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Old 05-08-2012
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Sail from Miami/FLL to Grand Bahama This Fall

Hello fellow sailors!

First, I'm not sure if there is somewhere better to post this, if there is just tell me how to move it and I will!

I have a Coronado 25, which I sail out of Islamorada.

This fall I will be moving it up to MIA or FLL and sailing to Grand Bahama. This is our first crossing, and I thought it would be neat to sail across the gulfstream in the company of other boats. My plans are to stay over there for about a week to various ports/anchorages before returning.

If there is anyone out there who is interested in joining us for the crossing, or knows of a group going, please let me know!!

Also any tips or suggestions are very welcome, as is any knowledge of the regular (non-hurricane) wind conditions that time of year.

Thank you and Happy Sailing!
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Old 05-08-2012
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Re: Sail from Miami/FLL to Grand Bahama This Fall

Sounds like you might be on a schedule.

Do be aware that I and many others only cross the Gulf Stream in a benign weather window and may wait for many days for suitable winds.

IMHO you need to be very respectful of the Gulf Stream crossing in a 25 foot boat, SE wind less than 15knts, anything SE to SW Less than 20 knts is OK. BUT ANYTHING with any N in it is a stayathome sign.

There are many threads on this topic.
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Old 05-08-2012
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Re: Sail from Miami/FLL to Grand Bahama This Fall

Yep, on a schedule. Pretty strict. Have to set sail between Spetember 1 and October 31 lol.

I know better than to set a strict schedule. My boss knows I'll need between a week and two weeks off. I'm only sailing under 15 knots from any S point, nothing from the N.

Thanks for the words of caution though, sincerely appreciated, as always.
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Old 05-08-2012
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Re: Sail from Miami/FLL to Grand Bahama This Fall

I know of a crew of three twenty-somethings that took a Bristol 24 or Pac Seacraft 24 or such to the Bahamas for at least a week a couple years ago...Jetskis have done the trip from Miami to Bimini...there's alot of past threads on this subject if you search in here...
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Old 05-08-2012
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Re: Sail from Miami/FLL to Grand Bahama This Fall

If you are in Islamorada now, why not leave from Rodriguez Key?

And as you know, Late September and October is the beginning of cold fronts coming south. As posted, trying to cross with any Northern compnent is risky (and def uncomfortable) for boats twice your size. Better have a plan B.

My opinions.

Brian
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Old 05-09-2012
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Re: Sail from Miami/FLL to Grand Bahama This Fall

Yeah I am concerned about the cold fronts. As you said though, they are just beginning at that point, and rarely push through central Florida until November. I'm personally hoping for September because it reduces the odds of one of those fronts paying us a visit. The more I think about it, the more I will say September.

My reasons for moving the boat North first are that this will be my longest single sail to date (longest so far being 45 miles along the coast). I'm trying to reduce my single stretch at sea to be safer. Additionally, I am really hoping to find another boat to sail the outbound leg with (as this is my first crossing), and I figured it was much more likely from MIA or FLL than from the Keys. If I could find a sail buddy from down there It would save me the time and effort though.
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Re: Sail from Miami/FLL to Grand Bahama This Fall

Most of the non motor-boaters I know punch out of Rodriguez Key to Bimini for checkin. You catch the stream and it is a short punch across. Not a lot of people going acrfoss that time of year. We were often the lone boat in September at ROd Key.

Bigger problem is probably going to be hurricanes. You will need to keep a eye to the sky. Not many places there I would ride out a Hurricane in Bahamas.

Best time to go across is right now... nudge, nudge.

Brian
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Re: Sail from Miami/FLL to Grand Bahama This Fall

I wouldn't mind it, as I said, save me time and money.

Unfortunately, the Serenity Now just isn't ready for such a voyage yet. We're still getting her properly outfitted.

That being said, in a few months I would love to see a Catalina 400 to windward on the crossing... nudge, nudge.

As far as hurricanes, yeah, it's prime time. Best I can do is pray and be sure the insurance is paid up. If one should come our way I would try to find some where leeward and triple anchor her, wish her well and ride it out on shore.

I'm trying not to think much about that...
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Old 05-10-2012
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Re: Sail from Miami/FLL to Grand Bahama This Fall

Hey, have a great trip. Fl to Bimini is not even a real passage, more of a long day sail. No real concerns other than the normal wx stuff. GS in no real concern unless seas build from the north and on a 25 footer obviously you will not head over without reasonable forecast. I like passageweather for wind and wave over the NOAA.
A bit scary in terms of time of year but at least for hurricanes you have good three day forecasts for warning so a return home from someplace as close as Bahama is no big deal, but remember to keep checking for cold fronts each day as if a strong blow from the north is clearly on its way, head home in advance so you don't get trapped in the event cyclonic activity all of a sudden starts showing up on the forecasts. Putting your boat at anchor however without being in a true hurricane hole means in all likelihood you will say good bye to your boat in anything cat 2 or above.
In your time frame you can easily make the Berries the next day after checking in at Bimini, very cool cruising there.
Final note, although I say the trip is easy I would however personally not go without an EPIRB. It is still a small boat on a big ocean
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Re: Sail from Miami/FLL to Grand Bahama This Fall

Not even a real passage to YOU! I'm quaking in my boots! I know that it's not much different from the 80 mile trip from Key West to Islamorada except for the stream, but it's the whole far from land thing that has me nervous. It's mostly in my head, I know, but I don't think anything but the passage itself (i'm still calling it that!) will relieve my nerves.

Great advice on the EPIRB, my plans are actually to rent a GPIRB from BoatUS for the duration, if I don't buy one first. It's $130 for two weeks, but I'm not going without it!

I tend to use windfinder.com, although they tend to shoot high. I just found sailflow.com recently which seems to be more accurate. Passageweather I will have to try.

I had been considering the Berry Islands vs Grand Bahama. I want to make this about more than just the sail, and I'm not sure what's best yet, but the Berries are certainly very appealing. Either location would include a day and night's rest in Bimini on the way out and back.

Thanks very much for the information and advice, I'll certainly be updating as we get closer!
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