Upwind advice please

Porter McRoberts

Hello Amelians,


We are a 54 heading out likely Saturday or Sunday to cross the gulfstream to the Bahamas.  Forecast is 5-6ft waves period 6-7 sec on Sat. and 3-4 feet period 6-7 on Sunday.  Out of the Northeast to east.  With a dying breeze on Sunday .  Weather and seas essentially on the nose.


I write as we have sailed and motored quite a bit upwind over the summer.  It’s hard for me to estimate the exact size of oncoming waves, but the boat slams and it seems were taking green water over the nose with anything around 4 or up.  Unusual?


The boat’s boot-stripe is about 3-4 inches above waterline on the nose, and 1 inch above water line at the aft.  I’ve tried to move as much weight forward, taking off the air compressor, moving dive-tanks to the port lazarette etc, but I can’t get the nose any lower than above.  (The Nance and Underwood riggers think were trim and just that the bootstrip has been painted in such upward fashion.)


My question to you guys is how comfortable is the 54 and SM going up weather- and most specifically into the waves?  How should I trim for the best trip?


Were crossing with some folks on a new Leopard 45.  (They want to cross Saturday) Who will have the rougher trip given the same (into the seas) conditions?


How would an angle from Palm Beach as opposed to Fort Lauderdale change things for a crossing towards the Berrys?  I’d see a shift to the beam for the waves- but current more on the nose.    Any thoughts? 


I know the boat will handle most anything, and I’ve sailed a good 5000 miles in the last 6 months, but a lot of downwind, and minimal upwind in heavier seas.  I’d be obliged to know your thoughts!


Many thanks—



Porter McRoberts
S/V Ibis: Amel 54-#152
Ft. Lauderdale


My recollection (I think it is in the Explorer Chart Pack) is that you steer an S (not exacly) shaped course from the mainland.  First make East as much as you can, then you can ease off your angle as the stream carries you north hen East again when it subsides on the approach. So your plotter may show you heading too far north while you are solidly in the stream but it will improve again as it slows nearer your destination.  Making as much East as you can initially has my vote.  The Explorer Chart Pack is extremely helpful (essential) in cruising the Bahamas BTW.