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Hi-Tech Redneck
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Bought a boat in Miami and now get to cruise north back home (NC) mostly in the ditch.

She won't fit under Julia Tuttle, so our first ever jaunt outside!
Going out Government Cut and back in at West Palm, just a long day sail. She has all the communication and life safety gear.

Would you just hug the coastline, say between 2-3 miles out?
Looks simple, still, we would appreciate tips or watch outs.

Thank you!
 

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Old as Dirt!
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Bought a boat in Miami and now get to cruise north back home (NC) mostly in the ditch.:cut_out_animated_em

She won't fit under Julia Tuttle, so our first ever jaunt outside!
Going out Government Cut and back in at West Palm, just a long day sail. She has all the communication and life safety gear.

Would you just hug the coastline, say between 2-3 miles out?
Looks simple, still, we would appreciate tips or watch outs.

Thank you!
What is the level of your experience/sailing skill?

The run from the Sea Buoy at Government Cut to the Sea Buoy at Lake Worth Inlet is about 60 miles. Laying inshore, you'd be fronting the counter current that runs southerly. Getting off shore, you'll get a 1.5 to 2 knt lift from the Stream. With that, and on a reach, you should be able to cover the distance in 8-9 hours. Of course, you'll have to add the time needed to reach the Sea Buoy through Government Cut and the passage into Lake Worth which could make your overall trip 12-14 hours. If so, during this time of the year you're likely to have to endure one or more of the late afternoon/early evening squalls that prevail along that coast. (With that, your level of experience becomes an issue.)

Note that Lake Worth Inlet can be a pip. You'll want to time your arrival there for Slack Water as "...the currents in the inlet are strong and must be carefully guarded against. The current velocity is 2.4 knots on the flood and 3.6 knots on the ebb." "The mean range of tide is 2.8 feet at the inlet and 2.6 feet at the Port of Palm Beach." (For more, click over to ActiveCaptain.com and use the interactive charting/cruising guide.)

FWIW I personally prefer to breast inlets a low tide as, by doing so, one can clearly see the deeper water channels. Arriving late in the day there can, however, be problematic as one will have the sun in one's eyes making reading the water difficult. (Making the same trip, I'd leave late in the evening and sail through the night to make a morning arrival/entry at Lake Worth.)

Ensure your boat is adequately prepared for communication, safety equipment and with your running gear in good order.

Your call...
 

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Bought a boat in Miami and now get to cruise north back home (NC) mostly in the ditch.:cut_out_animated_em

She won't fit under Julia Tuttle, so our first ever jaunt outside!
Going out Government Cut and back in at West Palm, just a long day sail. She has all the communication and life safety gear.

Would you just hug the coastline, say between 2-3 miles out?
Looks simple, still, we would appreciate tips or watch outs.

Thank you!
I don't know that area, or your level of experience.

What I would suggest is that you check all the equipment very carefully before heading out (including radio checks) - don't depend on anyone else to do this - it's your safety at stake. Make sure that everyone uses a tether that won't allow them to go overboard, always wear a PFD on deck, leave a float plan etc. Lastly, have fun!
 

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Be very certain that you have a good weather window, and be prepared to wait as long as necessary to get one.

I'm involved with a historic 30 foot ketch (VFP Golden Rule) that makes use of a high
quality weather routing service to wait for windows when it is safe to sail.

This is what happens often to boats that do not do this . .
(we were waiting in Eureka for a window when this much bigger
vessel got in trouble)

Coast Guard finds missing hiker, saves 3 aboard sailing vessel
 

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Hi-Tech Redneck
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Discussion Starter #7
What is the level of your experience/sailing skill?
Intermediate experience/skill. Sailed about 1500 nm total, owned 3 sailboats in 26-38' range. Worst we've endured is only 30kt winds, 6' seas
Sailed Chesapeake, Albemarle, Pamlico and Charleston no offshore.

----

This is exactly the kind of recommendation I was hoping for. Wasn't aware of the southerly counter current. Thank you.
 

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...Making the same trip, I'd leave late in the evening and sail through the night to make a morning arrival/entry at Lake Worth.
That there is excellent advice. Do not be scared of darkness. Much of the best weather is at night. A night at sea is much preferable to darkness, or even a low sun, in shoal water.

Double check all the nav lights and the coffee machinery.
 

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This is exactly the kind of recommendation I was hoping for. Wasn't aware of the southerly counter current. Thank you.
Before you leave, listen to the weather radio for the current (no pun intended) location of the Gulf Stream. It moves.

If you don't want to try Lake Worth, Port Everglades is a pretty easy inlet and there's a good anchorage near by (Lake Sylvia).
 

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Old as Dirt!
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Intermediate experience/skill. Sailed about 1500 nm total, owned 3 sailboats in 26-38' range. Worst we've endured is only 30kt winds, 6' seas
Sailed Chesapeake, Albemarle, Pamlico and Charleston no offshore.
SoundWave--

That is certainly enough background for this little traverse. You should do fine. A couple of added thoughts:

Ensure your reefing gear is in order and (given a new to you boat) that you know how it works, especially so if you elect to travel at night, which I would on a similar passage on the east coast of Florida. In some respects, travel at night is easier than during daylight hours. There are far fewer "day trippers"/recreational fishing boats to contend with. Ships traveling at night along the coast are generally well lighted--cruise ships like floating billboards--and can be seen far further off than the same ships during the day when they may fade into the background haze. Ships also normally maintain steady courses and speeds so watching their lights one can pretty easily tell whether they are crossing your course and whether a minor course adjustment to (further) avoid them is advisable. Hopefully you have radar with which one can track weather/squalls pretty easily. If not, however, you can still usually see/detect squalls before they get to you, particularly so if you have moonlight. On clear moonless nights a squall will create a big empty black spot in the sky where one would otherwise see stars. Squalls are usually also preceded by cool winds that differ from the ambient wind conditions. The first time you suddenly feel them is when its time to reef. Keep your hatches closed and drop-boards in place lest a "sneaker" wave give your boat, and your accommodation without doing so, a good soaking. Lastly, of course, ensure everyone on deck is tethered to the boat and, preferably, wearing inflatable life vests (our "First Rule" aboard is "Safety First").

Ensure your fuel filter(s) is/(are) clean and that your tank is filled with fresh fuel to the extent possible. Having to change a clogged filter and bleed an engine's fuel system while underway can be a serious pain in the neck (literally and figuratively).

If you don't have a EPIRB aboard, pick one up before your trip at least an ACR PLB which costs less than $250.00 with free overnight delivery from several vendors.

Finally, in re: Radio Check complaints, one can make automated radio checks on Channel 27 that has a transponder that records transmissions received and then re-broadcasts them. With that you can hear your own transmission (or not!) and know whether your signals are getting out.

Hopefully the foregoing does not sound too pedantic. If so, forgive me, eh?

FWIW...
 

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Traveling 'outside' along the east coast involves 'inlets', many (less than Class A inlets - used by 'ships') with sandbars at where the inlet's current meets the ocean.
Traversing inlets with the 'wrong' wind and current, these inlets can sometimes be 'very difficult'. These minor and 'less than Class A' inlets are also 'shifty', the USCG constantly changing the channel markers as the bottom contours of the 'channel' shifts about and changes - the reason that most charts and chart plotters will have the markers 'absent'. It takes quite a bit of practice and expertise to 'shoot' an inlet during 'the wrong' times .... you'll get better at it, the more inlets you use.

So, unless you have 'local knowledge', many times you'll have to WAIT outside or reduce/increase your boat speed to these smaller inlets so that your 'timing' is correct to safely enter, ....... or simply travel on to the next (or turn back to 'the last') inlet so the 'timing' is more correct. Many of these minor inlets will NOT be suitable for 'sailboats' in any conditions --- without specific 'local knowledge'. When in doubt, contact the local USCG on VHF channel 22a for specific inlet info.

You usually don't use such inlets when there is a large/high easterly (NE/E/SE) swell and an outflowing/ebbing current. When 'shooting' such inlets, you want to preferentially do so on 'slack' current or a flooding ('in') current - for less 'standing waves' height. What you don't want to do is to blindly enter (or cross the 'outer bar') and find the standing waves are much larger than what your boat can safely handle and then find you CANNOT do a 180° without broaching, etc. - trapped!!! Correct 'timing' will help you avoid this.
If in doubt and you do decide to enter in 'boisterous' inlet conditions, consider to have the boat totally closed up, including the companionway, and with PFDs, etc. 'on'. Some of the east coast inlets are notoriously bad during the wrong conditions; and the prudent sailor will usually 'stay out' and not enter during the 'wrong' inlet conditions (and especially with a dirty, crudded-up fuel tank !!!!).

For the Southeast, mid-Atlantic and New England coasts, the best reference is "Eldridge" Tide and Current tables ..... Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book 2016 "Eldridge" is based on 'historical' data, not 'just' computer generated data.
Do consider to have an accurate *tide and current* program as a backup for your tablet, smartphone, etc.
;-)
 

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A few years ago my Wife and I sailed our Cheoylee 31 ketch from Big Key to Savanah, Georgia on the "outside" as one of our jumps from Kentucky Lake to northern Maine. We made 2 more offshore "jumps" before going in to see the Dismal Swamp, and go into the Chesapeake.

We passed Miami in the late evening. We stayed offshore just far enough to get a little favorable current, but it seemed the ships stayed out farther except at inlets. There were lots of small fishing boats to avoid, and some were unlit, so a watch is necessary at all times. I felt that sailing at night was easier than sailing during the daytime when staying within 10 miles of shore. Fewer boats to avoid, and the weather was generally calmer.

You could accomplish 2 firsts at the same time by doing your first offshore and first night sail.

Good luck and enjoy your sail!
 

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-----If you don't want to try Lake Worth, Port Everglades is a pretty easy inlet and there's a good anchorage near by (Lake Sylvia).
Port Everglades makes for a lot shorter day, although you do have a lot of bridges to deal with between there and Lake Worth.
Better check on the latest status of anchoring in Lake Sylvia, I think there is some difficulty doing that now, maybe check ActiveCaptain or some other current source.
 

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For the Southeast, mid-Atlantic and New England coasts, the best reference is "Eldridge" Tide and Current tables ..... Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book 2016 "Eldridge" is based on 'historical' data, not 'just' computer generated data.
Do consider to have an accurate *tide and current* program as a backup for your tablet, smartphone, etc.
;-)

Eldridge is great in New England, and nearly useless in Ft. Lauderdale. There's no detailed current mapping, just tables which you can get free from NOAA. The Eldridge tables require you to do math based on the predicted time and the reference inlet. It's a pain and based on old models.

Here's the guide for Port Everglades:
tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/noaacurrents/Stations?g=451

It will be more up-to-date than anything published on paper the previous year, simply because they are actively working on improving the models and there are several depth and speed sensors in the inlet.

Here's the list of all the Florida stations for which you can get good data from NOAA: tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/noaacurrents/Stations?g=451



Eldridge was indispensable in Boston and around Cape Cod. In S. Florida, use NOAA.
 

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Better check on the latest status of anchoring in Lake Sylvia, I think there is some difficulty doing that now, maybe check ActiveCaptain or some other current source.
The last comment on AC was yesterday. No problem.....but July 1 is the date the new restrictions go into effect. I don't think Lake Sylvia was included anyway.

Ralph
 
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