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Old 09-03-2019, 12:41   #1
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Hurricane season in the Caribbean

Hi fellow cruisers,

We are currently in the Caribbean (Guadeloupe and working north) having sailed across to St Lucia with the ARC last November and had planned to sail back to Europe this May. However, we feel as if we have just scraped the surface of all there is to see here and now are wondering whether to delay our return for another year. We are live aboards who have rented out our home back in the UK so this would mean finding a safe place to sail and live on board during the hurricane season.

We are thinking maybe of sailing down to Grenada then on to the ABC s followed by Colombia to sail back north once the hurricane season is past.

We would be really interested to hear of other folks' experience in Caribbean waters in the summer in general with certain questions in particular. Do the winds die down a lot? (We are 30 tons and our boat likes a lot of wind). Is there a noticable difference in humidity and heat? Does it get really crowded in the ABCs and Grenada in the summer months? Does anyone have experience of sailing north from Colombia rather than going on to Panama?

Finally, any places that are a must-see?

We are a solid Oyster 55 and we love to live on the hook : )

Thanks!

Rachel and Simon
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Old 09-03-2019, 14:01   #2
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pirate Re: Hurricane season in the Caribbean

You should be fine..
Winds are pretty steady f5 most of the time and theres plenty of warning to give you time to run S till the TS/hurricane passes..
Cruisers live there year round doing this.
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Old 09-03-2019, 15:03   #3
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Re: Hurricane season in the Caribbean

Thanks for this. F5 sounds perfect.
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Old 09-03-2019, 15:19   #4
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Re: Hurricane season in the Caribbean

We have been leaving our boat in various locations preferring to fly back and forth from home in Florida. During hurricane season, she is left in well-attended and capable hands in English Harbor which isn't immune to hurricanes but is pretty well protected even should the rare storm hit. Anything south would be added security. We've been doing this for 9 years and as the saying goes, "so far, so good".

If you end up in the ABCs, Bonaire is our favorite relatively unspoiled island somewhat devoid of the tourist industry. The only negative there is we have yet to find a good hole just in case.

The weather pattern changes but it's always warm and windy.
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Old 10-03-2019, 09:40   #5
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Re: Hurricane season in the Caribbean

You could always look at the Chesapeake!!
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Old 10-03-2019, 09:58   #6
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Re: Hurricane season in the Caribbean

Although it is..."in the box"....we prefer to leave our bost on the hard at Puerto Del Rey Marina, Fajardo, Puerto Rico each summer. The marina is large(+1000 wet slips), well equipped, and professional-from our perspective. We rode thru both Irma and Maria without a scratch, on the hard and tied to a fore and aft massive buried concrete beams. The SanJuan airport is only about an hour away, with lots of (international) flights. The only issue may be finding insurance that covers named storm damage. It's another option worth considering.
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Old 10-03-2019, 10:02   #7
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Re: Hurricane season in the Caribbean

I took ocean Jedi to Baltimore for the last two hurricane seasons. Docked right downtown at the anchorage marina for a reasonable monthly rate for a 58 ft sailing catamaran. They are not really used to international cruisers , but were very accommodating. And if your staying anywhere in the USA parts etc are always available by fed ex or ups.
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Old 10-03-2019, 10:23   #8
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Re: Hurricane season in the Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachinwokingham View Post
Thanks for this. F5 sounds perfect.
F5 (Fujita Tornado Scale)
Incredible tornado

Incredible Damage - Homes leveled with all debris removed, strong frame houses lifted off foundations and carried considerable distances to disintegrate. Schools, motels, and other larger structures have considerable damage with exterior walls and roofs gone, steel re-inforced concrete structures badly damaged. Automobile sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 meters, trees debarked.

mixed up with Beaufort wind scale I guess (?)
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Old 10-03-2019, 10:40   #9
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Re: Hurricane season in the Caribbean

We sail only in the winter, but have made the loop Guadeloupe to Bonaire to Puerto Rico and then back down. It was a lot of fun, and it is easy to spend months on Bonaire if you are a diver, a windsurfer, or a kiteboarder.

People really like Columbia, but I think the wind angle to Puerto Rico from there would be a lot worse than from Bonaire. The weather between Aruba and Columbia can be ferocious, with really big winds and steep seas, so you may need to wait for a weather window.
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Old 10-03-2019, 15:38   #10
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Re: Hurricane season in the Caribbean

Guatamala/Belize
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Old 10-03-2019, 16:03   #11
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pirate Re: Hurricane season in the Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by kazo View Post
F5 (Fujita Tornado Scale)
Incredible tornado

Incredible Damage - Homes leveled with all debris removed, strong frame houses lifted off foundations and carried considerable distances to disintegrate. Schools, motels, and other larger structures have considerable damage with exterior walls and roofs gone, steel re-inforced concrete structures badly damaged. Automobile sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 meters, trees debarked.

mixed up with Beaufort wind scale I guess (?)
I was talking F5 Beaufort..
20 to 25kts on average.
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Old 10-03-2019, 16:40   #12
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Re: Hurricane season in the Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachinwokingham View Post
Hi fellow cruisers,

We are currently in the Caribbean (Guadeloupe and working north) having sailed across to St Lucia with the ARC last November and had planned to sail back to Europe this May. However, we feel as if we have just scraped the surface of all there is to see here and now are wondering whether to delay our return for another year. We are live aboards who have rented out our home back in the UK so this would mean finding a safe place to sail and live on board during the hurricane season.

We are thinking maybe of sailing down to Grenada then on to the ABC s followed by Colombia to sail back north once the hurricane season is past.

We would be really interested to hear of other folks' experience in Caribbean waters in the summer in general with certain questions in particular. Do the winds die down a lot? (We are 30 tons and our boat likes a lot of wind). Is there a noticable difference in humidity and heat? Does it get really crowded in the ABCs and Grenada in the summer months? Does anyone have experience of sailing north from Colombia rather than going on to Panama?

Finally, any places that are a must-see?

We are a solid Oyster 55 and we love to live on the hook : )

Thanks!

Rachel and Simon
We spent this past hurricane season in the abc's, 2 weeks Bonnaire, 4.5 months curacao then Aruba, working towards Belize then Guatemala now. if I had to do it over again, We would have spent more time in Bonaire, skip curacao, it has become very cruiser unfriendly. Constant battles over available dinghy dockage, to the point where after we left there was no where to land a dinghy anywhere for several weeks except to drink and eat at a bar and even that wasn't very welcoming. Marinas are extremely expensive, archaic check in procedures, locals with zero courtesy towards anyone regarding their wakes, etc,,plus the water is murkier and has more nasty stuff in it then luperon DR. And fouling is terrible.
Skip curacao, go straight to santa marta, Cartagena, San blas, box as del Toro etc etc
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Old 10-03-2019, 16:43   #13
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Re: Hurricane season in the Caribbean

We stayed in Grenada with a short trip to Trinidad if weather threatened. We also sailed to Bonaire where you can only stay on a mooring ball or you can leave your boat at their small marina which is well protected. The only problem with staying on a mooring ball in Bonaire is the occasional reversal where boats must be moved off the mooring ball. Many sailors either tuck into the marina or take advantage of the reversal to sail east toward Los Roces and the other veneualan islands near bonaire. If you cannot get an extension for your stay in Bonaire and need to leave Bonaire before the end of hurricane season you can go to Curaçao where there is a large anchorage called Spanish waters or the only haul out in the ABC’s and where you can leave your boat on the hard.
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Old 11-03-2019, 01:42   #14
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Re: Hurricane season in the Caribbean

Just a suggestion - why not Panama? head on north to Jamaica - on to Cuba then head for a 4 day trip to San Blas Isl Panama - at the end of the season head back the same way and down to Antigua then cross in early May - we did almost that except we sailed and spent hurricane season in Trini before heading back up to Antigua and a crossing


The San Blas are unique and if you fancy Cartagena Colombia is right next door
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Old 12-03-2019, 06:34   #15
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Re: Hurricane season in the Caribbean

We sailed our Oyster 55 to Cartagena last year and had plans to sail on to Panama to leave our boat in Bocas del Toro during hurricane season. Panama is officially in the hurricane zone according to our insurance company, but it hasn't experienced a hurricane in the last 100 years, unlike the east coast of the US which is not in the hurricane zone but has severe hurricanes periodically. We decided not to leave the boat in Panama because of reports of frequent lightning storms frying electronics. Also, it is very humid during the rainy season and unless your boat is in a marina which will faithfully monitor your dehumidifier(s), you will have mold on everything when you return to the boat. I haven't confirmed that, but have had several reports of it.

So we sailed north from Cartagena to Turks and Caicos and then on to Annapolis. It was a wonderful beam reach all the way across the Caribbean to T&C. We went through the gap between Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba and had to motor, then the wind returned after we cleared the mountains of Haiti and Dominican Republic.

In Cartagena we stayed at Club de Pesca. It is farther away from ferry traffic than the other major marina and has a bus stop right outside its land entrance. This made it super convenient to tour the city, which is absolutely charming.
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