Sail Routing from New York City to the Bahamas or Florida Direct.

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NYC to the Bahamas

The best time to head offshore directly to the Bahamas or Florida would be during the month of November. This will avoid the hurricane season, and much of the tropical storms. But don’t wait to much longer that this, once you get past the month of November, there are strong northerlies in the winter months, that will kick up the Gulf Stream, creating very dangerous conditions. More southerly land falls in the Bahamas are best from northern starting points, as you will want to head offshore a fair bit to avoid the gulf stream after Cape Hatteras.

I would head out of NYC, after Long island, with a straight rhum line for Cape Hatteras, keep a sharp eye on the weather. Listen to all the forecasts, if you have internet weather or sirius weather on board, that is great. This will keep you relatively near the shore, once at the Cape, if you see 2-3 days of clear weather, then make your way around the cape. If not, then duck in on the inside, and do that part on the inside through the ICW and come out after the cape. The inside route could take as much as 3-4 days, the outside will take as little as 1 good day.
If you draw a straight rhum line for Miami, you will mostly be out of the gulf stream. This will take you 150 to 200 miles offshore at the widest part away from land, but as you keep moving towards miami, this gap will slowly narrow as you near Florida. If you are worried, you can just hug the shore, 10 miles out, keep out of the stream, and hug the shore down. But more things to watch out for doing this, fishing boats, recreational vessels, whale sanctuaries and fishing traps, and will take you a few days longer.
Have a look at our diagram, the blue line is a rhum line from NYC to the Bahamas. You’ll want to take the same precautions and watch for Northerlies or storms developing. You can either duck inside at the Cape, or head further offshore out of the Gulf Stream. The best way to cross the Gulf here is head ESE, directly at right angle across the stream, and head about 100 miles offshore of the Cape before you change your course for a more southerly direction. If the winds are very light it is best to use your engines to clear this area as soon as possible. Best land fall is San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. Ironically, this is said to be the place where Christopher Columbus first said foot on the American Continent.
Another Successful Delivery using this Routing to the Bahamas
Just completed this in 6.5 days from NYC to the Bahamas, landed at Little San Salvadore (aka Half Moon Bay) A little island between Eleuthera and Cat Island and then another 9 hour sail to Georgetown Bahamas.
Distance about 1,200 nautical miles on the Rhum line (As the crow flys or  2,200 kms) in 6.5 days non-stop. We had at least one 200 mile day. Average speed was over 7 knots sustained for the whole week. Many times we were sailing 8 to 9 knots and surfing double digits. Our max recorded surf speed was 15.5 knots. Average sailed per day 172 nautical miles or 316 kms. Greatest distance offshore (from land) was 300 nautical miles or 555km for those non-sailors.
Below Pics of our actual track plot.
Here are a couple of shots of our track. The above illustration is the general direction, the below pics show exactly how it should be done safely. One is a spot track record, the other is my bread crumb track from the chart plotter. The X waypoints, were simply dropped way points to record the vessel position of our buddy boat on this trip. We checked in ever few hours so we always knew where we were located.
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Spot Tracking Record Above
Track Bread Crumb Trail from Chart plotter, Screen is set to boat up, meaning top is where the bow is pointing or heading. So the Top will be south, and the bottom is North. The Way Points X’s are simply plots of our buddy boat along for this ride, “Fortune’s Favour” a 45 Jeanneau DS, we recorded their location ever so often.

s/v Black Diamond

I have been boating for over 25 years, at the age of 43, this is more than half of my life time. Starting out with a number of smaller power boats, then switching to sail about 8 years ago. I have sailed various boats from wind surfers, dinghies (lasers), keel boats from 26 to 45 foot yachts. I live in the area of Toronto Canada and sail mostly on Lake Ontario. I have been racing yachts for the past 7 years. I have also entered many long distance races such as the Fort Lauderdale to Charleston, completed in 2 days 8 hours, we received 4th place in division, 8 minutes in PHRF behind a 3rd place trophy. Then 4 times finishing the Susan Hood, a 75 mile over night race, 4 times entered in the Lake Ontario 300 the worlds longest fresh water race, a 308 knotical mile race around the perimeter of Lake Ontario. My crew and I on Black Diamond finished in 2 days 12 hours in 2009. In 2009, delivering the boat back up to Canada from the Bahamas we entered in a couple of interesting races, one from Fort Lauderdale to Charleston described as a sled ride up the gulf stream, the Charleston race week regatta series and the New Year's Day Staniel Cay Regatta in the Exumas, Bahamas. This race we came in 2nd over entire fleet, only lost by 3 minutes in a 2 hour race to a 47 footer. This was a boat for boat race, no PHRF scoring. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So cast off the bowline, Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain Blue water experience include yacht deliveries from the Abacos, Bahamas to Charleston South Carolina 2006. This delivery was a non-stop, 3 and half days, total of 500 miles. We crossed parts of the Bermuda Triangle, and during most of the delivery were over 200 miles offshore. The delivery of Black Diamond a 40 foot Jeanneau racer/cruiser has been delivered to New York City and then offshore to Florida and the Bahamas from Toronto, Canada. This delivery from NYC to Florida was completed 100 miles offshore, for a distance of over a 1000 miles non-stop to Jacksonville, Florida. Completed in what might be a cruisers record of 5 days 3 hours non-stop offshore. This fall my family and I added another 500 miles of sailing throughout much of the Bahamas. Spending 6 weeks aboard Black Diamond sailing the Abacos, Nassau and the Exumas. I then sailed the boat back to New York, completely offshore, entered a few races along the way, and back to Toronto through the Hudson River and Erie Canal. During the 2009 season, we sailed Black Diamond off the dock 148 different days out of 365, winning the Vacant Dock award the second year in a row. Most recently, 2011, completed the delivery of friends boat Tracey & Nilson Ruiz, from Tortoal, BVI to New York. Tortola to Georgetown Bahamas in 5 days non-stop. Last leg from Charleston to New York over the momorial day long week-end non-stop Friday to Monday in 4 days. All completed safe and sound without incedent. Need any deliveries let me know. I am also an Open Water Certified diver and an active member of the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron, certifications included Power/Sail boat handling, Seamanship Sail, Piloting/charting, GPS Navigation, Extended Offshore Cruising and a VHF Radio operation license. I hope to further my education, qualifications and experience in long distance cruising and racing. One of my goals is to obtain a commercial Captains License. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]

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2 Responses

  1. Sergio Potes says:

    will follow you …..have access to HF as a ham radio operator….hope you have your ham license….is good to have if you are cruising….happy cruising!

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