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Old 06-30-2009, 06:08 PM   #1
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I have read three guide books, sailing directions enroute and the pilot charts, all of which make little mention of the Yucatan current flow. I will be sailing from the Florida Keys against the north flowing current. I would like to know from someone who has sailed north to south, Isla Mujeres to the Rio Dulce, just how much of an issue the current would be.

thank you
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Old 07-15-2009, 04:16 PM   #2
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I have read three guide books, sailing directions enroute and the pilot charts, all of which make little mention of the Yucatan current flow. I will be sailing from the Florida Keys against the north flowing current. I would like to know from someone who has sailed north to south, Isla Mujeres to the Rio Dulce, just how much of an issue the current would be.

thank you
You can download for free the Gulf of Mexico Gulfstream charts at : http://www.nlmoc.navy.mil/home1.html - it does take some hunting to find the chart. But you will see that the main body loops up into the Gulf of Mexico then back down and eastward to Florida Straits. Most folks cross from the Dry Tortugas to sail west along the north shore of Cuba to the Cabo San Antonio area then cross to Isla Mujeres. Trying to stay north sometimes works but you have a wider area to penetrate to get west of the "stream" before turning south. If you have significant boat speed under power I suppose you could go direct from the Dry Tortugas but you would be fighting a 1-3 kts current. Staying 12nm or so offshore Cuba seems to be the most popular route, but again getting and watching the "stream analysis" charts can show a window of time to go straight.
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:19 PM   #3
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I have read three guide books, sailing directions enroute and the pilot charts, all of which make little mention of the Yucatan current flow. I will be sailing from the Florida Keys against the north flowing current. I would like to know from someone who has sailed north to south, Isla Mujeres to the Rio Dulce, just how much of an issue the current would be.

thank you
I am planning a trip in the opposite direction. I am planning a non stop from Cartagena to Ft. Myers mid November. Anyone with any experience this route please advise.

Thanks
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Old 07-19-2009, 02:37 PM   #4
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At the USNavy site I gave above - look for "Caribbean" and click on it. Then scroll down to find currents and click on the Gulf of Mexico currents - You will end up somewhere with this url: https://oceanography.navy.mil/legacy/web/cg...40/145/0-0-17/0 These charts show the most current data for the Gulf of Mexico down to Honduras.

The NOAA Atlantic Pilot charts page 3 also shows historical currents and speeds for the months you are interested. See: http://pollux.nss.nima.mil/pubs/pubs_j_apc_list.html October is shown as a really good month, better than November "historically". But remember that the "end of the season" hurricanes start in the western Caribbean during those months. September is as good as November, but December starts to get nasty according to the historical data.

On a large chart it seems the most direct route is north to the windward passage then west to Miami - about 1135 nm. But heading NNW to Cabo San Antonio (Cuba's western tip) then following the "stream" east to Key West is about 1200nm and probably faster due to the currents helping. Still you are looking at 10+ days undersail and can expect a few weather encounters.
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Old 07-20-2009, 07:08 AM   #5
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When I cruised that area a few years ago, whilst based in Isla Mujeres, the north going current was 1-2 knots. For South bound trips I tried hugging the coast, but its not that well charted so you don't want to get in too close. The current was obviously stronger in the Cozumel channel and if there is much breeze over 15 knts with much of a Northerly component in it, the wind against current pushed up a good 6-9 ft swell, particularly just North or South of Cozumel.
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