Sailing Topics

 

Bahamas Cruises
I haven't made that many cruises to these islands just on the other side of the Gulf Stream from Florida.  Two brief cruises on Sarah in 2005 barely qualify.  Those were just just shakedown cruises prior to going trans-Atlantic to Portugal, and I never got further than the Abacos.
Links to the previous shakedown cruises to the Bahamas are provided in both The Atlantic Circle and The Bahamas menus on the left.  That menu also includes my Bahamas cruises over the winter of 2009 and 2014.  Even then I never got out of the Abacos.
After completing the Atlantic Circle from 2005 to 2007 and spending the better part of 2008 tied to a dock on the Chesapeake I and Sarah were ready for another adventure and these islands just off shore seemed like a great destination.
First I had to get Sarah to the Bahamas.   Steve Angst, who crewed on Sarah from the Azores to Portugal in 2005 signed on to help me get here there.  There two routes to the Bahamas from the Chesapeake.
  1. The ICW: Follow the Intra-Coastal Waterway down the US East Coast to Florida then  cross the Gulf Stream and the Straits of Florida to either the Abacos in the north or Bimini a little further south.
  2. Off-Shore:  Head offshore at the most convenient point on the coast and sail directly to the Bahamas, either inside the Gulf Stream following the U.S. coast line or across the Gulf Stream down the eastern side of the Bahamas.
My preference (and Steve's strong preference) was the off-shore route.  Both Steve and I enjoy sailing off-shore more than inshore and much more than motoring down a ditch for a thousand miles.  I have taken boats down a portion of the ICW twice before, once with Sarah.  The first time was interesting, the second tedious.  Steve was with me for a portion of the trip on Sarah.  I think he found the first time tedious. 
So for us the choice was really where to depart for off-shore and which route to use to get to the Bahamas.  We decided it was prudent to start the off-shore sail south of Cape Hatteras.  If we decide to stay inside the Gulf Stream departing south of Hatteras will save several hundred miles.  Therefore we took 5 days to move Sarah from her berth near Solomons, MD to Beaufort, NC.  Once we arrived in Beaufort Steve departed for a brief trip home while I completed plans for the off-shore route.
Steve returned on Nov 1, but once again weather conditions were not in our favor.  For the next two weeks we worked our way down the ICW with repeated attempts to go outside.  Finally Steve's vacation time ran out in Melbourne and he departed.  I briefly left Sarah in Melbourne to celebrate Thanksgiving with my brothers.
In mid-December I departed Melbourne for the Bahamas single-handed.
I spent the entire winter of 2008/9 in the Abacos.  As of June 26, 2009 Sarah is berthed at the BridgePointe Marina in New Bern, NC.  A winter spent almost entirely at anchor pointed out several shortcomings in Sarah's setup.  I hope to correct these shortcomings during this summer before heading south again for the winter.