Sailing Sunnyside

Adventures from the crew of Sunnyside!

Fast but rough Gulf Stream crossing to Pt. Canaveral, Florida, USA

Mark hauled anchor in Cross Bay, West End, Bahamas at 2:30 pm. It took a few spins around before the boat would stay in the wind with one engine running and Mark could hoist the main sail. Lots of boats, both power and sail, coming to the marina.

Then he attempted to put up the spinnaker a few times. Our instruments are off was the reason. I helped by pulling in the red line. We saw speeds over 7 knots before it eased off with 6 knot speed. Mark regretted the effort of putting up the spinnaker when we just should have used our main and genoa. We are heading west into the Gulf Stream and then we will go North. The current is against us by half a knot or more.

The sun is shining and the seas are not big, just choppy waters. We passed many power boats heading to the marina with most of them asking for a slip. It’s not a cheap place for a 65 footer.

Mark is adjusting things. I was on Starlink, but Mark said the solars are in the shade of the main sail, so we needed to turn off Starlink, which I did. Just catching up on my blog.

I put together the sailblog and Facebook post with the few pictures we took since leaving Hoffman’s Island.

We had an light dinner while underway as the waves were bashing. We reached speeds of up to 8 knots with the spinnaker and main sail flying. We had current against us. Another boat was sailing our route with genoa and main sail.

After adjusting a couple of times, Mark decided to drop the spinnaker and I helped him pack it away in the front locker. Then he unfurled the genoa and that’s what we used as we sailed towards the Gulf Stream.

I decided I was tired, since we didn’t get enough sleep last night. I headed to bed at 7 pm, leaving Mark with his life jacket on, tending the helm. The boat was rocking so much that I barely slept an hour or so and got up. I told Mark to take a rest, so he tried to sleep in the cockpit.

He rested for an hour and a half, but didn’t sleep. So, he told me to try. At this point we were sailing in the Gulf Stream. Our speed was increased by up to 3 knots, so we were sailing at 11-12 knots. However, the wind was variable speeds. It was extremely rocky.

Mark said our solars didn’t perform while the sails were up, so he ran the port engine in neutral, just to charge the batteries. We were still sailing fast. There were boats around us. If they had AIS we could see who they were and where they were in location to our path.

I am not sure I slept much. I got up as it was not comfortable on the cushions with the rocking and bashing. Mark shut off the engine and we were sailing. He tried to sleep again. This time he slept two hours while I manned the helm. I noticed a powerboat very close on the starboard side and woke Mark to check. Mark thinks it was a drug patrol boat that came close enough in the dark to look at us and then motored South.

We both tried sleeping, but it was bouncing too much. After we got out of the main current of the Gulf Stream, we worked our West towards Pt. Canaveral. Initially, we had a bit of a boost, but eventually, the current was against us by almost a full knot.

We motor/sailed with the main sail as there was little wind to fill the genoa. We followed the channel through the port area. Mark radioed for a bridge opening at 9:30 am and they opened on demand. Then we had to wait two powerboats to exit the lock, before entering behind a small center console boat.

There were lots of large fish swimming in the lock. It’s a huge lock. The lock master told us to wear our life jackets, which we just took off after exiting the ocean. When the gate closed, it filled with maybe a foot of water. We exited the lock following the small boat named, The Office.

Mark chose the anchorage on the North side of the lock. After anchoring, Mark used the US Customs app, CBP-ROAM, to check clear customs and record our arrival in the US.

It took 4 hours for them to approve our request. By then, we ate lunch and headed to bed to catch up on some missing sleep and were in bed sleeping when we were notified of the approval.

We made phone calls with Starlink turned on. Then, Mark launched the dinghy, as I just wanted to do some walking as we had been on the boat for two days. We stopped and chatted with Matt on Fishy Biz and saw many dolphins around the bridge area.

In summary, our sail of 155 nautical miles took us 19 hours. The Gulf Stream really helped our speed. We are thankful to be back in Florida!