Please select your home edition
Edition
Pantaenius AUS Comprehensive 728x90

Australian yacht's account of stormy Gulf Stream crossing

by Andrew and Clare Payne/Sail-World on 10 Nov 2013
Crossing a stormy Gulf Stream can be a challenge SW
Australian cruising sailors Andrew and Clare Payne on their boat Eye Candy, this year joined the 'Salty Dawg Rally' to make their way south from the North American mainland to the Caribbean. Here is their graphic description of how they crossed the Gulf Stream and dodged the fronts successfully while others ran into trouble:

So we left Hampton four days ago and we have now completed 526 miles of the 1350 mile passage to the British Virgin Islands (BVIs).

Most of the fleet (116 boats) left on Wednesday but a few including Eye Candy left Tuesday on the back of a cold front. Our intention was to get across the Gulf Stream and travel sufficiently far south to miss the worst of the next cold front which was due Thursday night.

The first 120 miles was an uncomfortable close reach but that was nothing compared to the next 80 miles across the Gulf Stream. This was our fifth encounter with the Gulf Stream and let me tell you what we have learnt about this nasty piece of water - get cross it as fast as you can and if possible don't go there. The stream has strong currents, counter currents, eddies and very confused seas and its own set of convective squalls. At one stage we were doing a boat speed of 5.8 knots but only making 1.9 knots across the ground. It's a bit like a 80 mile wide twin tub washing machine - it spins you around and spits you out all wet.

Once we got through the Gulf Stream some 20 hours later, it was a further 100 mile sprint to stay ahead of the next cold front which forecast 50 knot squalls. Through the ordeal Deb went into economy mode and didn't eat for 2 and 1/2 days; sick and all as she was, she, 'Determined Deb', didn't miss a shift and so thankfully we all got sufficient rest. Now for the good news, our master plan worked and during the second cold front we mostly experienced 25 knot winds with squalls of 35 knots.

Now some of the boats that left on Wednesday were still in the Gulf Stream when the second front came through. Unfortunately they got 40- 50 knot squalls and lumpy seas. Two boats were dismasted, 2 lost their rudders, 1 broke a broken steering arm, 1 had a damaged toe rail and was taking on water and last but not least one boat broke up with a delaminating bulk head. That crew was air lifted to safety by the Coast Guard and the boat was abandoned.


So now on day four all is well, we have 15 knot winds on our aft quarter and we are on track for the BVIs. The forecast for the rest of the trip is light winds. Deb is now eating regular meals and now no longer wishes to die. Andrew has started the water maker and so we will all have showers today.

At 12:42 PM9/11/2013 (utc) our position was 31°48.09'N 069°17.01'W

The US Coast Guard has had to respond to five distress calls in a 24hour period as the main fleet crossed the Gulf Stream in stormy conditions - see Sail-World http://www.sail-world.com/Cruising/NH/Caribbean-bound-yachts-head-south---five-rescues-in-24-hours/116494!story

Harken AUS HL Snatch Block 660x82Hall Spars - MastEnsign Bavaria C57 April 2017

Related Articles

Fifteenth blog from on board Perie Banou II - BVIs
I am on the yacht. Back on air with the iridium. Paul Stratfold, with his partner Shiralee, plus owner and his friend I am on the yacht. Back on air with the iridium. Paul Stratfold, with his partner Shiralee, plus owner and his friend (another Paul from Hawaii). Are on the specially constructed 60ft catamaran named 'Gizmo'. Carbon fibre hull, carbon fibre mast, carbon fibre rigging, carbon fibre sails. There are no turnbuckles with the rigging (holding the mast up). Just Dyneema lashing.
Posted on 19 Apr
Debbie says the 8thP with Insurance is Patience
This all stems from the learnings in the widely read, ‘Debbie says there are 7 Ps and 1 C with insurance’. This all stems from the learnings in the widely read, ‘Debbie says there are 7 Ps and 1 C with insurance’. As time unfolds some more, we learn that indeed there are a lot of reasons you need to apply patience with both your dealings with your insurance company, and also all the many trades that are working feverishly to get all the jobs done.
Posted on 19 Apr
Fourteenth blog from on board Perie Banou II - British Virgin Isles
32 days back I departed the British Island of Saint Helena. Clearing port, customs, immigration simple. Jon has arrived in the BVI ahead of his estimated arrival. He had somehow managed to completely disconnect from the on-board communication system that they set up for him, and as a result we didn't have communication with him while he was at sea. of course, that is nothing strange for Jon, and perhaps he wanted it to be more like his circumnavigations of old? Hmmmm.... Accidentally on purpose?
Posted on 12 Apr
A very difficult day - Got fuel to Cape Town
Well after my dismasting I have spent the last two days motoring North towards Cape Town trying to collect myself Well after my dismasting I have spent the last two days motoring North towards Cape Town trying to collect myself and to intercept Hong Kong container ship M/V Far Eastern Mercury who had been diverted by Maritime Rescue Coordination Center Cape Town (MRCC Cape Town) when I had issued a Pan-Pan during my dismasting.
Posted on 8 Apr
Debbie says there are 7Ps and 1C with Insurance
Debbie says there are 7Ps and 1C with Insurance If you have been on the planet or around boats long enough, you’ll know all about the 7Ps. The one ‘C’ mentioned here refers to consequence, and in the legalese that surrounds insurance, it gets applied distinctly to consequential damage. We’ll come back to all of that in a while, but for now, our mission is to look at the consequences of actions prior to TC Debbie making landfall.
Posted on 5 Apr
Lisa Blair heads to Cape Town under motor following dismasting
A PAN PAN was called at 0300 (AET) / 1900 (SAST) signalling an urgent threat to her safety and this remains in place. Lisa Blair has assessed the damage to her yacht, Climate Action Now, after being dismasted 895 nm south of Cape Town in 40 knot winds and seven metre swells early in the morning of April 4, 2017. She made a PAN PAN call over the radio at approximately 0300 (AET) / 1900 (SAST) signalling an urgent threat to her safety and this remains in place.
Posted on 4 Apr
Queensland Cyclone – Hamilton Island faces massive five-month rebuild
Hamilton Island chief executive Glenn Bourke yesterday told almost 600 staff of the massive task ahead to clean-up Hamilton Island faces a massive five-month rebuild but will partly reopen for business next Saturday after “all hell broke loose”. Exclusive pictures obtained by The Sunday Mail shows the “apocalyptic” scale of destruction to privately owned homes, luxury hotels and yachts at ground zero in the cyclone-ravaged Whitsundays.
Posted on 2 Apr
Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie tracking southwards today, bringing rain
Heavy rain and flooding is expected as Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie moves south-east. Heavy rain and flooding is expected as Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie moves south-east. A Flood Watch has been issued for coastal catchments between Gladstone in Queensland and Bellingen in northern New South Wales. The Flood Watch extends inland to parts of the Central Highlands and Coalfields, Central West, Maranoa and Warrego, Darling Downs and Granite Belt forecast districts...
Posted on 29 Mar
Ayr, Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays to meet Cyclone Debbie
Having intensified to a Cat4 TC now, Debbie is expected to hit during the course of Monday night and into Tuesday mornin Having intensified to a Cat3 TC now and Cat4 when it will make landfall, Debbie is expected to hit during the course of Monday night and into Tuesday morning (0400hrs). Thus far, there have been police enforced evacuations around Ayr, as it is expected that this will be the biggest event since the all-powerful TC5 Yasi hit back in 2011. There are also reports of residents refusing to leave
Posted on 26 Mar
X-Yachts advisory board announces ambitious strategy plan
X-Yachts now has three unique and different ranges. All three lines will be further developed and refined. Catering for a complete cross section of sailors prioritising Superb Sailing Pleasure, X-Yachts now has three unique and different ranges. All three lines will be further developed and refined.
Posted on 24 Mar