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I get ONE week off every year (I own a business and my wife owns one, too).

I have two options 1)the week of Thanksgiving or 2)the week of Christmas/New Years.

I have a strange idea that I'd like to trailer my 24' Spindrift down to Miami and cross to Bimini.

I have made longer trips in her (Pascagoula to Pensacola). I have made trips in "open water" (in the reletive protection of the Gulf Of Mexico). I have been sailing for 30 years - the last 10 years along the Gulf Coast... It doesn't seem difficult, but that is precisely what bothers me..

Am I crazy? What am I missing? It's like I can't see the forrest for the trees..

It this common? It seems like it would be. Does that Gulf Stream really set the boat off bad and make a 50 mile trip more like a 100 mile trip?

what is it I am missing?

thanks,

JAY
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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While I have never made the trip.. all accounts say that crossing the stream can be treacherous if the water and wind are not cooperating.

Not to dissuade you, as I want to make that same trip, but with only a week off, what if you can't get back before the week is up?
 

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What you are missing is that you need to wait for the right weather window, both going and coming. You cannot count on having the right weather to cross both ways within a single week. And trying to cross the Stream in that boat, in the wrong sort of weather, can get you killed. That is no joke, and it is not an exaggeration. People have died trying to cross the Gulf Stream in the wrong sort of weather conditions.

If you want so sail in the Bahamas, charter. If you want to cross the Gulf Stream, wait until you have a month or more so that you can trailer your boat to Miami and then hang around until the weather is right, go across, and then hang around again until the weather is right for coming back.

Trying to do this sort of thing on a tight schedule is a good way to get yourself into SERIOUS trouble.
 

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By the way, perhaps I should mention that I made this trip myself, back in the 1980s, on a very similar boat--a San Juan 23. The difference is that I lived in Orlando, and I had a very flexible vacation schedule. I was able to watch the weather, and then on just a few days notice dash down to Miami and head across.

Even at that, it wasn't a particularly comfortable crossing. And I ended up spending a BOATLOAD more money than I intended, because the weather did not cooperate on coming back. So I had to leave my boat in a marina and fly back, and then return several weeks later to retrieve the boat. And I mean that "boatload" almost literally; it cost me a couple of thousand dollars--almost as much as I paid for the boat--to buy the airline tickets back and forth and pay for the marina time.

I guess I'm glad that I did it, but I'm older and wiser now, and value my comfort more, so I wouldn't do it again in a boat like that one.
 

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I've crossed the stream dozens of times. I've crossed without a lick of current and in over 8 knots of current.
As a general rule, use a factor of 2.5 knots as your average current between Fla and Bimini. That means, for a 10 hour trip, expect to get pushed north 25 miles and adjust your course accordingly. With GPS it's pretty easy to keep on top of your set, so that shouldn't be a problem.
As for weather, that's another matter entirely. On a 24' sail boat, sailing east in an easterly isn't going to be easy or pleasant. Much better in a SE wind, better still in a southerly, but any wind from the south will increase the speed of the stream. Anything north of east or west is just plain suicidal in a very small boat and a true norther has cost many, on well found sailing vessels of considerable size, their lives.
I really can't, in all good conscience, say go for it, since I do not know you or your vessel at all. I believe a 24' boat is pretty small for a winter time crossing of the stream, but if you pick the right weather, have a well found vessel and are a proficient mariner, well.... On the other hand, if you are on a schedule, you may well have to leave your boat over there until you can get another weather window to return which might be next year (or more) if you only have 1 week a year.
 

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I would go in November. The weather will be marginally better...but the water will be cold by then though.

A week is a perfect amount of time to poke over to Bimini. To be honest, there isn't TOO much to do over there, however the passages alone will take up two of your seven days of vacation. The challenge is that in the winter, you'll get cold fronts every 3-4 days. While these fronts usually create a weather window in advance of their arrival, when they do arrive, they can make the Gulfstream really snotty...if not downright dangerous. You may get pinned there beyond your vacation window.

Since you own your business, whats the harm in just leaving your return a bit open ended and coming back when the weather allows.
 

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I get ONE week off every year (I own a business and my wife owns one, too).

I have two options 1)the week of Thanksgiving or 2)the week of Christmas/New Years.

I have a strange idea that I'd like to trailer my 24' Spindrift down to Miami and cross to Bimini.

I have made longer trips in her (Pascagoula to Pensacola). I have made trips in "open water" (in the reletive protection of the Gulf Of Mexico). I have been sailing for 30 years - the last 10 years along the Gulf Coast... It doesn't seem difficult, but that is precisely what bothers me..

Am I crazy? What am I missing? It's like I can't see the forrest for the trees..

It this common? It seems like it would be. Does that Gulf Stream really set the boat off bad and make a 50 mile trip more like a 100 mile trip?

what is it I am missing?

thanks,

JAY
Jay--

As/When/If you come back to this thread, page down to the very bottom of the page displaying your post and you will find a list of other threads that discuss the same subject/information. As a practical matter, you'd be wise to think about the proposed expedition at that time of year in that sized boat carefully. And your appetite for discomfort. See Capta's post, above.
 

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I have crossed from Fort Lauderdale more times than I can count in my former Irwin 38. I also made the crossing in a Sea Ray 460 a few times. Last March, my girlfriend and I crossed from Miami to Bimini on two SeaDoo waverunners. I don't think we ever took weather into account when sailing. Sometimes we motored the whole way because the water was glass, and sometimes there were 25 footers. It all depends on your abilities and that boat's abilities. How does that boat like pounding into steep square waves?

The problem with having such a tight window is that it might lead to disappointment if conditions don't meet your needs.

As far as "things to do" in Bimini, there are thousands of things to do. You will not be able to do everything in a week. Honeymoon harbor, Sapona, Sarah's for dinner, Joe's conch shack, end of the world bar, etc. etc. etc.

For the naysayers, why shouldn't that boat be able to make it to Bimini? If that boat can't make it to bimini in any conditions, I would suggest never taking it there at all. In a sailboat, conditions can change, and one must be ready for nearly anything.
 

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What "well found" sailing vessels can't make it to Bimini when it is blowing out of the North?

I've crossed the stream dozens of times. I've crossed without a lick of current and in over 8 knots of current.
As a general rule, use a factor of 2.5 knots as your average current between Fla and Bimini. That means, for a 10 hour trip, expect to get pushed north 25 miles and adjust your course accordingly. With GPS it's pretty easy to keep on top of your set, so that shouldn't be a problem.
As for weather, that's another matter entirely. On a 24' sail boat, sailing east in an easterly isn't going to be easy or pleasant. Much better in a SE wind, better still in a southerly, but any wind from the south will increase the speed of the stream. Anything north of east or west is just plain suicidal in a very small boat and a true norther has cost many, on well found sailing vessels of considerable size, their lives.
I really can't, in all good conscience, say go for it, since I do not know you or your vessel at all. I believe a 24' boat is pretty small for a winter time crossing of the stream, but if you pick the right weather, have a well found vessel and are a proficient mariner, well.... On the other hand, if you are on a schedule, you may well have to leave your boat over there until you can get another weather window to return which might be next year (or more) if you only have 1 week a year.
 

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I have fond memories doing it with my family back when we were kids, my dad was slightly handicapped at that point and we did a lot of the physical work...

I remember it was rainy and windy getting there so it must of been late summer months or spring time...

I see it as a great trip

the whole schedule thing especially having your own business seems odd...dont go with a set timeframe,but that goes for ALL CRUISING

schedules and etas are a NO NO.
 

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Seems like the thing to do would be do have a backup plan to sail around Miami, the Keys, or sw Florida or maybe dry Tortugas. Then, if the weather window to cross the stream and back doesn't materialize, the trip's still not wasted.
 

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I don't think we ever took weather into account when sailing. Sometimes we motored the whole way because the water was glass, and sometimes there were 25 footers.
25-footers, eh? Damn, that must have been one hell of a blow...

Well, I certainly find the "never taking weather into account" part credible :) When Hurricane Isacc passed over the Florida Straits 2 summers ago, with forecast winds at that point of 65 knots, the maximum wave height NOAA was calling for in those waters was 18 feet...


 

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I think that was a typo...
 

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What "well found" sailing vessels can't make it to Bimini when it is blowing out of the North?
You obviously don't read the news papers or watch the TV very much, or you are quite new to Fla. There were several very seaworthy yachts lost between Miami and the Bahamas in the 80's, in northerlies. I have personally had to cross or operate vessels in the stream in northerly winds, and in over 50 years as a professional mariner, I have rarely experienced more dangerous and life threatening conditions.
I am very glad you have been so fortunate in your crossings of the Gulfstream, but prudence is the mark of good seamanship, not boldness.
 
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Are you saying that the Gulfstream never produces 25 foot waves?

25-footers, eh? Damn, that must have been one hell of a blow...

Well, I certainly find the "never taking weather into account" part credible :) When Hurricane Isacc passed over the Florida Straits 2 summers ago, with forecast winds at that point of 65 knots, the maximum wave height NOAA was calling for in those waters was 18 feet...


 

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Last March, my girlfriend and I crossed from Miami to Bimini on two SeaDoo waverunners.
I am not at all familiar with "SeaDoo waverunners", but are they actually capable of going 80 statute miles on the fuel they hold? It would probably take 20% more to return against the current, therefor one would need to go more like 70+, with absolutely no safety factor, making it realistically about 80 miles.
 

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We brought fuel. We needed it on the way there, but on the way back, we had 1/3 of a tank remaining. The key is being able to go 35mph which is their most efficient speed. It was 5-8 feet seas on the way there, so we could only realistically go 15 - 20mph.

I am not at all familiar with "SeaDoo waverunners", but are they actually capable of going 80 statute miles on the fuel they hold? It would probably take 20% more to return against the current, therefor one would need to go more like 70+, with absolutely no safety factor, making it realistically about 80 miles.
 

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There is quite a difference between "several" yachts being lost in a decade and a well found boat not being able to make it through a Northerly in the gulfstream. And, I am not advocating such either. At a minimum, it is quite uncomfortable. Short steep confuse seas that are produced by a north wind in the gulfstream can give your vessel quite a pounding.

You obviously don't read the news papers or watch the TV very much, or you are quite new to Fla. There were several very seaworthy yachts lost between Miami and the Bahamas in the 80's, in northerlies. I have personally had to cross or operate vessels in the stream in northerly winds, and in over 50 years as a professional mariner, I have rarely experienced more dangerous and life threatening conditions.
I am very glad you have been so fortunate in your crossings of the Gulfstream, but prudence is the mark of good seamanship, not boldness.
 

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We brought fuel. We needed it on the way there, but on the way back, we had 1/3 of a tank remaining. The key is being able to go 35mph which is their most efficient speed. It was 5-8 feet seas on the way there, so we could only realistically go 15 - 20mph.
Pouring gasoline into the tank on a hot motor in 5-8 foot seas. You are a man of much, much greater intestinal fortitude than I, that is for sure.
 
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