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irwin sailboats

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irwin sailboats
irwin sailboats
How long will it take to sail from Wilmington, NC to West Palm Beach, Fl.?

In an "Irwin 10/4" (a 25 ft. sailboat) I want to go to the Bahamas. Should I use the intercoastal, or should I just go straight from NC to The Bahamas? How much longer will it take if I use the intercoastal? Is there a recomended route?

It is 500 nm from Wilmington, NC to Ft. Lauderdale (45 nm farther then Palm Beach). In your 25' Irwin (assuming power or sail - you can average 4 knot speed) that will be about 120 hours of travel time, or just over 5 days non-stop. If you stop and night, then this time of year, you can double the days it takes to get there.

"The Bahamas" is a wide range of territory... since you don't mention "where in the Bahamas" you are going... that leaves that part of your question up for conjecture. However, Bimini is the closest island in the Bahamas to the US mainland. It best traveled to from Ft Lauderdale. I am almost certain Ft. Lauderdale is also the most popular point of departure for Bimini.

If you do this, then Bimini from Ft Lauderdale is just 50 miles across the Gulf Stream. However, if you have never had the pleasure of riding a bull at the rodeo, you will discover some similarity to it, crossing the Gulf Stream in your 25' Irwin.

For this, you need to plan on spending a few days in Ft. Lauderdale. You DO NOT WANT TO ATTEMPT THIS CROSSING with winds out of the north. So just remember: the big "N". In Ft Lauderdale it means "NO" as in NO GO with winds out of the NORTH. When winds are from the south, they blow the same direction as the Gulf stream flows... and that will give you a faster, much-much smother ride across the stream to Bimini. Many very experience & accomplished sailors in boats twice the size of your Irwin (including my son) have been turned back by North winds trying to cross the Gulf Stream.

Plan on a full day to cross, and you definitely want to approach North Bimini in daylight. So you will want to leave Ft. Lauderdale very early in the morning - I would say, no later then 6 am since it starts getting so dark so early.

I would go the Intracoastal route. For your vessel the time will be near the same.

Good places to tuck in for the night:
Mile 283: Wrightsville Beach, NC.
Mile 469: Charleston, SC.
Mile 536: Beaufort, SC
Mile 576/583: Thunderbolt/Savannah, GA.
Mile 716: Fernandina Beach, FL. (Here you can celebrate your arrival in Florida with a stop in this small town with a large fleet of shrimpboats. Best & freshest shrimp you’ll evey find.)
Mile 778: St. Augustine, FL.
Mile 893: Cape Canaveral.
Mile 1062: Fort Lauderdale. The yachting capital of the world offers a great opportunity to find that hard-to-locate part, get work done on your boat, or, naturally, fill out your complement of nautical books and charts at Bluewater. Marinas and boat yards of all descriptions, plus nice free anchorage (no more than 48 hours, please!) at Lake Sylvia, just south of Bahia Mar.

It may be chilly weather on your way down, but that doesn't mean you can't or won't enjoy the ride, and once you get to the Caribbean it will be near 80 degrees all winter. Enjoy!


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