Cruising speed – Economical 18.6 knots at 2800 RPM
Engine/Horsepower – Single Yanmar 440 HP
Starting point – Rhode Island, Stuart & Fort Pierce, FL.
Final destination – Green Turtle Cay, Abacos, Bahamas
This was a new boat purchased from the factory in Rhode Island. The boat was prepped in Rhode Island and shipped via 18 wheel truck to Stuart, FL where it was offloaded, radar assembled and put in the water. A day was spent testing systems and doing local sea trials. Everything proved AOK so we made a run to Fort Pierce, FL for the final shakedown cruise and to top off the fuel tanks.
Early the next morning we cast off and headed East from Fort Pierce Inlet 62 miles across the Gulfstream to White Sand Ridge on the Little Bahama Bank. The ocean crossing was nice, a bit of a southerly wind with a small chop spraying water onto the windshield. We thank the builders for the excellent windshield wipers and washers to keep the salt spray off the glass. Salt on the windshield dries quickly and in big crusty lumps making it difficult to see where you’re going.
As we entered the Gulfstream the seas increased and the New England hull design ran fine through the seas. This is a very stable hull for the ocean. Using the GPS programmed for White Sand Ridge the autopilot had us steering 15 degrees more south than our course line. Remember we were in the Gulfstream and the autopilot was correcting for the northerly flow of the stream. As we neared the eastern edge of the stream the autopilot brought back onto the heading the GPS had drawn. Terrific to use the GPS and Autopilot but always plan your course and have it on paper in the event that your electronics fail and you’re forced to rely solely on the compass and dead reckoning.
Nearing the banks we were welcomed by a beautiful light blue water color. This is the famed White Sand Ridge, 60 feet deep crystal clear blue water. As we crossed the ridge we entered more shallow water, now only 15 feet deep. Sea grass on the bottom makes the water a darker green in this location. As we cruised along we were able to see different rocks and grass areas on the sea floor.
Cruising at 2800 RPM/18 knots we crossed from Fort Pierce Inlet to the ridge in 4 hours. We continued on towards Great Sale Cay finally arriving for customs and fuel at Spanish Cay. Total time for the crossing was 9 hours! We cleared customs, fueled the boat and cast off for our final destination of Green Turtle Cay. An hour later we arrived in Green Turtle, secured the boat and washed the salt off the hull and joined other cruisers at the Jolly Roger Bar & Bistro to relax and enjoy dinner.
Next morning we wrote our reports, caught the ferry over to Treasure Cay and hopped aboard a small aircraft for the ride home to the USA. This was a beautiful picture perfect crossing done in one long day with no problems. Seas and weather was great, the people of the Abacos were terrific helping us settle the boat and fly home. Next time I hope we can stay longer than one night!