I did this trip over Memorial Day. We left Port Everglades at around 7:00 PM and took a hard right as soon as we cleared the second red/green to make our southerly leg, trying to stay in 40 feet of water. Its important to stay fairly close to shore....there is usually a south eddy close to shore so take advantage of that. We stayed practially right on top (and even inside of) the mooring balls setup for day stays at John U Lloyd Beach Park.
We continued to make our south bound leg trying to maintain 6 knots....motorsailing in order to make progress. We were planning on going all the way to Government Cut before making our left turn, but there was a significant favorable wind shift so we made our turn at Haulover.
Most people motorsail or motor to cross the Gulfstream...just because no one wants to be caught out in the middle of the nowhere. Our mainsail jammed in the roller furler, so we motored. It was no fun trying to lash the main 1/2 way out in the middle of the ocean...but you adapt!
Some people will try and take a rhumb line straight to Bimini...but this can be dangerous if the Gulfstream is moving. You may find yourselves pointing practically south to make any easterly progress because the stream can be up to 3-4 knots north. I wouldn't recommend that...
The approach we used was to maintain a compass heading (90 degrees) and drop the hammer so to speak and make it as fast across the Gulfstream as possible. You'll find yourself drifting northeast....and you may wonder if you're going to miss the island altogether. This is because the stream takes you north while you try and maintain east but its better to be across the stream asap and then make a lazy south leg near the Bimini banks and do some nice fishing rather than finding yoursel fighting the current to maintain your rhumb line.
If you plot your course across the trip, you'll find yourself making an "S"...with the first south leg....a drift northeast across the Gulfstrean then another south leg as you get close to the island and outside of the Gulfstream.
Last edited by night0wl; 08-12-2010 at 09:27 AM.