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Old 06-02-2011, 07:26   #1
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Going East, South of Cuba and Hispaniola

Having postponed our transatlantic plans for a year we now need to get back to the Eastern Caribbean and Puerto Rico from the Yucatan.

I have all the guides and pilot charts and staying tight under the lee of Cuba and Hispaniola looks the most promising route. I do not want to go south to Panama but stay in the Northern Caribbean.

Does anyone have personal experience of this route? Or a viable alternative?
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:19   #2
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Moondancer,

Having faced a similar dilemma last year needing to get from Belize in January to BVI in April, we decided to go "up and over" based largely on discussions on this forum in the thread: Belize to BVIs - Which Route?.

We went from Belize to Cancun, Key West, Key Largo, Gun Cay, Berry Islands, Nassau, and Georgetown. We were running late on our timeline so from there we went straight from Georgetown to Boqueron, PR. That stretch took us 6 days because the winds went flat after we suffered for 2.5 days with 18-23 knots and 8 foot seas in a cold front.

If you want more details, send me a PM. I may not reply right away because we are in the Leeward Islands with sporadic internet coverage.
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:51   #3
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I never found the advertised counter current along the south coast of Cuba. Any time you go east in the Caribbean Sea you're going against the prevailing wind, swell, and current. Normal weather patterns are for 4 days of good sailing conditions and 4 days of not so good sailing conditions. Some years the ratio goes to 2:6, either way.

Good luck!
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:20   #4
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Thanks John & John, I have done the "Thorny Path" twice and I doubt the southern route is any harder but personal experience is always worth listening to.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:45   #5
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Re: Going East, South of Cuba and Hispaniola

Moondancer,

Your location under your avatar says you are "Back in the Islands" so you apparently made the transit. A few other posters have inquired recently about going east to the BVI's so would you consider posting your experience here?
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Old 10-06-2011, 18:52   #6
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Re: Going East, South of Cuba and Hispaniola

See the Panama to BVI thread which is basically discussing the same route.
Cruisers & Sailing Forums > Scuttlebutt > Destinations > Atlantic & the Caribbean Panama to the BVIs
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:01   #7
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Re: Going East, South of Cuba and Hispaniola

phil,
why don't you do same route that you suggested in the forum "panama to the bvi's." since i'm looking at all alternative, safe routes, why not the one you suggested earlier, and if not what is going to be your strategy. what's your route, where are you going to stop, how long do you think it will take (all of course taking into consideration a favorable weather window).
rick
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Old 24-09-2011, 04:50   #8
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Re: Going East, South of Cuba and Hispaniola

Sorry for the late post...

We finally decided we did not want to beat to weather so we did it the easy way like 'Dreaming Yachtman' and went over the top.

A lovely 4 day sail to Miami in the 2-3 knot current with a lay over in the Dry Tortugas.

A lovely week in Coconut Grove.

Then we went due east through the Providence Channel and out east until we picked up the trades to go south to St Thomas. We did not have to go to 65W but got the trades at 66W.

Going east we did have to sail towards Bermuda for 2 days but the conditions were lovely and we were catching fish.

Total sea time was 13 days with 10 days of lovely easy sailing and 2-3 days of motoring because the winds were light. My wife gets an itchy starter finger when the boat does less than 3 knots.

In the Islands we met a boat that had spent 12 days beating to weather to do St Pete to the DR when they took the South of Cuba Route.

Total breakage on the 1,700 mile trip was a $9 shackle which sure beats the things I have broken on two trips down the 'Thorny Path.'
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Old 25-09-2011, 20:28   #9
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Re: Going East, South of Cuba and Hispaniola

phil,
now that you've accomplished what we have been wondering about, would you still do the more direct route that we've talked about or the I-65 route? since we've leaving around early november and hope to make the passage before the reinforced trades set in i'm hoping for a fairly benign trip north to jamaica and then play the lee shores of DR and PR to the virgins.
congrats!
rick
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