Re: U.S.-Bahamas, Crossing the Stream
TQA- That is a more thorough response and as such, much more helpful. I envision waiting for a S wind that matches the current (totally clear why you don't cross in a north wind), being able to cross the stream at a roughly 30-45 degree angle, with winds of a similar angle off the starboard side(very little tacking, hopefully little motoring). Our main diesel tank holds 56 gallons, which lasted 300+ miles in the ICW, and we'll have 25 gallons on deck as reserve, so I'm anticipating being able to motor for 400-450 miles without issue, so should be ok even if we do not use sails (and we will sail as much as possible).
While I'd be in the Stream longer than the perpendicular cross over from Ft. Lauderdale, I think it is possible, but I do see why it would be a more difficult trip. I also expect a 5-7 day trip from SC to Bahamas, but to get to Ft. Lauderdale from Charleston is at least 4-5 days in the ICW, certainly not a time saver, but certainly safer.
Having a good, reliable weather forecast sounds critical, without that my intended crossing is impossible. If I get a favorable 7 day forecast, trusting that the first 3-4 days are accurate (should be clear of stream after a few days, so N wind is less of a concern) then I think I can go for the harder crossing. If I do not get a great weather window I have no intention to force it, and will just ICW further S. If weather takes long enough to clear I will end up in Ft. Lauderdale and be making the safer cross anyway. Thanks for the advice, hopefully I don't seem overly stubborn, I just don't want to sacrifice my ambition unless absolutely necessary.