Here we go again on this forum of bluewater vs coastal cruising.
Going to the Bahamas from Florida or anywhere from the East Coast of US is done by mostly what most here consider coastal cruising boats. Having just spent this spring in the Bahamas on my Hunter, my boat was the majority not the minority of boats there.
Lets talked about the Gulf Stream (dirty patch of water). 99% of the sailboats either bulewater or coastal never cross when it rears it's ugly head with anything over 5' seas. This happens when the wind blows out of any northing or when the wind gets over 15 knots constantly. Going east from the east coast is a beating, with the wind predominately out of the east on a good day and a motorsail at that. 3-4 days a month the wind swings around the south to west during a frontal passage if one is lucky enough to have the time to wait for the weather gods for a sail across. I have done the crossing on my Hunter in both big seas and becalm weather. While the beating I got in 5' plus seas was unpleasant, the boat did better than me. She handled it well.
The biggest factor when cruising south Florida and the Bahamas is water depth or the lack there-of. Anything over 6' draft on a sailboat will limit on where you can go or have to wait for high tide to get into and out anchorages. Depending on the tide cycle this can limit your day. The average tide in the Bahamas is around 2.5-3 feet. So one must always pay attention if your draft limits you.
Catalina 445, Hull #90
Last edited by Melrna; 06-07-2011 at 10:17 AM.