Going Barmy

Suzie Too - Western Caribbean
David & Suzanne Chappell
Thu 22 Dec 2011 15:12
There are many yachts and motor yachts all hanging around the southern end of Florida waiting to cross the Gulf Stream out to the Bahamas. As we have sailed down the coast we have gybed downwind to stay inside it to minimise the counter current and not get further inshore than the 10 metre contour, so typically 2 – 5 M offshore, as we are always on a lee shore and the waves and swell can be very unpleasant.
On the passage down from Port Canaveral to Palm Beach the Gulf Stream comes right in shore at the Jupiter Inlet, so the last 15M we had about 1.5kts of current against us, then it stays on the coast to Miami.
Now as we move south we are going to be heading into the current, so need to avoid any northerly wind as the wind against current can produce 30ft waves at 5 second intervals. We have checked the ICW and all the bridges from Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale, about 40M, are all lifting and allegedly the channel is dredged to 10ft, but they warn against boats deeper than 8ft trying it, so that eliminates us at 8’ 6” 5/16” (aren’t those old inches things ridiculous) no point getting half way and getting stuck.
The current plan is go around the outside tomorrow to Fort Lauderdale for Christmas, from 23 to 26 Dec meeting up with some other boats, then moving south through the Keys to be in Key West for New Year. We then plan to leave Key West around Jan 2 back up to Key Largo to be far enough south to cross the 60M of Gulf Stream, straight to North Bimini to clear into the Bahamas and at the moment Jan 2 – 5 looks good to cross.
We need to be in Nassau for Jan 11 and have booked the marina as Bev (mother of Dr Jonathan Barclay on the TV “Young Doctors” series) is coming out, unfortunately her husband, Phil, is now pretty much confined to his wheelchair with his MS (and he’s just one month older than me), so he can’t make it. The rest of the crowd seem to be set on crossing on Dec 27 or 28 as the wind is from the south and with 3kts of favourable current in really warm crystal blue green water and sunshine it should be just beautiful.
Gulf Stream