For many sailors starting out on the East Coast of the USA, a cruise to the Bahamas is the ultimate goal. Tantalisingly close, the Bimini islands are only 50 miles from the Florida coast; West End in Freeport only a little farther with the added benefit of being on the doorstep of the Abacos, one of the best cruising grounds in the Bahamas. However, in order to reach these idyllic destinations, sailors must first sail across the Gulf Stream.
The Gulf Stream is a north-setting current that can reach up to 5.6 miles per hour (4.8 knots). It winds its way through the Gulf of Mexico and then up the Atlantic coast of the USA. It can present quite a navigational challenge, even for experienced sailors.
In this episode, Nick explains exactly how to sail across the Gulf Stream, what type of weather window to wait for, and how to navigate the strong current.