Florida to the Chesapeake

Dec 19, 2019
6
Hunter 97 Passage 42 Newark NJ
Anyone heading north to the Chesapeake from Florida. I plan on leaving sometime next week and could use some pointers. Would like to stay outside when weather permits. Thanks Ray 42 ft Hunter Passage La Bella Vita
 
May 1, 2011
2,319
Pearson 37 Lusby MD
When I brought my boat up from Ft. Lauderdale in June 2008, I laid out my track to follow the Gulf stream north and peeled out on about a 50-NM radius off Cape Hatteras. Got as much as a 2-kt bump in speed over the ground. :beer:
 
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Jun 14, 2010
1,726
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
When I brought my boat up from Ft. Lauderdale in June 2008, I laid out my track to follow the Gulf stream north and peeled out on about a 50-NM radius off Cape Hatteras. Got as much as a 2-kt bump in speed over the ground. :beer:
50nm out and 50nm back to get a 2kt lift over a distance of perhaps 500nm. +100 nm extra distance traveled. I don't see a clear return on that, especially if the wind turns to any quadrant with an N. Approximate RBL rumbline is ~525 nm? I don't know your average boat speed through the water, but on a Pearson 37 perhaps 5-6k?
 

colemj

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Jul 13, 2004
88
Dolphin Catamaran Dolphin 460 Mystic, CT
We've done this trip several times, and are about to do it again (only leaving from the Bahamas instead of FL).

The Gulf Stream is onshore at West Palm, and touches Diamond Shoals at Hatteras. The rumb line from WP to DS will have you crossing the GS twice, while only being 40-50nm shorter than curving around staying in the GS with a 2-3kt speed bump. So if one waits for a weather window, getting into the Gulf Stream and following it up to Hatteras can easily cut a day off the trip, even though it is a bit longer distance - you are getting a free extra 48-72nm each day you are in the GS.

To avoid the GS by staying on the inside of it is 50nm longer than the rumb line, puts you in the 0.5-1kt counter current against you, keeps you in shallow water that can get really confused and choppy with any wind, makes you round closely Frying Pan Shoals and Cape Lookout Shoals, and adds at least a day to the passage. With all of those disadvantages and potential dangers, the only advantage is it puts you 25nm closer to land if you need to bug out to a harbor.

Of course, an alternate route would be day/overnight harbor hopping up the coast. Even taking the ICW from Beaufort to Norfolk to avoid Hatteras altogether and enjoy some of the best of NC, if your air draft permits.

Mark
 
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DArcy

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Feb 11, 2017
1,253
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
I'm certainly no expert when it comes to the Gulf Stream, Mark is far more experienced than I am, but here is an illustration of how much boost you can get from the favorable current. The Gulf Stream moves from day to day and I have no idea how accurate this site is but you can get updated information from Windy.com - just select the currents layer. You will likely need to turn on this layer by clicking on More layers... then flipping the switch for Currents.

It's worth checking because there are sometimes counter currents along shore which can be as much as a knot flowing South meaning you could have as much as 4 knots difference between a few miles offshore vs. 100 miles offshore. Other days may have a North flowing current near shore so only a 2 knot difference.

Gulf Stream Sample.jpg
 
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Jun 7, 2021
1
Downeast Brigantine schooner Port Canaveral
This is my first post on this forum, but I’ve been active on others (who shall remain nameless).
I’m interested to read this post because I’m going to bring my schooner up from Port Canaveral to Pamlico Sound at the end of this month. Windy.com is indeed a fabulous resource, and I’ll be hauling the Gulf Stream all the way to Beaufort inlet, then up Adams Creek.