Bow Rider to Bimini, #3, My Monterey, Open Ocean Bow Rider Cruising in a Monterey

I used Richardson’s chartbook, Florida Keys and Bimini, as well as Maptech’s Florida’s East Coast Chart kit for navigation. Both had pre-printed course headings overlaid on their charts.

Since I didn’t want to leave from either Miami or Ft. Lauderdale, which were already charted in these books, I eyeballed a course using theirs as a starting point. BTW, the pre-charted routes differed in each book slightly, as one edition had been corrected to 1990 and the other to 2002. Courses can change over time due to magnetic North movement.

I checked and confirmed my course heading using a hand-held Garmin 48 GPS, putting in a lat/lon for my Bimini arrival point as a GO TO point. I was pleased that my roughly calculated course was within a few degrees once I was underway. My excuse for not developing a “better” course? I was crossing on a top weather day—and in a faster boat. And land would only be out of sight for about 30-35 miles.

But then, there’s the Gulf Stream…

Think of the Gulf Stream as a “river”, running north within the Atlantic Ocean between the South FL coast and Bimini Island. It drags all boats northward as they try to cross East-West between Florida and the Islands. The slower the boat travels, the longer it’s in this current, and the more off-course any compass heading becomes. The Garmin GPS really adjusts for this nicely.

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