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Old 10-14-2013
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Re: U.S.-Bahamas, Crossing the Stream

Yorksailor- That thread was very helpful, seems to me that a shorter hop, from Ft. Lauderdale or whereabouts is the much safer and more well traveled route. However, at this point I think we'll arrive in Charleston, head south through the ICW until we find a weather window we like and make the crossing as soon as we can, be it Hilton Head, Ft. Lauderdale or somewhere between.

I like the go sailing and see what happens attitude, anything that will happen will happen out there (Captain Ron is an integral family movie). I feel with reasonable planning and a well equipped boat it would be fine. From my previous understanding, and from what I'm hearing if weather is bad don't f**K with it, but if weather is good virtually any city would make a good departure. Certainly some departures are easier, and shorter crossings make weather predictions more reliable, but as long as conditions are good I should be as well. I understand Mother Nature will punish the unprepared and the overly confident, but this trip is supposed to be an adventure. I won't back down from a more challenging passage without just cause, but before attempting a more challenging passage I will make sure to prepare diligently. Thanks for the advice, smooth sailing guys.
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Re: U.S.-Bahamas, Crossing the Stream

I'm curious as to what response you were hoping for? It sounds like you have no intention of following the advice of those with more experience.
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Re: U.S.-Bahamas, Crossing the Stream

Quote:
Originally Posted by ambitious/rubbish View Post
TQA- Can you elaborate as to why you say do not leave from more North of Ft. Worth? Is it not possible, or just less enjoyable? I'm not interested in being conservative, just reasonably safe, so I don't want to deviate from my plans without clearly understand why my plans are misguided, if they are. While your advice my be sound I can't simply take your word for it.
Why it is simple the Gulf Stream is relentless. Every second you are in it you are being carried North at 4 knots in the center although it lessens at the edges.

The prevailing wind is E to SE.

So say you leave Charleston and Head for Walker Cay. Your track is a little S of SE. So the wind is more or less on the nose and the current is pretty close to being on the nose too.

What will your VMG [ velocity made good ] be do you think? This is assuming you are motoring into wind and current.

It is 400 miles roughly to Walker Cay. Do you have enough diesel?

My guess will be a minimum of 5 days with 7+ more likely.

Remember with every day you are out there the risk of encountering a fast developing cell which will turn the wind to the North increases. I cruised for 7 years in a bullet proof steel ketch. I got caught out in the stream south of Hatteras by such a cell. It is the ONLY time I had green water on the foredeck more or less all the time and ONLY time I had water building up in the cockpit and the ONLY time I worried about the boat breaking.

So stock up in the Publix at the North end of Lake Worth. WAIT FOR A GOOD WEATHER WINDOW light easterlies or south easterlies or anything from the south or south west. Be VERY CAUTIOUS about leaving in west winds as they are normally followed closely be a northerlies.

Have a pleasant overnight motor sail to Memory Rock
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Last edited by TQA; 10-14-2013 at 02:24 PM.
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Re: U.S.-Bahamas, Crossing the Stream

DRFerron- It is certainly not that I do not value others advice, but I will definitely be making my own decision, and the advice and resources from this thread are only a fraction of the decision making process. I wanted to hear why people do not typically make the crossing where I'm considering. If the reasons were significant, if there were risks or issues that could not be properly managed then I would reconsider my itinerary.

Although I'm planning on the road less traveled, my understanding is that my plans are not unreasonable, just more difficult, and with diligent planning and patience a longer crossing with more significant time in open water sounds possible. My intended route is certainly not the easiest or the safest, but if properly managed it, it sounds relatively safe and not overly difficult.

Basically, I wanted to hear if I was way off-base and missing something, and so far the answer seems to be no, I'm just ambitious and optimistic, but I see no reason not to shoot for a more challenging approach knowing I can always fall back to the suggested routes.
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Re: U.S.-Bahamas, Crossing the Stream

Oh yes one extra thing if you do make it to Walker Cay do not go swimming in the sea. Do not go in up to your waist or even your ankles without being very alert and on the look out for sharks.

Some idiots [ look like divers to me ] have been hand feeding bull sharks from the shore.

Any wonder there are regular shark attacks in the Bahamas. Like this one in August this year. Largo man at Tampa General after shark attack in Bahamas | Tampa Bay Times
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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.
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Re: U.S.-Bahamas, Crossing the Stream

Gotcha, we plan on doing a lot of self-directed dives, but I was worried about scuba in the Bahamas with all the shark feeding they do. Part of why I want to take a road less traveled, dive sites will be more isolated and I'm less likely to find sharks habituated to divers having food.
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Re: U.S.-Bahamas, Crossing the Stream

You might want to ignore the Fort Worth advice as that's in Texas!

Fort Pierce, Fort Lauderdale and Lake Worth are all excellent inlets.
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Re: U.S.-Bahamas, Crossing the Stream

Lake Worth is a good port of entry if returning from Bimini, btw. An easy walk to clear in at Homeland Security near Riviera Beach Marina.

We'll be leaving Brunswick, Ga. in a couple of weeks, and head there to cross to West End. Maybe we'll see you there (to the OP)?

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Re: U.S.-Bahamas, Crossing the Stream

Have you guys seen buoyweather.com I started clicking around today, seems to provide the required weather info exceptionally well.
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