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Old 02-11-2013, 08:32 PM   #1
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Will We Ever Get To The Bahamas???

This has to be the longest running wait for a weather window we have ever experienced. I have to admit that if we still had our sailboat we would have been in the Bahamas a long time by now. Maybe, Maybe, Thursday will present a 2 to 2 1/2 day window. We are at Key Biscayne and plan to cross to Bimini. Keep your fingers crossed. Chuck
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:50 PM   #2
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Chuck, can you please elaborate on the window you are waiting for?? Explain the difference between an acceptable window in the sailboat versus and acceptable window in the trawler. How far is it from Miama to Bimini? 50-60 miles, at 7kts, 8 hours or so?

I don't mean to sound ignorant or like a smart a$$ either, I really want to know your thoughts! We also have a little trawler, and always in the back of my mind is whether or not this boat will be our cruising vessel or not.

Thanks!!
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:53 PM   #3
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Wish I was there, Chuck, but I'm still stuck here in Stuart. If the Thursday window doesn't work, I'll be in KB Thursday to meet guests and attend the Miami Boat Show on Friday through Monday. You're welcome to come along, and you can dock and hook-up at our place.
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:56 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Besslb View Post
Chuck, can you please elaborate on the window you are waiting for?? Explain the difference between an acceptable window in the sailboat versus and acceptable window in the trawler. How far is it from Miama to Bimini? 50-60 miles, at 7kts, 8 hours or so?

I don't mean to sound ignorant or like a smart a$$ either, I really want to know your thoughts! We also have a little trawler, and always in the back of my mind is whether or not this boat will be our cruising vessel or not.

Thanks!!
You lose a bit more speed fighting the current for a good part crossing if trying perpendicular to the current...

The biggest setback for most is wind in general...out of the north is pretty much unacceptable unless you want a rodeo ride.

The trades are starting and my last pilot chartreference shows a good portion of the time more wind than most of us want...like 0-5 knots.

Who wants to slog it out for 8 hours if you don't have to.
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:21 PM   #5
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Chuck, can you please elaborate on the window you are waiting for?? Explain the difference between an acceptable window in the sailboat versus and acceptable window in the trawler. How far is it from Miama to Bimini? 50-60 miles, at 7kts, 8 hours or so?

I don't mean to sound ignorant or like a smart a$$ either, I really want to know your thoughts! We also have a little trawler, and always in the back of my mind is whether or not this boat will be our cruising vessel or not.

Thanks!!
On our sailboat we would have jumped into the Gulf Stream in anything under 20 knots as long as it was not out of the north. Sea Trek loved it between 15 and 20. With a ketch rig and full sails she could easily make 7.5 to 8 knots and the sails would keep her from rolling in the swells. Our MT34 is VERY sensitive to sea state and swells and waves on the beam or even the quarter make her roll and it's a very uncomfortable roll.

It should take us 6 to 7 hours to get to Bimini and we want it as flat conditions as we can get. The forecast right now for Thursday is for winds 5 to 8 out of the west which is light and on our stern. Any direction at 5 to 8 is pretty good, especially this time of year. there is one other factor and that is the duration of the window. We have had several, including tomorrow that will last one day.

A couple of problems present themselves. First, this means a front is on the way and if it speeds up we could get caught out in the stream in some very nasty conditions. Second, once you get to the Bahamas territorial waters you need to cross the banks to get anywhere. That means at least a day to get across and part of the way over the banks if you don't stop at Bimini or Cat. Then another day after anchoring on the banks to get to a harbor where you can anchor for protection should the winds pick up. Ideally you want a 3 day window. With 2 days we may very well have to hold up in Bimini until we can get across the banks. This one may last 2 1/2 days which will get us somewhere.

After some time on Saturday it is suppose to start blowing and the forecast is calling for winds to 30 knots. Not unusual for this time of year. All of this needs to be considered rather than just what the weather will be getting across. Bimini is about 43 miles from the outer seabuoy at Government Cut. Keep in mind too that we are a single engine so a breakdown with weather bearing down on you is not something you want to deal with in the Gulf Stream.

Hope this answers your questions. Chuck

**MOD NOTE** (I hope don't mind me breaking your post into a few paragraphs, Chuck A little easier to read this way)
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:22 PM   #6
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Wish I was there, Chuck, but I'm still stuck here in Stuart. If the Thursday window doesn't work, I'll be in KB Thursday to meet guests and attend the Miami Boat Show on Friday through Monday. You're welcome to come along, and you can dock and hook-up at our place.
Thanks for your kind offer and if we're still here I might just take you up on it. But I really hope this works out and we finally get to cross. Chuck
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:37 PM   #7
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Chuck, we went over to the Abacos last May. We were holed up in Stuart for 3 days waiting for the sea's to die down to 4 ft or less. On the return 3 weeks later we had to wait 5 days because tropical depression Berel had stirred up the gulf stream pretty good. We waited out the return in Green Turtle Cay which is a lot more fun than west end.

There are a lot worse places to be than stuck in the gin clear waters of the upper keys waiting for the weather to clear.
Good luck.
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:42 PM   #8
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Hope this answers your questions. Chuck
Yes, that does it!! We have the same sensitive roll and single engine. I hope your window stays open and you have an enjoyable cruise over!! We'll be following along the whole way!
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:50 PM   #9
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Chuck, we went over to the Abacos last May. We were holed up in Stuart for 3 days waiting for the sea's to die down to 4 ft or less. On the return 3 weeks later we had to wait 5 days because tropical depression Berel had stirred up the gulf stream pretty good. We waited out the return in Green Turtle Cay which is a lot more fun than west end.

There are a lot worse places to be than stuck in the gin clear waters of the upper keys waiting for the weather to clear.
Good luck.
Your so right. Our last wait here at Key Biscayne was 10 days. We haven't been here that long but we sat in Marathon for what seemed like forever. We could be up in the snow. Chuck
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:32 PM   #10
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It always amazes me how as soon as the forecasters send out their latest update, the weather changes itself. It also amazes me how we can sit and listen to the forecasters give us local buoy reports and insist that the actual conditions aren't the actual conditions. It sure makes it hard to try and make any judgement calls. Our 2 1/2 day window is now down to maybe 2 days and our less than 10 knots of wind for Thursday is now 8 to 13. I'm willing to bet that by tomorrow morning it will change again. I need to get me a job with the weather service. I can be wrong every day and still keep my job and get paid very well. Bottom line is that we aren't going to count on getting the forecast we want to make our crossing AGAIN. I think we might just give up for right now. Pretend we are only going to cruise the Biscayne Bay and Upper Keys and stop sitting around waiting for weather. When it happens it happens. At this point it may not be until Spring but so what. Sometimes you just have to stop fighting it and surrender to the inevitable. Looks like we'll be hanging around for a while. Chuck
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:00 PM   #11
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Do you use any particular forecast sites??

Go back to the keys and take more pictures!!

*** Got your list of weather sites from your blog! We use lots of those here too. Love the blog!
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:14 PM   #12
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Go back to the keys and take more pictures!!
I think that's exactly what we will do.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:10 PM   #13
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Chuck,
I still don't understand why you didn't go last Friday. You had about 48 hours of window for an 8 hour passage?
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:31 PM   #14
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Last year about this time, I met up with another Krogen Manatee headed south out of Miami. He told me over the VHF that he'd already been out in the Gulfstream twice and turned back, even though the weather report sounded good. He said he was headed for the Keys instead, and later reported they had the time of their lives down there. If you don't have the window, dock at my place and go to the boat show.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:00 AM   #15
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Chuck,
I still don't understand why you didn't go last Friday. You had about 48 hours of window for an 8 hour passage?
Last Friday was a one day window. Once you get to the Bahamas you need to cross the banks. Your at least 75 to 80 miles to anything else from Bimini. We have sailed the US coasts, Bahamas several times, northern and western Caribbean. A two day window slammed shut on us on the Bahamas banks and that was the one time we almost lost the boat. That is factoring in 15 named storms we have been in. We don't do weather windows to the Bahamas that don't give us at least one extra day to get to safe harbor and we don't do windows that will get us over there and then keep us in an expensive marina for a week before we can cross the banks. Mostly because we don't have to. Chuck
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:01 AM   #16
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Last year about this time, I met up with another Krogen Manatee headed south out of Miami. He told me over the VHF that he'd already been out in the Gulfstream twice and turned back, even though the weather report sounded good. He said he was headed for the Keys instead, and later reported they had the time of their lives down there. If you don't have the window, dock at my place and go to the boat show.
Are you planning on coming down for the show?
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:10 AM   #17
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Chuck: Yes, I'm coming down on Thursday from Stuart by car. We have guests that will be coming Thursday evening for dinner, but since Bucky is in Stuart, we have the dock space and a 30 amp service and water. The guests are also boat contacts from Michigan that are down for the show, so we're headed there anyway. I'm back in the canals and it's a little intimidating the first time with boats our size, but there's a 55 or so footer across from me. As long as you're confident with the predictability of your boat, no problem getting in. I have about 65 ft. or so on the wall, and 50 ft. of dock. You're welcome to come along to the show. Wind is typically no issue back in there since you're surrounded by houses and trees. A thruster helps, but I've got a single screw on Bucky and it's no problem.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:16 PM   #18
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Chuck, not sure where you're headed once you're over there but looks like the crossing is OK for the next day or two 2-3 ft seas with 15-20 kts SW winds. That was pretty much what we got on our return from west end last May. I noticed the Bahamas forecast for the banks was 3-5 ft seas, that could be problematic.
Good luck and let us know your plans.
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:21 AM   #19
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Maybe today?! The wind has certainly died down in Islamarada.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:06 AM   #20
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I know a couple that moved their boat over from Florida's West coast to Stuart to wait for a crossing to the Bahamas. They got tired of waiting in Stuart, and went down to West Palm Beach. They got tired of waiting there, and went down to Ft. Lauderdale to wait. After getting tired of that, they decided to cruise up to the St. Johns and do that cruise. They didn't get to the Bahamas that year.

I have found May to be one of the more reliable months for a crossing. However, there have been problems then too. When you get over you have to get back. Last year we waited about 5 days on weather to return. That was in early June. A flexible schedule is a must.
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