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Old 09-01-2012
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Bahamas Trailer Sailing Logistics

I want to sail my trailerable boat to the Bahamas from Florida, and I have some questions about logistics. I don't live in Florida. So, I'm not familiar with the departure points. Hence, first set of questions - what are some good options for departure points in Florida that:
1-have a launch ramp?
2-have a secure place to park my truck and trailer?
3-are good departure points to get to Bimini?
4-can reasonable get back to when flying back from Bimini?

Second set of questions - I believe I understand the costs and options of leaving my boat in the Bahamas, and I found a few comments in the forums on where to haul and store my boat in Abaco. Anyone have a favorite place to haul and store in Abaco? Why?

Third set of questions - what do I need to have in terms of licenses if I want to fish on the trip across the stream? If I show up in Bimini wish fish in the cooler and a quarantine flag raised, is that OK? Do I need a Florida license too?

Fourth set of questions - I've read a l little in the forums about crossing the Gulf Stream at certain times of year. If I have the flexibility to go whenever I want to, what are the best months for crossing? Why?

That's all I can think of for now. Thanks in advance for any advice you have to share!
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Old 09-01-2012
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Re: Bahamas Trailer Sailing Logistics

Good questions. I may do this myself next spring.
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Old 09-01-2012
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Re: Bahamas Trailer Sailing Logistics

With a trailer sailor being a smallish boat you will want to leave from Miami. Dinner key or no name harbor are the usual jumping off spots.

Crossing the stream in a small boat is doable but not a trivial exercise. Make sure you have charts for ALLthe Florida inlets up to and including St Augustine in case you need to turn back. Also do not rely on making Bimini. The stream can run at 4knts + so have contingency plans for other Bahamas land falls.

WAIT for a good forecast. I have sat in Miami for a month in October November waiting for one. At the time I was sailing a 38 foot ocean going steel ketch.

At another time and further North I got caught out in the stream when the wind went North. It is the ONLY time in 7 years sailing that boat I had water coming in green over the foredeck and the ONLY time I feared that I might get rolled over.

Lots of boat ramps. Don't know about long term secure storage of a car and trailer.

Your Bahamas fishing permit comes with your cruising permit. I am sure that the bahamian authorities will be OK if you arrive with a cooler full of fish.

Assuming you want a haulout then Marsh Harbor in the Abacos would be my preferred location. Be prepared for sticker shock.

Last edited by TQA; 09-01-2012 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 09-01-2012
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Re: Bahamas Trailer Sailing Logistics

as for parking the trailer and truck/van the I595 Truck stop they have out door storage and you can email them " For Questioning Concerning Outdoor / Dry Storage Email :
Marty Steinberg
m.steinberg@595truckstop.com " to get more info, its located in Davie Fl. I parker there when i am in S Fl.
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Old 09-01-2012
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Re: Bahamas Trailer Sailing Logistics

My preference would be to go to Abaco straight away. Going to Memory Rock waypoint you can make the Banks anytime day or night. Most people continue on to Great Sale before dropping anchor. Others drop anchor just past the waypoint and wait until it's light. The usual point of departure for this crossing is Lake Worth, staging at the south anchorage. As posted above, crossing the stream is no trivial matter and if possible should be done with a buddy boat. Once on the banks however it's more like lake sailing than ocean sailing especially in Abaco because you are on the protected Sea of Abaco. Good charts though are an absolute necessity and Cruising Guide to Abaco is probably the best cruising guide anywhere. Lots to see and do in Abaco in the winter months and great sailing in the Sea of Abaco anytime of year. I have always cleared in at New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay. Any fish you have caugt while crossing would be considered ships stores so there would be no problem there.
All the people I know who store their boats in Abaco do so at Abaco Yacht Services on Green Turtle. They have a website and I would contact them to reserve storage before leaving the States. The price according to the website is $6/ft/month. I don't know if there is hauling and blocking fees on top of that but I would think so.
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Old 09-01-2012
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Re: Bahamas Trailer Sailing Logistics

Item 1 - I agree with Miami departure. If you can get south or even SE winds the trip is easy, after all it's more of a long day sail. Gulf Stream is generally only an issue with sig North wind/wave but as long as there is a south component even 3 meter seas are no big deal even on small boat as long as they are not those nasty short breaking seas one gets from the north. You can check the live NOAA buoy data for wave hight and period before departure.
Be sure to arrive Bimini in daytime, best in afternoon when sun is a bit behind you. Perhaps departing Fl about 11pm. Entrance markers change and or drift from time to time so visual navigation is required. Also mind tide as current can run strong between N and S Bimini when the tide is running. Get the Explorer Chart Books for the areas you plan to cruise, they are like a "must have" item for Bahama sailing. Also don't forget your "Q" flag and the Bahama cutesy flag (required as in all countries).

Item 2 - Fishing on the way no problem. Don't need Fl license once outside boundary line and Bahama's will not bother you about catch prior to arrival. It will be dark for your first 8 hours or so thus you will be well offshore before you likely start fishing. Fishing license comes with your cruising permit but sometimes you have to ask to have it attached

Most you can get is one year (6mo and then apply for 6mo extension). After that you will have to pay an import tax
Freeport also has a lift and on the hard storage.
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Old 09-01-2012
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Re: Bahamas Trailer Sailing Logistics

Ramps are all over the place. That's not a problem. Finding secure storage near one, though... I don't know of any ramps that have what I would call "secure" storage. Hasn't stopped me from leaving my truck and trailer for up to two weeks though, and never had an issue.
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Old 09-01-2012
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Re: Bahamas Trailer Sailing Logistics

Freeport has two boatyards. One is near "Sunrise Marina" about 10 miles west of Lucaya and I forget the name of it. One could then do the Lucayan waterway by dropping the mast for the bridge cutting off going back to West End but arriving at the N end of the Abacos.
I keep my boat at Marsh Harbor Boat yard on the hard for $10/ft/month avoiding the $40 charge to use the ferry to get to Green Turtle.
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Old 09-02-2012
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Re: Bahamas Trailer Sailing Logistics

Just a curiosity question, what kind of boat are you taking? I have always had a pipe dream of doing the same thing.

There was a thread a while back about taking a ferry from Miami to one of the islands in the Bahamas. If I remember the price seemed pretty reasonable for a suv, trailer and boat.
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Old 09-04-2012
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Re: Bahamas Trailer Sailing Logistics

Thanks everyone for all of the replies. Great information! The ferry sounds nice, but kinda takes the adventure out of the trip. Just got done reading "The Gulf Stream" by Stan Ulanski - a great read - makes you want to get out there! Anyway, I have a well built 20 footer that I am currently beefing up a bit and adding some offshore safety items. Target for trip is 2014. So, I have time to research, upgrade, shakedown, before the crossing.

Not much yet on best time of year for crossing. Anyone have a preference? Why?
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