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wallm 01-08-2004 10:00 AM

I owned a small cruiser years ago and in recent years have chartered in the BVI''s, San Juans, Keys, and Bimini. Have done 1 Gulf Stream crossing. All of this has been pretty much sail during the day and anchor at night except for the nighttime gulf stream crossing. We are thinking of stretching our legs a bit to see how a couple of days more or less offshore would feel. Current thought is Ft. Lauderdale to West End or Memory Rock as a night crossing and then across Little Bahama Bank. Hang out in Abacos for 4 or 5 days. The question is about the return. We can come back the same way but weather and wind permitting we are thinking of going around the south end of Great Abaco via Hole In The Wall to Great Stirrup Cay and then back to Lauderdale via NW Providence Channel. Any advice?

catgirl 01-08-2004 02:29 PM

Since you should not be thinking about sailing at night in the Abacos, your 4-5 days there will be filled up just getting to Hole in the Wall. In other words, you are going to pass up all the wonderful things that the Abacos have to offer. With limited time, I would recommend returning via West End and enjoying the northern Abacos as much as possible. Just my opinion.

Bermuda 01-08-2004 08:56 PM

Having made the southern return last spring, leaving White Sound and exiting at Tiloo Cut, we made the passage to Miami in forty six hours via NW Prov. Chan. I stayed in deep water until approaching The Isaacs (sp?)where I jumped on the banks leaving The Isaacs well to starboard and then made it across the stream to Miami.

Having said that, If I were not an experienced bluewater sailor I would not make the southern route if there is any weather or winds forecasted and increasing to more than 18 Kts as the southerly winds along the Abaco coast can create a sloppy wet, brain jarring uncomfortable beat until you turn the corner at Hole-in-the-Wall, and your family will hate you.

I would recommend that you monitor the weather patterns on a daily basis so that you can make an educated route choice. If it is blowing I would definitely take catgirl''s advice and take your trip on the inside up and around the top, exiting to the stream wall just north of West End. It might end up taking an extra day that way but you will be much more comfortable on the inside. I would also recommend that if you opt for the northern exit that you perhaps anchor in Sale Cay and depart in the wee hours of the morning so that you arrive near West End during daylight hours lest you invite a rocky bump.

Have a pleasant trip, Abacos are a sailing visitors paradise. IMHO

Fair winds, calm seas,

Capt. Bruce Gregory

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