Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 40+ 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 .. .
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

North Technology - Southern SparsInSunSport - NZBakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Yachts for Sale, Shows and Events for Ancasta International
The largest on-water boatshow is running from the 16th - 25th September this year at Southampton's Mayflower Park. The largest on-water boatshow is running from the 16th - 25th September this year at Southampton's Mayflower Park. The Ancasta team will be presenting models from Beneteau Sail and Power, Prestige and Lagoon Catamarans.
Posted on 23 Aug
Ancasta celebrating 35 years
Festival of Yachting Cannes: The big news from Beneteau Sail is the world launch of the new Oceanis Yacht 62. Festival of Yachting Cannes: The big news from Beneteau Sail is the world launch of the new Oceanis Yacht 62. It will be the first time the Oceanis 38.1 will be on show and the new Sense 57.
Posted on 5 Aug
Kids Polarised Sunglasses from Barz Optics
Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Each pair are supplied with a neoprene case and sunglass retainer.
Posted on 4 Aug
Reducing weight aloft with composite backstays
Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Every kilogram you take out of the rig is roughly equivalent to 4kg added to the bottom of your keel!
Posted on 26 Jul
Free $US3,000 Carbon Vang with SouthernFurl boom orders in July
Southern Spars is giving a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July Southern Spars is giving away a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with all of their SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July. Carbon gas vangs make a great addition to the furling boom package, though if you’d prefer to keep your existing one, Southern Spars will offer you a 5% discount on the price of your boom instead.
Posted on 29 Jun
Newport Bermuda Race - High Noon takes honours
As the Newport Bermuda Race fleet rushed to the finish line on Monday in the wake of the first-to-finish boat, As the Newport Bermuda Race fleet rushed to the finish line on Monday in the wake of the first-to-finish boat, the powerful 100-foot grand prix Comanche, to the surprise of many they were led by an unusual boat and crew. High Noon, at 41 feet, is fully 59 feet shorter than Comanche and tens of feet shorter than many other entries.
Posted on 22 Jun
Platino recovery - Family confirms that tug has made rendezvous
Reports in social media say a salvage tug has made a rendezvous with the Platino earlier than expected. Reports in social media by family and friends of Nick Saull, the crew member killed during a catastrophic incident abroad the 66ft yacht Platino say the salvage tug which left on Tuesday night has made the rendezvous earlier than expected. The Facebook report says the tug, Sea Pelican, arrived on Friday morning, the weather in the area has eased and with a more favorable outlook.
Posted on 16 Jun
Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron to ban bottled water
Approval has been given to create a ban on bottled water that comes in plastic containers. The RQYS Management Committee has confirmed that approval has been given to create a ban on bottled water that comes in plastic containers. This will place the club as a leader in environmental impact management in Australia and around the world. The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club earlier this year did likewise. Who’s next?
Posted on 16 Jun
SouthernFurl In-Boom furling systems withstand Sydney Hobart test
Southern Spars design team have developed the SouthernFurl Boom smaller budgets and yachts from 35-70 feet. Have you ever scared your family when you got stuck with too much sail up when you should be reefed? Southern Spars’ range of SouthernFurl booms are the answer – letting you reduce sail quickly and easily without leaving the safety of the cockpit.
Posted on 23 May
2016 Garda Trentino Olympic Week - Day 4
Garda Trentino Olympic Week 2016 draws near to the conclusion: the weather once again proves difficult. Garda Trentino Olympic Week 2016 draws near to the conclusion: the weather once again proves difficult. Tomorrow the medal race is scheduled for the Lasers and another two races for the three paralympic classes.
Posted on 13 May