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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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Old 12-30-2013
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Florida to Bimini tips?

Hey everyone! I'm looking for a few tips or advice, feedback etc.. Planning to solo sail from Florida to Bimini mid to late jan 2014. The boat is a Watkins 27. For those not familiar she's a slow overrigged boat 26.3 loa 10 beam 23 lwl 7800 displacement(wayyy empty) 15hp yanmar diesel. I don't like entering new water after dark so I'm looking at leaving quite early maybe 4 am on an ebbing high tide from Angelfish cr just N of Key Largo. The intention being this should make the first 5-10 miles not such a fight and starting off that far S may allow me to use the gulfstream and the typical S-SE wind to arrive in Bimini before sunset, which should be around 6pm. I would prefer to start even further S but I don't and never will like the idea of sleeping with no one on watch in a potential shipping channel! Any tips from those who have done this sail? departure choice, time of day etc will be appreciated! thanks!
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Old 12-31-2013
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Re: Florida to Bimini tips?

If you intend cruising the Bahamas, i.e. going further than Bimini I would suggest bypassing Bimini and continuing on through the Great Bahama Bank and into the Tongue of the Ocean and the Berries or Nassau non-stop. Especially if you want to get to the Exumas. If you stop in Bimini the weather will catch up with you and go NE to E and blow hard and you'll be in Bimini until the next weather window.

As for crossing the stream, it will depend on the wind conditions. South would be ok but SE will be a bit tight as your heading will be south of east as you get in the stream. The slower you are the more the heading will be south of east. SW to W is better but that usually means it's going to N and NE sooner. Many motor like stink to get across which is not a bad idea.
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Old 12-31-2013
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Re: Florida to Bimini tips?

This is based on my single handed crossing from Lake Worth to Great Sale and return GS to Ft Pierce. Prep everything. Food, water, cloths, suntan lotion, meds, flashlight, piss can, TP etc within easy reach. Work out before leaving how to use everything while getting bounced around. This was very handy as the conditions I encountered did not allow me to leave the helm for more than a couple of seconds at a time.
Plan on ending up further N than you think. You say your boat is slow, so is the MC, so that means a longer time in the Gulf Stream and the GS does not mess around. I choose my route so I had the entire bank, N of Memory Rock, to aim for. I left at 0400 and made it on the bank before dark. That was in March.
Vasco,s comments on the wind are dead on. I wanted to motor-sail so the boat would be more stable. The wind was more E than forecast and I ended up having to head more NE to keep the sail full. About 2/3 of the way across I gave up sailing and motored because I was getting to far N. A very slow process for me.
Do you function well on no sleep?
Don't be afraid to turn back and try another day.
Dan S/V Marian Claire
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Old 12-31-2013
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Re: Florida to Bimini tips?

There are many many threads on this. Do a search.

Key thing is WAIT for a good weather window and DO NOT leave if there is ANY north in the forecast. You want light to moderate winds from the SE to SW.

I would leave around 9 pm having banked some sleep the previous day, from No Name harbor Miami and aim to arrive at Bimini around 10 am, do not be afraid to motor sail all the the way. You have a 4knsb so expect to take about that amount of time to cover the 56 miles. .
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Re: Florida to Bimini tips?

Great advice! Thank you guys. I hadn't considered leaving late at night to arrive in the morning, good idea. I'm already prepared for the not being able to leave the cockpit scenario as I remember being in that situation quite a few times having done mostly solo sailing, but it was good to have that reminder! I will look at no name harbor and any other threads I can find to come to a final plan, which in my case often involves plan a, b, c and sometimes d....
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Old 01-06-2014
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Re: Florida to Bimini tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gonewthewind View Post
Hey everyone! I'm looking for a few tips or advice, feedback etc.. Planning to solo sail from Florida to Bimini mid to late jan 2014. The boat is a Watkins 27. For those not familiar she's a slow overrigged boat 26.3 loa 10 beam 23 lwl 7800 displacement(wayyy empty) 15hp yanmar diesel. I don't like entering new water after dark so I'm looking at leaving quite early maybe 4 am on an ebbing high tide from Angelfish cr just N of Key Largo. The intention being this should make the first 5-10 miles not such a fight and starting off that far S may allow me to use the gulfstream and the typical S-SE wind to arrive in Bimini before sunset, which should be around 6pm. I would prefer to start even further S but I don't and never will like the idea of sleeping with no one on watch in a potential shipping channel! Any tips from those who have done this sail? departure choice, time of day etc will be appreciated! thanks!
I would suggest that you reconsider...take someone along with you and leave around 5pm or so...and sail through the night....the water is just as wet at night... choose your weather window carefully...the gulfstream can be a real B*tch in the winter months.... You will be able to see the loom of Bimini from quite a distance on a good night..remember, you have 4kts of current from south to north... and must adjust your heading accordingly.you will arrive near Bimini after first light... you dont want to be trying to enter the harbor in darkness...

Ive done that trip many many times in a Dufuor 34... we would always try to leave Bug Light off of Key Biscayne at 8pm... that would get us to Bimini by daybreak....no sooner.. our heading from Bug Light would be about 125 degrees magnetic..as best I can remember...its been a few years..
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