In our navigational chart it states: A good weather window for crossing the gulf stream from Florida to the Bahamas occurs when yesterday’s breeze was SE at less than 15 knots, today’s is S at less than 15 and tomorrow’s forecast is S-SW less than 15-20. A moderate northerly breeze against the gulf stream increases swells and makes for an uncomfortable crossing. A strong northerly (NW, N, or NE) will produce dangerous steep breaking seas.
Today we are anchored in Lake Worth waiting to cross to the Bahamas and it is blowing from the south at 20-30 knots. Hoping for a weather window in a few days. We are stuck on the boat today because it is too choppy for our dinghy to get ashore. We have a long list of groceries and marine supplies to get before the crossing. This morning we were rudely awakened by our boat hitting the boat anchored next to us. Strong wind and strong currents resulted in us swinging in opposite directions and BANG! No serious damage appears to have occurred. This is a big port and very large tanker ships and cruise ships are coming and going right by our anchorage.
I arrived yesterday by air after working (and partying of course–it’s Christmas!) for 3 weeks. Bruce has spent the past 3 weeks doing repairs in St. Augustine and then did a 41 hour solo passage from St. Augustine to Lake Worth (West Palm Beach). The major repairs included replacing the head gasket for the diesel engine, rebuilding the water pump, replacing the sump switch, replacing four windows (due to leaking), making modifications to our hard dodger including decreasing the height by 7 inches, building a rainwater collection system to come off the solar panels, and fixing the autopilot and of course many other small tasks. He tried to fix our stuck-in-the-down position swing keel. It couldn’t be done without either hauling the boat out or diving under. Bruce bought used scuba gear but the water temperature in St. Augustine was not bearable even with a wetsuit. Once he got to Lake Worth, he was able to dive under and fix it. Going to the Bahamas with a stuck keel (8.5 foot draft) wouldn’t have been a good idea in the shallow Bahamian waters. Now our draft is 4.5 feet. We will drop it down to decrease drift while crossing the gulf stream.