• On September 1st, Maine Sail suffered a major hemorrhagic stroke. One of the most generous members of our sailing community, he has helped thousands. Now it's our turn. Click here to learn more

Hi everyone...

Mar 6, 2017
36
Bristol Corsair 24 Tampa
Regarding weather window to cross to Bahamas, whats such from eastern Florida (where there) whats the latest you can cross before the northern winds and current changes occur. Thx
C
 
Feb 14, 2014
5,706
Hunter 430 Waveland, MS
weather window to cross to Bahamas
You might try asking that question in this Forum.

Weather and Forecasting

It really depends on your timing, gear, and sailing skills.

Example:
I would want steady winds out of the North for the fastest crossing, and you need to understand the Gulf Stream's Steady Northern flow.

It may take a few days to help in that Forum, but there are many sailors that have made that crossing.:)

The best weather forecasts are only 5 days, 10 days is a stretch.;)
Jim...
 
  • Like
Likes: sailingsoon
Mar 6, 2017
36
Bristol Corsair 24 Tampa
You might try asking that question in this Forum.

Weather and Forecasting

It really depends on your timing, gear, and sailing skills.

Example:
I would want steady winds out of the North for the fastest crossing, and you need to understand the Gulf Stream's Steady Northern flow.

It may take a few days to help in that Forum, but there are many sailors that have made that crossing.:)

The best weather forecasts are only 5 days, 10 days is a stretch.;)
Jim...
Hey Jim
My boat is a slow one with a gentle ride Bristol Corsair 24. 6000 lbs plus gear, ect for 6 months to a year. The dog and myself. To Bimini, how long?
C
 
Jan 1, 2006
6,073
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
Where are you departing from? Prevailing wind on the East coast of Florida is Southeast. It can blow Southeast for days on end. In the Winter we get fronts with Northwest, Northwest and then East wind that last 3-4 days. I have not done that crossing but people here say not to cross in any Northerly wind due to the wind against current steep waves. If you can make 5 knots it would be about 15 hours. A lot of folks time it for a daylight arrival.
 
Feb 14, 2014
5,706
Hunter 430 Waveland, MS
I would suggest using this weather, distance and planning site.
Windy as forecasted

There are tutorials for planning a boating trip that includes daily weather with your current position and will help plan the daily sailing conditions.

I meant what type of gear will you have aboard.
1) Satellite radio
2) Foul weather gear
3) Auto Pilot
4) Life Raft
5) Navigational

_______
You might try a fictional trip using Windy.com or just a coastal sail.

Here is a forecast for the Gulf Stream.

Jim...
 
Jul 12, 2011
984
Catalina 36 1771 Ft Pierce, Florida
For planning any crossing, anywhere, "Depends" is the most important word. Sailing a 26 ft. sailboat across the Gulf Stream is certainly do-able, but watch your weather and remember you probably have to get back at some point. Make sure your boat and safety gear is up for things going bad - people die out there every year or get hauled up to a helo by the Coasties, so it's not a casual day-sail.

Specific questions - weather window of five days is pretty good. Winds from the north in the past day will push against Stream current making "square waves" - a nasty short-cycle chop that feels very bad. Allow for a 3-4 knot north drift over 10-15 miles of your passage, so there will be 8-10 miles of northing for a small boat that you must allow for. This is why most folk go south first, then cross the Stream as quickly as they can directly across, so ESE. Bahamas charts are good, but aids to navigation sometimes missing. Strongly suggest you plan to cross mainly at night to arrive mid-day so you do not have to make harbor at night. The only good thing about Covid is that there are not cruise ships every other mile!

From this morning's NOAA forecast, so it's not something to trifle with:
GULF STREAM HAZARDS
Seas of 6 to 8 feet early today,
subsiding to 4 to 6 feet by this evening.
 
  • Helpful
Likes: JamesG161
Oct 22, 2014
16,092
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
SailingSoon, an interesting question and a good start. I have not made this adventure you are considering. I hear it is a "Rite of Passage" for boaters in Florida waters.

If I were considering the 50nm trip (shortest distance direct line) I would begin with being sure that both I and my boat were properly prepared for open ocean. 50nm sounds like it is just next door. 10 hours if you can average 5 knots, to reach the closest island in the 700 island archipelago.

Remember that sitcom and the sailors who went out for a "3 hr tour", I would be planning for water, food and supplies to be on the ocean a week.

In no particular order ideas that would be part of my planning:
  • Boat preparation to be sure if the boat was knocked over on it's side or (god forbid) upside down that everything would still be in it's place when the boat righted her self.
  • The boat is water tight even if the waves came crashing down from above the boat.
  • That the cockpit will empty any water that gets into the cockpit quickly
  • The boat has both electric and manual means to empty large volumes of water.
  • Skipper has practiced navigational skills and has sailed in the gulf stream even if only for a day sail.
  • Skipper has safely cruised in low visibility conditions.
  • All electronic systems are working flawlessly, and there are backup procedures and systems if my favorite dies 10 miles from shore.
  • Skipper and crew are prepared to live on the boat if the Bahamian Government will not let them land.
  • Skipper has been on the boat away from land for a 24-48 hour period and has experienced the constant motion of the boat over that period (mal de mer - experience).
  • Skipper is prepared (knowledge and skill) to repair/rescue his boat and crew should something break
  • Skipper has developed the skill to read the weather conditions on the sea as well as on the electronics systems.
A starter list. Good luck.
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,951
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
I live on the "West Coast" and the closest I've been to FL is when I visited my aunt & uncle in 1968. That said, you've asked what is a recurring question that is rather simple to answer. You "go" when the wind doesn't oppose the Gulf Stream north flowing current. How do I know this? I read a lot of boating forums. This one, my C34 'site, Sailnet (rarely), and www.cruisersforum.com, which is THE ONE website you SHOULD & MUST read for this sort of input. Why? Because the question gets asked so regularly that it is easy to find the answer. There are simply more people doing that trip on THAT website than there are on this one. They get into details of where to make your first landfall, and how long it takes.

One other thing: That old Boat Babe on Strike thread, right here on this forum, and recently mentioned here (dare I suggest a search?) included a log of their trip to the Bahamas on their 25 foot sailboat. They included enough details to answer your questions, too.

Safe journey, enjoy.