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Old 01-10-2020, 04:36   #1
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Passage south from Chesapeake. How late can you leave?

Assuming patience and waiting for a reasonable window, how reasonable is it to leave January/February from the Chesapeake to head to the Bahamas? Circumstances have thrown a wrench in earlier departure plans. Who has done this?
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Old 01-10-2020, 05:25   #2
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Re: Passage south from Chesapeake. How late can you leave?

In both of the past two years there have been excellent weather opportunities in February. A cold front blows through which could be used to depart the Chesapeake and cross the Gulf Stream. Following that cold front is typically a period of nice weather. This past February the wind after a couple of these fronts was very light, and some motoring would have been required to get south into the easterlies. The temperature will be cool, but warms once in and across the Gulf Stream.

January has been a little more blustery with shorter spans of nice weather.

I have been watching this weather pattern, but have not sailed it. We are hoping to make the run in February next year.

I am certainly interested in comments from people who have made the trip.
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Old 01-10-2020, 05:45   #3
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Re: Passage south from Chesapeake. How late can you leave?

That time of year there are a few nice days between the fronts that come across the southern US, but the interval is shorter than it is later in the Spring. That suggests the option of heading south from North Carolina near shore to the Georgia Bight, staying on the west side of the Gulf stream, and then making a shorter crossing when a window arrives. Your choice.
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Old 01-10-2020, 06:54   #4
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Re: Passage south from Chesapeake. How late can you leave?

How will you be able to get your Covid test within five days of Bahamas entry if you leave the Chesapeake and sail there offshore? It still takes a at least a couple of days to get your results back which does not leave much time to get there.
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Old 01-10-2020, 07:07   #5
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Re: Passage south from Chesapeake. How late can you leave?

I’m warm blooded. I wouldn’t want to be sailing open North Atlantic in January or February.

If you can go around November 1 you can join the Salty Dawgs departing Hampton, Va. They can offer assistance with the Covid testing regarding the Bahamas. Departure can be highly flexible So contact them.

https://www.saltydawgsailing.org/
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Old 01-10-2020, 07:44   #6
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Passage south from Chesapeake. How late can you leave?

First I do not have experience going around Hatteras in the winter. Nor would I be eager to do so.

With a 46’ cat, I am assuming going inside is not possible. If you wait long enough you can likely catch a window to get around Hatteras. From there you can pull into various quality harbors to catch weather windows to hop down to Ft Pierce and cross.

A better plan may be to move the boat to Beaufort, NC or Charleston. Then pick her up when you are ready to go. I have brought boats from SC to FLA in the winter. It is cold, but doable if you watch the fronts.
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Old 01-10-2020, 08:38   #7
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Re: Passage south from Chesapeake. How late can you leave?

Snore has it right, the latest I have come south around Hatteras is November and it was doable but I waited 7 days for a weather window. The further south you work near shore the easier the passage across the Gulf Stream. Miami to Bimini in January can be very pleasant!
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Old 01-10-2020, 08:49   #8
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Re: Passage south from Chesapeake. How late can you leave?

Best to work weather windows down the coast to Florida and then make the short crossing.
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Old 01-10-2020, 09:08   #9
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Re: Passage south from Chesapeake. How late can you leave?

Pay attention to the ever changing Bahamian entry requirements. They aren’t fooling around!
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Old 01-10-2020, 11:28   #10
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Re: Passage south from Chesapeake. How late can you leave?

Yes, we know that is an issue. If that is still the requirement, we will divert to Fl first. But has quickly as things are changing, who knows what the situation will be.
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Old 01-10-2020, 11:29   #11
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Re: Passage south from Chesapeake. How late can you leave?

that was the original plan but now not possible.
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Old 01-10-2020, 12:20   #12
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Re: Passage south from Chesapeake. How late can you leave?

Gotta go around Hatteras to get those points south. Can't go ICW. If I skip down the coast, it would be short handed w/my wife and myself. If I go straight down, it would be with a crew of 4-6. The crew has latitude as to when to leave, so I can wait for a window, but once they leave would need to be back in a reasonable amount of time.
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Old 01-10-2020, 16:39   #13
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Re: Passage south from Chesapeake. How late can you leave?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracyandkimo View Post
Gotta go around Hatteras to get those points south. Can't go ICW. If I skip down the coast, it would be short handed w/my wife and myself. If I go straight down, it would be with a crew of 4-6. The crew has latitude as to when to leave, so I can wait for a window, but once they leave would need to be back in a reasonable amount of time.


The hop around Hatteras is not without risk. I would suggest that, if necessary, you Shanghai crew! Better to spend a few hundred and be safe.
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Old 05-10-2020, 08:53   #14
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Re: Passage south from Chesapeake. How late can you leave?

I disagree with some of the posts that say going around Hatteras is always risky. With today's wx sources, and patience, you can pick a window pretty easily. Basically a one overnight trip to get around and into one of several good anchorages/ports. Lookout Bight, Beaufort/Morehead City and Wrightsville are all doable in 24-36 hours, expecially if leaving from Rudee Inlet (Virginia Beach) which has a good protected anchorage.


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Old 06-10-2020, 07:11   #15
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Re: Passage south from Chesapeake. How late can you leave?

I have been around Hatteras a dozen or so times, and all but two had conditions within 10 knots of the forecast. However, I have never done it in winter storm season. The weather windows get shorter and and the gales more frequent.

I remember sitting in Beaufort when a new 85 ft steel commercial fishing boat left for New York in Feburary. They issued a mayday at the Cape when they lost steering, but fortunately the Coast Guard was able to tow them into port. It was seriously rough in a Noreaster against the Gulfstream.
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