waves at 10 knots or more.
It's an exhilarating trip and I've made WPB in 1.5 days from NE Florida.
If you time it just right, by the time you get to WPB the NE will have died out and you can hang a left to Memory Rock without skipping a beat.

If for any reason, the doodoo really hits the fan, there are several inlets you can duck into.

Lastly, you can use the ICW. I'm not a big fan of the ICW. It will be a long, slow trip and can take you a week to make it. I did it one time and swore i would never do it again.

Sailing offshore, in my opinion, is the only way to fly. You can relax, put the boat on autopilot, crack open a beer, etc. The weather will be the weather, just take what you get and go. At night, after blowing out of the SE all day, the winds often swing to the west along the coast due the flow of air from the land to the sea and more often than not, by midnight, there will be no wind at all and you can switch the engine on for 6 hours or so.

I've been doing this trip since the early 1980's and running down the coast at night is the way to go.
You can stay fairly close to shore, 3-5 miles, with the exception of Cape Canaveral, which has a large exclusion zone ( check your chart). If you enter this zone by mistake, you will quickly find a Coast Guard boat on your butt. Ask me, I know.
But the reality is that there are extensive offshore shoals around the Cape Canaveral area, so you should be a good distance offshore anyway.
I've also had the US drug squad board me around the Ft. Pierce area at night. They will sneak up on you on their 4 engined go-fast and put the spotlight on you when least expected. They will ask to come aboard and take a look around. Be nice to them :-) They are armed to the gills.
By the time you reach Ft.Pierce, you should only be 1mile offshore max. as the Gulf Stream runs much closer to shore here....from Ft.P to WPB stay close to shore.

Despite the impromptu boardings, sliding the coast, in my humble opinion is the easiest, simplest and most relaxing way to do it.
If you don't want to do it in one whack, the trip from J'ville to Cape Canaveral is an overnighter. Another day trip will get you to Ft.Pierce and the next day will get you to WPB.

Speaking of WPB, there is an anchorage immediately east of Peanut Island, but it's usually crowded and shoal. There is a fuel dock/marina directly across from Peanut Island on the east, but be mindful of the shoals.
On the west side of Peanut Island is the City marina, where you can also gas up or tie up.
The preferred anchorage (for a quick departure to the B'mas) is to the south of Peanut Island, but there is another anchorage to the north of Peanut Island as well.
Be aware that this is heavily used inlet and boat wake will drive you nuts.
You may find several boats anchored there all wanting to head across to the B'mas.
It's not unusual to hook up with other boats and leave as a group for additional security. Just get on the vhf and ask around.
I've often gone across with a half dozen boats. You may even make some friends.

Interestingly, the CG has very tall vhf radio antenna's that can reach out to the B'ma banks, even 50 miles offshore, you can call the CG. They also have " repeaters" up and down the coast and their vhf signal can reach a long way.

Finally, I want to say this. Many people agonize over the weather to the most minute detail and end up never going anywhere. This is the ocean we are talking about and there will be wind and waves. Unless, its really honking out there, just go.
The weather will be the weather. It will be a rare day that the wind and waves will be so bad to keep you in part.
2-4' seas is the norm....get used to it....after a while, you won't even notice it, most sailboats can easily take that, unfortunately the same can't be said for the people sailing them.
Waiting for 6" waves and a gentle breeze is not going to happen.
It's a 60 mile crossing trip, not very long at all and just part of the whole adventure.

See ya on the water !!

Thanks for the great advice, MicHugV.
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Old 15-03-2019, 06:40   #36
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Re: Crossing Gulf Stream Florida to Bahamas

Best weather for crossing the Gulf Stream:
As a professional yacht captain who has cruised the Bahamas since 1988, I consult a "prog chart" and look at the isobaric lines. The best time to cross is 1-2 days before a cold front approaches South Florida. Winds will be 5-15 from the southeast clocking to the west with seas less than 3 feet. yachtaide dot com
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Old 15-03-2019, 07:04   #37
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Re: Crossing Gulf Stream Florida to Bahamas

More often than not, it's a question of comfort, not risk. If seaworthy, an ocean cruising sailboat will safely withstand the conditions, but how much fun will be had? The inlet analogy is very appropriate. It's been a lesson for us that there is merit in the old adage that the worst thing you can have aboard a cruising sailboat is a schedule. We too crossed from Biscayne Bay to Bimini in early February with a beautiful weather window. The forecast called for NE winds near 15 knots, with seas 2-3 feet. I was hesitant at first because of the northerly component, but it turned into one of my best sailing days in recent memory. Nothing beats a beam reach in modest seas under clear blue skies and even bluer water.
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Old 15-03-2019, 09:32   #38
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Re: Crossing Gulf Stream Florida to Bahamas

Did cross the stream many times.


1st advice never sail the stream if there is a north wind of any kind
2nd best never trust what the weather forecast is saying. They all lie.
3rd There is 3 weather pattern, the stream having his own, then the FL weather then the Bahamas.

4 th Night crossing is tricky with the big ships. By the time you see there nav light. they are to close for comfort.
5th Getting out of a FL inlet can be rock and roll. Choose a time when those ... power boat don't come in or out. Weekend never a good day
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Old 16-03-2019, 18:41   #39
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Re: Crossing Gulf Stream Florida to Bahamas

I did it in very fresh northerly from Ft. Lauderdale to Bimini. I donít know what all the fuss is about. Broad reach at hull speed or better the whole way. It was a blast. At the time the boat was an Aleutka29.
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Old 23-03-2019, 08:06   #40
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Re: Crossing Gulf Stream Florida to Bahamas

Iíve only done it 5 times. Twice in a 29í World Cat powerboat with twin 250ís and twice in a Lagoon 450 sailing cat. Once delivering a 30í boat from Ft. Lauderdale to Sint Maarten.
The first try from Stuart to Memory Rock, we got hammered. 15 knots from the East. We got hammered. Big square waves, like giant moguls, coming from seemingly every direction. Even trying to plow bow high, Boat got airborne few times. Ended up spinning a prop and limping back to Stuart on one engine. Next day, tried again. This time 13 knots from the east. Constant spray and slamming. On the return trip, 5 knot SE wind. Made it from Elbow Cay to Ponce inlet in 12 hours, 300 nm. It was glassy and a whole different story.
On the lagoon, this Feb, crossed from Key Largo to Bimini. SE wind at 15 knots. Motor sailed the whole way, pinching the wind. Still very rough with confused short stacked 6-8í waves. Not comfortable for the children on board, but we were fine.
On the way back, Berry Islands to Stuart, SE wind 15-20, sailed 24 hours straight. Doing 8-9 knots downwind with the code 0. Sloppy, but very comfortable.
Ft. Lauderdale to St Martin was also very rough. Wanted to conserve fuel, so tacked bavk and forth across the stream and through Providencia Channel. What should have been 2 days took 4. Wet and wild into 20knots SE.
The ocean should always command respect. Donít be a hero. The Gulf Stream should not be underestimated.
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