Classics Across the Gulfstream

Use this forum to announce, plan, and discuss events, cruises, regattas, shows, sailing destinations, events your club is planning, etc.

Moderators: kmclemore, NiceAft, Hamin' X, Catigale, beene

User avatar
buck_justice
Deckhand
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:56 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26S
Location: San Antonio TX

Classics Across the Gulfstream

Post by buck_justice » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:05 am

I know the powersailers make the trip, but was wondering if the classics have made the trip, and how they would fair making the crossing? I sure would like to spend a few months exploring the BVI!
Buck

User avatar
Ixneigh
Admiral
Posts: 1954
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:00 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Key largo Florida

Re: Classics Across the Gulfstream

Post by Ixneigh » Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:35 am

These boats are too light to take to the virgins unless you have a serious deathwish or have already won the lottery three consecutive times. In which case buy a more suitable yacht.
With care they have explored the Bahamas with little issue.

Ix

User avatar
Chinook
Admiral
Posts: 1655
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2006 7:20 pm
Location: LeavenworthWA 2002 26x, Suzuki DF60A

Re: Classics Across the Gulfstream

Post by Chinook » Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:53 pm

I suggest you get in touch with Sumner Patterson, who used to regularly post here. He owns a 25 classic and has crossed the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas with it, cruising as far as the Exumas. He's very experienced with the boat, and enjoys sharing what he's learned.

Starscream
Captain
Posts: 810
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:08 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26X
Location: Montreal, Quebec. 2002 26X - Etec90

Re: Classics Across the Gulfstream

Post by Starscream » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:35 pm

Here is the link to Summer's Bahamas trip on his 26S. A fascinating read.

http://1fatgmc.com/boat/mac-1/2015%20Ba ... -Menu.html


And so is this... With an X, not a 'classic' but still...

http://chinook.cecka.us/?cat=5

User avatar
NiceAft
Admiral
Posts: 4402
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:28 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Upper Dublin,PA, USA: 2005M 50hp.Honda4strk.,1979 Phantom Sport Sailboat, 9'Achilles 6HP Merc 4strk

Re: Classics Across the Gulfstream

Post by NiceAft » Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:07 am

Just to be clear; I don’t believe any of our Mac’s sailed to the Bahamas. To the best of my knowledge, they powered across the seventy or so miles. I understand that when the cool waters off shore meet up with the warm Gulf Stream, it gets rough.

When the Conch Cruisers used to do it (emphasis on “used to”), their site posted that they went as fast as the slowest boat in the group. How are your boat skills? They also used to list bare minimum requirements as to what to bring. Some of which were doubled up for safety.

Ray

User avatar
buck_justice
Deckhand
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:56 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26S
Location: San Antonio TX

Re: Classics Across the Gulfstream

Post by buck_justice » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:24 am

So crossing the gulf stream has been done multiple times by many different Mac boats! It sounds like the proper time of year with a decent weather window, would allow Mac’s to cross. I’m pretty sure all those Conch Crusiers didn’t have a “death wish” ! The article on the Conch Cruisers was a good read. It shows how proper planning and knowledge can mitigate risk down to an acceptable level. And, that was quite a few years ago from what I understand. Chart plotters were only had by a few boats. Our weather reporting is much better these days! I still would like to win the lottery and get myself a bigger boat though🤒 I better go buy a ticket!
Thanks for the input
Buck

User avatar
NiceAft
Admiral
Posts: 4402
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:28 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Upper Dublin,PA, USA: 2005M 50hp.Honda4strk.,1979 Phantom Sport Sailboat, 9'Achilles 6HP Merc 4strk

Re: Classics Across the Gulfstream

Post by NiceAft » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:35 am

All of the research I have done over the last fifteen years of owning our :macm: is those who have made the crossing have researched it Ad Infinitum.

Ray

User avatar
buck_justice
Deckhand
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:56 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26S
Location: San Antonio TX

Re: Classics Across the Gulfstream

Post by buck_justice » Wed Jan 08, 2020 2:41 pm

So correct me if I am wrong please, but it seems like since the turn of the century it seems that boats 32 foot and under are looked down upon by the majority of cruisers. As not being seaworthy. If you don’t have a 40’ sailboat the you need to stay in the bay, or inland lake! Are Mac boats really built that weak structurally? I know the video shows a MAC performing in 18’ seas?
With weather predictions and forecast being what they are, I would think that a reasonably experienced sailor would be able to sail a hundred mile passage safely. Obviously the different seasons have to be taken into account, but that’s part of being a responsible sailor.
As far as the classics and the Powersailors are concerned, my opinion is that the only advantage the PS has is the power. And when things get rough hull speed is all they can do anyway. “Please correct me if I’m wrong” plus get out before it gets bad obviously! But I did not think that they were built any stronger, except in the transom area? Or am I mistaken on all counts? Theses are just my thoughts!
Buck

User avatar
Chinook
Admiral
Posts: 1655
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2006 7:20 pm
Location: LeavenworthWA 2002 26x, Suzuki DF60A

Re: Classics Across the Gulfstream

Post by Chinook » Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:47 pm

Regarding the comment about whether a Mac has sailed across the Gulf Stream, pure sailing that passage poses problems for our small boats. In order to sail you need wind. Ordinarily, wind out of the north would allow you to sail on a reach, however, any north wind strong enough to sail with would be against the flow of the Gulf Stream, therefore creating dangerously steep and high seas. Wind on the nose is out of the question, since tacking into it would be so slow that you'd make insignificant progress, and simply be swept to the north by the Gulf Stream. (When talking about the Gulf Stream, think in terms of a 40 +/- mile wide river, flowing north at 3 to 4 knots). A strong, steady south wind would be ideal, but south winds down there are often weak, and clocking, which means that they don't stay from the south very long. Same goes with westerly winds, which are usually short term and on their way to clocking to the dangerous northerly quadrant. Given our short hull length, it's hard to sail a Mac at speeds above 4 knots for any extended length of time. In order to make a Gulf Stream crossing just with sails, you'd need to maintain 5 knots for 12 to 14 hours, and you'd need to start out well to the south of your intended landfall, probably on the order of 30 to 40 miles south. I'm not saying it couldn't be done, just that there are significant complications and limitations. All that said, the ideal crossing condition for a MacGregor would be 2 or 3 days with no north wind in the forecast, and preferably with a 10 knot southerly wind, clocking to the west. In our 3 trips to the Bahamas, we've experienced such conditions just once, allowing for some very pleasant motor sailing. Most of the time though, we were under power, running at about 5 to 6 knots in order to maintain fuel efficiency. Being out there ranks highly among the most pleasant times we've spent on our boat.

User avatar
buck_justice
Deckhand
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:56 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26S
Location: San Antonio TX

Re: Classics Across the Gulfstream

Post by buck_justice » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:04 pm

Thank you Chinook for the very good explanation. The ability to motor changes things considerably. The Conch Crusiers went SE from the keys and motored most of the way I have read. Is this area more doable or did they just catch the conditions right like you did on one of your trips?
Buck

User avatar
Chinook
Admiral
Posts: 1655
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2006 7:20 pm
Location: LeavenworthWA 2002 26x, Suzuki DF60A

Re: Classics Across the Gulfstream

Post by Chinook » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:35 pm

It all depends on where you want to land. If you are headed for West End on Grand Bahama, Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach are likely starting points. Miami would also work. If you're headed for Bimini you need to start further south. The south end of Key Biscayne is a good starting point. Many cruisers also start at Angel Fish Cut near Key Largo. You need a starting point at least directly west of your destination and preferably to the south, to allow for the drift of the Gulf Stream. Also, you need a place with a good cut, or channel, out into deep water, and one you can navigate reliably at night, since you'll want to start at 3am or so.

User avatar
NiceAft
Admiral
Posts: 4402
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:28 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Upper Dublin,PA, USA: 2005M 50hp.Honda4strk.,1979 Phantom Sport Sailboat, 9'Achilles 6HP Merc 4strk

Re: Classics Across the Gulfstream

Post by NiceAft » Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:11 pm

Mike,

You are one of the reasons this site is a success. Experienced Mac people sharing some vital information.

Buck,

You are benefiting from one of our most experienced Bahama crossers.

Ray

User avatar
buck_justice
Deckhand
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:56 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26S
Location: San Antonio TX

Re: Classics Across the Gulfstream

Post by buck_justice » Thu Jan 09, 2020 5:34 am

I can see that I am.
The insight into sailing this area is fabulous. I am wanting to trailer my boat down to south Florida and do some exploring. And work my way into becoming a better sailor with a goal of exploring the vast chain of islands. And this knowledge is something that takes years to learn. I can’t spend as much time as I would like sailing the south FL area. But, we are getting the benefit of that knowledge here. I was pushing a bit with all the questions, but only because I didn’t know. I guess I have never been one to accept, “No you can’t do that!” My Dad would say “A turtle never gets anywhere until he sticks his neck out” But, I believe that knowing the risk, and accepting the risk, and having a plan in place to mitigate those risk has enabled us to achieve great things. I would like to say thank you to all the people that are willing to share their knowledge on forums like this one. And I hope they continue to do so. I know only a small percent share. Most just read and move on. We are all part of the big picture, and everyone’s input has an impact on this sport that we love! “When one sailor gets in trouble out there, it gives us all a black eye”!
Buck

User avatar
NiceAft
Admiral
Posts: 4402
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:28 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: Upper Dublin,PA, USA: 2005M 50hp.Honda4strk.,1979 Phantom Sport Sailboat, 9'Achilles 6HP Merc 4strk

Re: Classics Across the Gulfstream

Post by NiceAft » Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:50 am

I know only a small percent share. Most just read and move on.
Not so quick Buck. There is a reason for this. :D

This board is world wide. Remember, there are over 11,000 users. take away those who have not posted in awhile, still leaves a lot of people. Only a small percentage would be able to address any individual posting. On the subject of the Bahamas, only an extremely small percentage. A handful, maybe :?:

I for one have never made the crossing, let alone sail anywhere in or near Florida. There are general overall sailing tips that many can make, but the overall subjects posted are very specific, and so many just observe and learn. As a moderator, I just feel that helping in areas that I do have something to contribute (even if I have never done, such as crossing to the Bahamas) is important to the overall health of the site.

Ray

User avatar
Chinook
Admiral
Posts: 1655
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2006 7:20 pm
Location: LeavenworthWA 2002 26x, Suzuki DF60A

Re: Classics Across the Gulfstream

Post by Chinook » Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:03 am

There is a saying that goes: "Man cannot discover new oceans until he has the courage to lose sight of the shore". Reasonable prudence, sensible preparation, and careful planning are all essential when considering venturing out beyond one's comfort zone. That said, you still need to take that big next step. That's how experience is gained. When we bought our 26X, brand new in 2002, we had never owned or operated a boat larger than a canoe. In our second season of ownership we made our first trip to the Bahamas, as part of a 16,000 mile year long trailering and sailing trip around the US. When we left the West Palm Beach dock at 3am in April, 2004, we had never before been out of sight of land, and we had never before cruised our boat at night. We started off on that first crossing by running aground on a sandbar while trying to reach the start of the Lake Worth Cut, which leads to the open ocean. Because of that mishap we missed our rendezvous with our prospective buddy boat, which I'd contacted by radio the day before. We would be on our own going across. The swells were larger than expected, and navigating in the dark was intimidating. My plan of running at full throttle in order to make the fastest crossing possible proved to be bad strategy. With ballast in, the boat heavily loaded with provisions for 2 months, and a course which angled slightly into the Gulf Stream current (to give us a bit of southing so we could hit our West End destination), our top speed was a mere 8 knots (running a 50 hp Nissan TLDI at the time). As soon as it got daylight we spotted a waterspout 2 or 3 miles to our north. And worst of all, after going only 24 nautical miles, only about 1/3 of the way, I ran my first 12 gallon gas tank empty. I switched tanks and reconsidered our strategy. I cut the throttle down to 2500 rpm and ran out the jib, since we had a light breeze from the south. I was surprised to see that we were averaging around 5.5 knots. Out in the middle of the Gulf Stream the seas settled with the southerly wind, the sun warmed us up, and we began to relax, comforted by the realization that our fuel consumption rate was greatly reduced. We marveled at the flying fish and enjoyed the well spaced 3 foot swells. Tree tops on Grand Bahama became visible at a distance of around 7 miles. We were in great shape for our exploration of the Abacos.

Post Reply