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Old 04-28-2012
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Key West to Bimini (Direct)?

Planning a sail to the Bahamas from the Tampa Bay area by way of the Dry Tortugas and a planned stop in Key West to drop off some family from the first leg.

From Key West, the plan is to head over to Bimini. I'd like to get a sanity check here, but I was thinking of heading offshore to catch the Florida Current and subquently using the Gulf Stream to give me an extra couple/few knots as I made my way northeast rather than spending the time island hopping. I'd like to spend what time I have in the Bahamas rather than the Keys/Miami to the extent possible.

This is the track that Bill from S/V Galena (great blog if you've never read it) did on his Westsail 32:



I was thinking something similar but veering a bit farther north to catch Bimini. As mentioned in an earlier thread, this 5 week trip is happening in mid July (not ideal, but that's what I've got to work with).

So notwithstanding the usual Tropical Storm/Hurricane cautionary tales I was hoping to get some thoughts on this route.
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Old 04-28-2012
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Re: Key West to Bimini (Direct)?

I don't see why not, you'll get a good boost from the stream. I've never done that route but have raced from Daytona to Charleston in the stream. As long as you watch the weather you should be fine.
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Old 04-28-2012
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Re: Key West to Bimini (Direct)?

An alternate route that would give you less exposure to the Stream and possible adverse weather developments is KW to Rodriguez Key, over-night there, and then an early AM departure to Bimini which can be made in half a day.

FWIW..
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Old 04-28-2012
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Re: Key West to Bimini (Direct)?

I would advise checking the pilot charts for July. The easterlies may have set in and it will be a long haul up wind from the Dry Tortugas east.
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Old 04-28-2012
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Re: Key West to Bimini (Direct)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebs001 View Post
I would advise checking the pilot charts for July. The easterlies may have set in and it will be a long haul up wind from the Dry Tortugas east.
This is true most of the year. Predominate wind is always from the east unless a front is passing through. July is a hot month and not much wind here. Having just did the KW to Miami last month and will again next week, it is a motor sail from KW to just past Marathon due to the wind direction. We rode the GS all the way and it was great sail. I would ride the GS about the 1000'-15000' drop off line until about 30 NM south of Bimini and than start cutting across the GS to head for South Bimini island. The route that you show you "WILL" motor sail the entire route. If fuel is a problem for you I would go to Marathon from KW to fill up the tanks than cross over. Get into the GS outside of KW at the 400' drop off and ride it up to Marathon. Don't forget to put a fishing line out with a pink and green skirt bubble lure to catch Maui Maui for dinner that night.
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Old 04-28-2012
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Re: Key West to Bimini (Direct)?

Alright, sounds great, thanks for the replies. I was sort of counting on the seasonally light winds, and figured if I could motor at 7 knots plus the kick from the current, I could make this a relatively quick jump.

Melrna, that route was one that someone else used to get to the Exumas, I'm trying to get a little farther north, so hopfully I'll be able to kill the engine as I'm passing Marathon as you mentioned. And I don't sail on ANY long trips like this without a lure in the water!!

Hylyte, thanks for the suggestion on the layover. I think I'll shoot for something like that if I don't get a good weather window.
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Old 04-28-2012
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Re: Key West to Bimini (Direct)?

Be aware that entering Bimini does require good light and should not be done on the basis of a chart plotter or someone's waypoints IMHO.
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Old 04-28-2012
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Re: Key West to Bimini (Direct)?

Yeah good call. I was planning on timing it for a daytime arrival using the Explorer Charts. Is there anything else I ought to be considering?

Also not sure where I want to go from there, but I was thinking up to the Abacos for a few weeks of diving, etc.
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Old 04-28-2012
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Re: Key West to Bimini (Direct)?

We crossed from Marathon to Bimini in a near windless period in the summer, about 20 years ago. As I recall it was about 115NM and we motorsailed the entire way. It took 15 hours in our '81 Hunter 30. We arrived in the daytime, as was stated before daytime is the ONLY time to make a Bimini landfall. At the time there were two un-lighted poles to line up as a range marker to cross the only opening in the barrier sandbar. Once through that cut, hug the shore side of the lagoon between the sandbar and the island.
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Old 04-29-2012
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Re: Key West to Bimini (Direct)?

Interesting thread, I am making the run too soon. Any thoughts on May winds?
regards, JD
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