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  #1  
Old 12-23-2009
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gulf stream advice

So we've been stuck in Ft. Lauderdale for 10 days waiting to cross the gulf stream to the west end. A rather short potential window has opened up for Friday, but it doesn't look particularly good to me. However, having never done the crossing, I don't want to blow the chance to get across. Here's the forecast:
Wed., Thurs. and Thurs. night: east winds approx 20kts with higher gusts- seas 6 feet
Friday: southeast winds 13-20 with 4-5 foot seas
Friday night: South 9-13 becoming west- seas 3 feet
Saturday-Sunday: back to 15kt north winds.

I'm in a 36 foot sailboat cruising at about 5-6 kts under power (but perhaps faster with a nice SE wind). Everything I read says potentially double the wave heights in the gulf stream, which if correct would be too much for us. Also, the strong east winds are building an east swell essentially on our nose that isn't likely to dissipate with the SE winds Friday.

The forecast certainly doesn't look ideal and my gut says it's probably not the right time. I'm just wondering how miserable it would be and if I am overreacting to the forecast. Any thoughts?
Thanks
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Old 12-23-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blowfish View Post
......Friday: southeast winds 13-20 with 4-5 foot seas
Friday night: South 9-13 becoming west- seas 3 feet
Saturday-Sunday: back to 15kt north winds.......everything I read says potentially double the wave heights in the gulf stream, which if correct would be too much for us. Also, the strong east winds are building an east swell essentially on our nose that isn't likely to dissipate with the SE winds Friday............ Any thoughts?
Thanks
We've left Lauderdale at 6am and arrived at West End by 3pm with conditions similar to Friday's. Any "doubling" of the expected Gulf Stream waves will only come into play with a northerly wind component. The East swell will likely have a long period and not be of any real consequence. Remember, your rumb line from Ft. Lauderdale will be north of due east so it sounds like a good ride friday. My landfall at 3pm was with a cruising speed of 6.5kts, but boosted by the stream. I think you'd do best with an early start friday and expect improving conditions through the day. Always check for weather updates and watch that crowded traffic in the inlet early on a weekend morning! 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 12-23-2009
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If you haven't already, post this question on AS, as there are some folks there who have a lot of experience with this crossing.
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Old 12-24-2009
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Blowfish,
Have crossed from Lauderdale to West End a number of times and Friday sounds pretty much ideal. When we had similar wind conditions we had between a beam and a broad reach the whole way. The Stream is a little bouncy but that's the Stream, you shouldn't have anything really uncomfortable.
What you really want to avoid is a strong northerly wind where the wind fights the Stream and you get some very big confused seas and very uncomfortable conditions. So make sure the wind doesn't back to the north earlier than expected. But if Friday's forecast holds you should have a great sail.
BTW Happy holidays to you and yours
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Old 12-24-2009
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The other consideration is once you get to West End you will be in a Marina and from a quick look at the weather stuck there for a while unless you are comfortable crossing the banks in a N to NW wind. Is that where you want to be?

Are you better off heading down a little further south or staying in Lauderdale and wait for a window to get to Bimini/Nassau so you can head south into the Exumas where the fronts are much weaker?
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Old 12-24-2009
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Even after the northern winds stop there is still uncomfortable water left behind for a short period of time. It's not uncommon to wait longer than 10 days. Are the Exumas your destination, or the Abacos?.......i2f
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Old 12-29-2009
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Thanks All! Sorry for the delay, had some internet and holiday issues. Needless to say, we didn't make that window for a variety of reasons. We decided instead just to do the keys this year, as we only had 6 weeks and didn't want to rush it. We'll likely go next year with a bit more time.
Thanks again!
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Old 12-29-2009
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Late spring offers a lot more oppurtunities to cross. I use to charter in June for this very reason. You can come, and go pretty much as your leisure..........i2f
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