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-   -   Abacos to FL (https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f19/abacos-to-fl-30855.html)

loo65 17-09-2009 05:23

Abacos to FL
 
I just purchased a sailboat in the Abacos and now want to zip over to Fla to pick up a lot of personal items and gear. What is the shortest route to take this time of year? What inlet should I use? I plan to keep a close watch on the weather.

JusDreaming 17-09-2009 05:30

where are you going in florida, but I would head for Stuart or Lake Worth. It is 55 miles fro West End to Lake Worth, and 65 to Stuart, but going to Stuart you get a little more help from the Gulf Stream

Vasco 17-09-2009 05:37

Great Sale Cay, Mantanilla Shoal, Port Canaveral or Great Sale Cay, Memory Rock and Lake Worth. I prefer Port Canaveral as you get a lift from the stream whereas if you try for Lake Worth you're fighting the stream.

osirissail 17-09-2009 06:27

- - Strictly a weather window situation as to whether Lake Worth or Port Canaveral is chosen. With a two day window I would suggest Lake Worth; with a 3-5 day weather window I would go for Port Canaveral. Even though it is at most an overnighter, the weather "guessers" are notorious for guessing wrong. So with a progressively longer favorable forecast you have higher odds of actually having good weather.
- - You can anchor in Lake Worth - you cannot anchor in Port Canaveral, you must take a marina (Cruiser Ship security regulations). Even if you pass through the Locks into the Banana River and anchor there isn't any dinghy landing areas. You have to go all the way to the Indian River and turn south to Cocoa Village or north to Titusville which means having to have a local car to get back to the Port to check-in.
- - It would be worth it to take a marina for a night then you can walk to the C/I check in, wash the boat and yourself, and relax before heading further inland. For longer stays I like to anchor off Cocoa Village on the south side of the bridge. Great little community and there were "cruiser friendly" several years ago.
- - Lake Worth Inlet gives you a great free anchorage to the south and a smaller anchorage way up north at the actual "Lake Worth."

JusDreaming 17-09-2009 06:35

Quote:

Originally Posted by JusDreaming (Post 333353)
where are you going in florida, but I would head for Stuart or Lake Worth. It is 55 miles fro West End to Lake Worth, and 65 to Stuart, but going to Stuart you get a little more help from the Gulf Stream

Also if you come into Stuart you can anchor in Manatee Pocket, with dingy dock, or go to SUnset Bay Marina, old southpoint anchorage, and grab a mooring ball. Very safe and good facilities.

Vasco 17-09-2009 06:54

Quote:

Originally Posted by osirissail (Post 333393)
-
- - You can anchor in Lake Worth - you cannot anchor in Port Canaveral, you must take a marina (Cruiser Ship security regulations). Even if you pass through the Locks into the Banana River and anchor there isn't any dinghy landing areas. You have to go all the way to the Indian River and turn south to Cocoa Village or north to Titusville which means having to have a local car to get back to the Port to check-in.
- -

You are right that you can't anchor in Port Canaveral but we have anchored in the Banana River just west and north of the lock. You then dink through the lock and tie up at the yacht club. The marina will charge for tying up the dink or you can tie up the big boat at the marina to clear and again they will charge you. The ladder at the south end of the yacht club is fine for tying up. It is at the end of the yacht club drive and I asked them for permission, no problem. Also the customs, homeland security etc. folks at Port Canaveral operate a bit differently, they claim you don't have to make that call to the 800 number. Just walk in and they will clear you, under $20 if you don't have a decal. Make sure you have the right change.

Denny,

Never been in Stuart, where do you clear in there?

Scott730 17-09-2009 06:59

I agree, I would shoot for Port Canaveral, it is a class A inlet and very easy to access at night. If you come in at night you can most likely tie up to the fuel dock on most marinas and settle up in the morning. There is a lock and 2 low bridges to navigate to get into the Indian river. I absolutely would anchor or grab a slip at Cocoa Village. I really like the Village and it is very cruiser friendly.
The next best is Fort Pierce, a very good inlet to use.

Scott730 17-09-2009 07:03

Also, I have used the "Local Boaters Option" for the last 2 years to enter Florida, and have never had to check-in in person. Just call the 800 number when you hit your first anchorage or port and clear. No Problem, Mon.

osirissail 17-09-2009 07:36

I forgot about Fort Pierce, it is my favorite place to target for a Abacos Crossing. From the White Sand Ridge ("Mantanilla Shoal
WPT" on the Explorer Charts) exiting the Bahamas I do a "minimum time" crossing (take a heading perpendicular to the axis of the Gulf Stream and accept the northward drift). Just so happens that puts you within a mile or two of Fort Pierce Inlet. It is a great very straight and clear inlet especially for a nighttime arrival. There is a little anchorage area just about halfway down the channel next to the USCG station where you can "pull over to the side" and drop the hook for the night. Then next morning press on whichever way you want to go.

Scott730 17-09-2009 07:58

And the Fort Pierce municipal marina is very nice as well.

Vasco 17-09-2009 08:33

Problem with Ft. Pierce if you do not have the local boaters option (not available to non US citizens) you have to take a cab to the airport to clear in. Also in the past the guy at the airport has been a PITA although I've heard he has been replaced. If you have friends in Vero (the last resting place for ex-Bahamas cruisers) you can shoot up there and get someone to take you to the airport

JusDreaming 18-09-2009 05:35

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vasco (Post 333459)
the guy at the airport has been a PITA although I've heard he has been replaced. If you have friends in Vero (the last resting place for ex-Bahamas cruisers) you can shoot up there and get someone to take you to the airport

Ditto on the guy being a PITA. Glad to hear he has been replaced :thumb:

loo65 20-09-2009 05:49

Thanks to all. For one reason or another I have decided upon West Palm Beach. My charts are in the Abacos and I am in sunny Michigan; so, can any one inform me of the route I would probably want to take from Man o War to WPB next month?

Hud3 20-09-2009 05:56

Here's a handy-dandy NOAA chartviewer. Very good for planning a route when your charts are somewhere else.

NOAA's On-Line Chart Viewer

osirissail 20-09-2009 07:16

The is not much choice from Man O-War Cay you head north and west using the Explorer Charts routes to Great Sale Cay. The I normally track south along the west side of Great Sale Cay to the little bay on the south end named for some strange reason - Northwest Harbor. There I wait for the weather window for the crossing.
- - I plan the crossing so that it is daylight for the "over the banks" first part of the crossing. That is because there are constantly shifting sand bars/banks on the western half of the "Little Bahamas Banks" and I want to be able to see them. This is strictly "visual navigation" with only the GPS to point to where you want to end up for the exit off the Banks.
- - Depending upon your boat's draft and your courage, you can pick an exit Wpt from north to south: Mantanilla Shoals; Little Bahamas Bank; Memory Rock; or Barracuda Shoal. The more south your exit point the better able you are get to Lake Worth inlet. Best plan on a northward drift of 20 to 40 nm due to the Gulf Stream. Unless you are a power boat and can do significant multiples of the normal 5-6 knots of a sailboat, picking Lake Worth and trying to head straight for it is not a suggested tactic. That is why the best suggestions were for St Lucie or Fort Pierce.
- - In any case I would suggest as I did before to do a "minimum time" crossing where from your exit point you head south west until the effects of the Gulf Stream show up on your GPS then turn to about 280 degrees magnetic and accept any northward drift until you get to the other side. Then turn south and run the coastline, a half mile to one mile off the beach to Lake Worth Inlet. There is sometimes a southward counter-current close to the beach which will help you. Lake Worth Inlet is "all-weather" day/night inlet so that will not be a problem is you arrive in the dark. I would suggest either hugging the west side of the barrier island (keep making port turns) and follow the "red" markers south. Red "2" can be passed on either side of your boat, but Red "4" and "6" need to be taken on you starboard side southbound. Just past Red "6" is a major open area to anchor in for free. The shore lights will make entering at night a bit of a challenge until you get adjusted, then they will help illuminate your way. The next morning you can move to where ever you prefer or stay where you are.


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