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Old 07-07-2012
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scheduled Gulf Stream crossings?

Question for the more experienced sailors:

There is a ASA sailing school based out of Ft. Lauderdale (and other places) that I am interested in doing some ASA 103, etc. that combines several certifications in a week-long cruise to the bahamas. I am looking over the schedule and want to take the course(s) this November.
But how can a school keep a schedule firm when I thought that to cross the Gulf Stream the prudent sailor must wait for a weather window to avoid strong north winds. But the sailing school schedule looks set in stone regardless. Anyone have input on resolving this seeming contradiction- the school must know what they are doing, right? I think this school is highly rated but I am confused about the calendar schedule Gulf Stream crossing which does not mention if the conditions are not right. I have read of prudent sailors waiting days or weeks for a favorable crossing. How can a sailing school keep a tight schedule to get students across and back whilst dealing with the Gulf Stream?
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Old 07-07-2012
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Re: scheduled Gulf Stream crossings?

call them and ask
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Old 07-07-2012
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Re: scheduled Gulf Stream crossings?

There is rarely a norther in november worth talking about. I think I know the school you are talking about. I see one of them in Bimini some times. All tough it can get stacked out there in the gulf stream, they probably go any way's, good opportunity to show students some heavy weather sailing.
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Old 07-08-2012
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Re: scheduled Gulf Stream crossings?

How big is the boat? Heavy 50ft + will do better than a Bene First 40.
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Old 07-08-2012
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Re: scheduled Gulf Stream crossings?

I had my wife take the ASA 101,2,and4 in Ft Lauderdale in 2007. It was a total waste of money, sorry. Perhaps the 103 is better

In terms of the GS odds are well in your favor. Honestly people make way too much of the "Gulf Stream". 90% of the time passing through it you don't even know other than some corse correction and with auto helm set to course you don't even do that. Typically the only time it is an issue is with sig. north wind.

I have crossed twice with north wind and with seas one time 16-20' and the other with seas 12-14' Both times were uncomfortable but never unsafe. Good news is it only takes a small part of the day to get through and then the wave periods lengthen out again.

Also for training purposes you should hope for some strong conditions, after all you are out there to learn and no better way then to have some exposure. If conditions east are too strong they will likely do the offshore south toward Key West
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Old 07-08-2012
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Re: scheduled Gulf Stream crossings?

I agree with orthomartin. The days and weeks people wait are for a forecast with nary a puff of wind and then motor across.

North wind up to 10 - 15 kts gets bumpy but not untenable. A sustained howler from the North is really unpleasant and might lead to damage with an inexperienced crew.
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Re: scheduled Gulf Stream crossings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by orthomartin View Post
.....
I have crossed twice with north wind and with seas one time 16-20' and the other with seas 12-14' Both times were uncomfortable but never unsafe. Good news is it only takes a small part of the day to get through and then the wave periods lengthen out again.

What's uncomfortable in a Moody46 or a Lagoon440, is considerably more uncomfortable in a Catalac 8M.

Size matters!!
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Old 07-09-2012
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Re: scheduled Gulf Stream crossings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by orthomartin View Post

I have crossed twice with north wind and with seas one time 16-20' and the other with seas 12-14' Both times were uncomfortable but never unsafe. Good news is it only takes a small part of the day to get through and then the wave periods lengthen out again.
16-20 feet in the Stream off S Florida? Wow, not for me, you're talking some major 'Marching Elephants', there... Damn, how much wind did you have, that produced those conditions?

If we're to assume the upper end of that range as an accurate measurement of the Significant Wave Height at any particular time, the typical distribution of waves encountered of greater height would roughly be 1 in every 100 could be 30 feet, and 1 in every 1000 might reach a height of almost 37 feet...

You're a FAR braver man than I, that's for sure... (grin)
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Re: scheduled Gulf Stream crossings?

As others have said the danger is a bit overstated. Back in 2005 I kite boarded to Bimini in a race. We specifically waited for a North wind of around 17 knots as it was needed for the kites to have any decent power. The smallest support boats were 30 foot center consoles and they did just fine. Before anyone says it was reckless we had a lot of boats some quite large and others quite fast, our own helicopter and a NOAA meteorologist advising us.
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Re: scheduled Gulf Stream crossings?

Several years ago I did ASA 104/105 with the same school with a crossing to Bimini in a Dufour 50. Given the weather forecast, the instructor gave us the option to go or not go. The class of 4 all elected to cross. The wind was out of the north and the seas built progressively higher to the 15 to 20 ft. range. Initally, it was quite uncomfortable...but I learned a tremendous amount about my own capabilities and the boat's. That knowledge has helped me in subsequent charters I have taken/captained, especially in the St, Martin area and during an ASA 105 class that consisted of a circumnavigation of the US, British and Spanish Virgin Islands in some quite challenging conditions. It is often said on these forums that one needs to get out in challenging conditions to improve one's skills...and based upon my experiences I would totally agree. Given that you have the chance to do so with an experience captain....go for it!
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