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post #25 of Old 08-30-2013
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Re: Sailing NE Florida to the Abacos

Originally Posted by malyea View Post
Starting to plan an offshore passage from NE Florida to the Abacos. My preferred route is all offshore avoiding the 'standard sail south to Ft Lauderdale and head east'.

The plan is head east out of St Augustine to cross the stream then head south east to leave Little Bahamas Bank well to starboard keeping in deep water to gain enough southing to then make landfall from east to west in the Abacos.

I've never sailed this route before and would like to hear from anyone who has.

The route you are planning used to be commonly used, back when there were sailing ships and sailing men. If you have a well-found bluewater-capeable boat, and good crew, you should be able to do it. Follow the advice about having the sun at your back and polaroid sunglasses.

A little "inspirational reading" --

"The boat was a fine Maine schooner of 250 tons.
At 4:30 in the afternoon of Monday, September 3, 1877, she was towed [from New York City docks] into the stream and set sail to a fresh west-northwest breeze. It was the season for hurricanes in the West Indies, but that meant nothing to us, and little more to Captain Seavey, who had not experienced one, and had not been in the Florida Straits. "Where ignorance is bliss ---" at any rate we were free of the anxiety we might legitimately have felt, and ready to enjoy the voyage.

It was a comfortable one, and I can still feel the thirsty fibers of my being drinking in the world of sea and sky, long dreamed of, yet new. On Wednesday we sighted a ship, a brig, and several schooners...

Moderate weather yielded to a westerly squall, and then a fine northeast breeze set us well across the Gulf Stream, its indigo rollers flashing in the sun like great beds of sapphire, alive with the silver gleam of flying fish. Monday was calm, with a heavy sea, and the main-sheet block parted company with the boom under the violent slatting of the sail.

There followed a strenuous time, the boom sweeping wildly to and fro, threatening the backstays, while the whole crew tried to pass rope's ends around it as it swung. It was secured at last without damage, and that evening we had a good assortment of yarns about similar experiences.

There were good breezes Tuesday and Wednesday, and Captain Seavey announced Abaco Light due in sight about one o'clock Thursday morning. At 1:15 it appeared -- a remarkably good landfall -- and at 7:00 we passed the Hole in the Wall, and had a good look through it. It is an opening in the narrow, wall-like cliff of stone on the south end of Abaco Island, which has given its name to the whole neighborhood, and in fact to this route into the Gulf of Mexico."

- from "The Commodore's Story", Ralph Munroe & Vince Gilpin

"Climate is what you expect (and hope for);
weather is what you get." --- anonymous

Fair winds, and have fun!
--- Gary

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