The Exumas Planning

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the challenge of crossing….

We are looking for a sailing exit window to make the run from Miami to the Exumas. This run is only about 200 miles but it is nearly due east. The trade winds normally are blowing from the east and that makes it impossible to sail east. The winds will shift to the south when a storm up north in PA, VA, NJ, etc develops and then drags a cold front across Florida and out to sea. When this happens, an approaching cold front, these SOUTH winds develop and that lays down the northward flowing gulf stream and makes for even a better crossing. With south winds we can sail all the way east up onto the Bahama Banks and then keep sailing all night long into the tongue of the ocean and onto one of the three customs and immigration check in points. These are: Chub Cay, Andros Island, or Nassau. We like Andros or Chub.

Here is a south wind, but this has now changed

Waves in the gulf stream can be 5-10 feet when the north wind is blowing against the north flowing waters. The other situation is that an approaching cold front also means approaching strong North West and North and North East winds as the front moves through the area. That too is a bad situation because many of the hiding places are not good in North winds, most are protected from East winds. This weather timing game is a real challenge. You can have a calm peaceful passage if played right or you can beat yourself up and break your boat by getting the decision wrong or by having the winds and cold fronts advance faster than expected.
We have our boat loaded, fully stocked up as planned for a March 1 exit. All systems have been checked, and we are waiting. Waiting for a good weather window. Waiting means enjoying the Biscayne Bay beaches, anchorages, South Beach, Key Biscayne, etc. We visit with boat buddies, share plans and routes, have cocktail parties, and walk the Coconut Grove town. It is not a rough job to wait for a good weather window especially when here in the Dinner Key area. There is plenty to do and plenty to entertain yourself with, so we have no problem waiting. Remember, our goals this year are two: #1, Biscayne Bay area for at least a month; #2. Block Island for the summer, everything else is a bonus. So let’s wait for a good weather window….

Here are images we are studying and tools we are using.

NOAA Chart Viewer Online

Our own summary of the courses and the legs, distance and times

This is a calm before the storm winds
one feather is 10 knots, 1/2 feather is 5 knots
Here you see 5 knots for our crossing
Then you see 25 knots up north coming our way
Can you beat this?????

This is the NORMAL east trade winds. You cannot go east in this
If you are in the Exumas, you can sail north and south

Sail along with us, use these tools and study the weather. When would you make this run? What looks good to you. See the winds and the waves here:

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0 Replies to “The Exumas Planning”

  1. Well… if you have to wait out the weather I'd say Dinner Key is a pretty good place to hang out.

    We're back in the Beauzone. Its 30's and wet and windy. Hard to believe that just a few days ago I was sweating with Mikey and Friends.

    Gracie say hi. So does Lucy.

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