We departed Green Turtle Cay this past Tuesday, April 19, 2016 for Great Sal Cay to position ourselves for a Gulf Stream crossing later in the week, either Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. As Wednesday didn’t look favorable we decided to wait until Thursday to depart around 3:00 pm for an evening crossing of the Gulf Stream to get a favorable incoming tide into the Ft. Pierce, Florida Inlet. We also wanted to have the advantage of a full moon for better nighttime visibility. After listening to the Thursday morning weather report we decided to change our plan for a nighttime crossing of the Gulf Stream to a daytime crossing so delayed our start time from 3:00 pm to 12:47 am Friday morning. Got a few hours rest prior to departing, woke up at midnight, got ready and pulled up anchor, set our mainsail and took off across the Little Bahama Bank in the dark heading toward the Gulf Stream. We crossed over into the Atlantic at about 09:40 about 13 minutes later than our plan. Captain Larry inadvertently slowed down thinking we did not have to be at this waypoint until 09:47 am. He was properly chastised. Later in the day when the winds really kicked in we were able to make up this time easily.
We got to the eastern edge of the Gulf Stream around noontime and began to pick up a boost in speed for the next four (4) hours as we crossed the Gulf Stream, sometimes as high as 8.5 knots ground speed or more especially closer to Florida. Around 14 miles east of Ft. Pierce Inlet the Gulf Stream speed thrill stopped but then the winds really started picking up and our speed did not drop off too drastically.
As we approached Ft. Pierce Inlet you could see a threatening thunderstorm that was then drenching the south end of Hutchinson Island so we doused our mainsail and continued to motor into the inlet. The storm did not hit us as it went out to sea behind us but the winds got brisk for a while there, once up to 30 knots.
As the incoming tidal current flow was at its peak going into the inlet as we had planned our arrival to coincide with it was a sweet quick ride up into Ft. Pierce Harbor, after which we turned south and headed over to our boat slip here in Harbour Isle Marina arriving at 7:45 pm.
As novice ocean sailors it was a challenging nineteen (19) hour trip but an excellent learning experience.
Here is our last Bahama sunset.
Stayed tuned for further adventures.
Gerry & Larry