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Old 15-02-2012, 16:07   #1
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Florida to British Virgin Islands - Route on Power ?

Hi all!

My wife and I are to buy either a trawler or an express cruiser in Florida in late August/September.

We plan to take the boat to Bahamas, and Island hop slowly from fuel stop to fuel stop all the way down to Tortola where we are starting a company.

My experience with boats like that is next to none. I can`t sail and I do not have the time to learn it before our final departure from Norway.

Either way, we do not want a sailboat, so please don`t argue in its favor (yes i know there are a few).

Anyway, do any of you know a good route from Miami to BVI?

We want the route to be fuel efficient and safe-ish. That means only daytime passages.
It is roughly 1100 nautical miles and it will take exactly one week if we wore to drive 24/7 at 7mph with no stops. That means 14 days at best, probably a month or more when I might have to wait for fuel, good weather etc.

I have googled and googled and I cant find a proper route with fuel stops. I would perfer a map or gps points to follow, but there are few.

Do any of you have a good book recommendation or first hand experience?

It would mean a lot to us.

The boat will probably be between 34-40 foot long. We will live in it and conduct business from it.
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Old 15-02-2012, 16:23   #2
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Re: Florida to British Virgin Islands route on power?

Buy the right Trawler, and won't be to much of a problem !just make sure of your fuel tankage, and your safe range, I just sold a Defever which would have made it without a fuel stop!! Most of your express cruisers do not have tankage to make such a cruise with out a stop. There are a few places to fuel depends on the boat and the time you wish to make the trip, different times of the year require different routes. If it was I, I would look at LRC Trawlers if you don't want sail. Just my 2 cents Bob and Connie
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Old 15-02-2012, 16:26   #3
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Re: Florida to British Virgin Islands route on power?

Starting from south Florida the first part is easy in terms of stops and fuel. The options are many and you can select based on time and preference.

Bimini, Andros or Chub Cay, Nassau, then Exuma Island chain. Many stops closely spaced through the Exumas. Staniel Cay and Georgetown are nice stops. From Georgetown next stop Clarencetown Long Island. From there fuel may or may not be available in Crooked and Acklins Island group so you should be prepared to make it to Provodentiales in the Turks and Caicos for the next fuel stop.

From there you will be able to work down the north coasts of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico to the VI.

Get the Explorer Charts for the Bahamas for detailed planning.
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Old 15-02-2012, 16:27   #4
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Re: Florida to British Virgin Islands route on power?

I suggest finding a copy of Bruce Van Sant's "Gentleman's Guide to Passages South: The Thornless Path to Windward". This guide was written by a sailor, primarily with sailing vessels in mind, but the routes and many of the suggestions are just as relevant to power vessels.

His routes etc are discussed here on CF -- just search the forums.

For info on cruising specific areas like the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, etc... there are many good cruising guides for these popular areas. I suggest getting a cruising guide for each area you plan to visit.
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Old 15-02-2012, 16:27   #5
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Re: Florida to British Virgin Islands route on power?

O and by the way late Aug or Sept, is NOT a Good time to be going that way it can be the worst time for BIG storms LOL just sayin Bob and Connie
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Old 15-02-2012, 16:28   #6
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Re: Florida to British Virgin Islands route on power?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobconnie View Post
Buy the right Trawler, and won't be to much of a problem !just make sure of your fuel tankage, and your safe range, I just sold a Defever which would have made it without a fuel stop!! Most of your express cruisers do not have tankage to make such a cruise with out a stop. :
Big point. With a diesel trawler you will be much less concerned about frequent fuel stops. Express cruiser could get you there faster but at a lot higher fuel cost and take a good deal more planning for the fuel stops.
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Old 15-02-2012, 16:36   #7
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Re: Florida to British Virgin Islands route on power?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobconnie View Post
O and by the way late Aug or Sept, is NOT a Good time to be going that way it can be the worst time for BIG storms LOL just sayin Bob and Connie
Haha! Yeah, that is why I am planning now, hehe!

I read I should wait until December to go. I have all ready bought my ticket to Miami from Norway, so I am landing August 25 no matter what.

I got a 3 month visa for the US, so if I am stretching it, I could wait until 25 of November to go to Bahamas and wait it out there.

I figured if I went to Bahamas on a sunny day with great forecast in October, and took it Island by Island, stop by stop, it would be fine for as long as I am not in a hurry.

I am pretty care free from natures side, but I still want to get there alive
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Old 15-02-2012, 16:39   #8
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Re: Florida to British Virgin Islands route on power?

I have now ordered:

"Tricks of the Trades"
Bruce Van Sant

and

"Caribbean Passagemaking, 2E"
Les Weatheritt

Hopefully that should save my day
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Old 15-02-2012, 16:55   #9
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Re: Florida to British Virgin Islands route on power?

Now ya just need some good charts and a good boat !! watch the weather and you should do just fine !! You will know if something big is coming we do have pretty good bad weather tracking down here in the area !! have fun trip Connie and I have done the same trip a couple of yrs back and had a real blast !! maybe we will see ya out there !! Bob and Connie
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Old 15-02-2012, 17:06   #10
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Re: Florida to British Virgin Islands route on power?

Thank you!

I figured as long as we can island hop in small leaps, the amount of surprises should be limited. Also, i figured there is probably other boats taking the same trip and waiting for good weather. I read people are going in packs to the next safe haven every time there is a clearing. That would be nice too.

The longest leap (i am just guessing here) should be at about 100 nm from the turks to D.R. There is the possibility to go close to those other islands there, so it should not be a risk to end up alone in the middle of the Atlantic anyway
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Old 15-02-2012, 17:54   #11
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Re: Florida to British Virgin Islands route on power?

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Originally Posted by lostviking View Post

...I can`t sail and I do not have the time to learn it before our final departure from Norway...
Even though you are not interested in sailing, you really should invest some time to learn at least some basic seamanship and cruising related skills. You will need them.

Examples: Navigation, Weather, Mechanical, Electrical, Communication (VHF, SSB...), Docking, Anchoring...
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Old 15-02-2012, 18:09   #12
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Re: Florida to British Virgin Islands route on power?

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Originally Posted by lostviking View Post
...
I read I should wait until December to go. I have all ready bought my ticket to Miami from Norway, so I am landing August 25 no matter what.

I got a 3 month visa for the US, so if I am stretching it, I could wait until 25 of November to go to Bahamas and wait it out there.

I figured if I went to Bahamas on a sunny day with great forecast in October, and took it Island by Island, stop by stop, it would be fine for as long as I am not in a hurry.

...
Keep in mind that Hurricane season does not "officially" end until Nov 30. Historically some the most destructive storms have been late season storms.

Also, Dec-Feb you can get some very strong cold fronts -- pay attention to the weather...and stay out of "death trap" anchorages in the Bahamas when a front is expected.

See discussions of crossings from FL to the Bahamas here on CF. It is only a short distance, but you do not want to get your weather forecast wrong -- it could make for a very unpleasant life experience!
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Old 15-02-2012, 18:34   #13
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Re: Florida to British Virgin Islands route on power?

I know I have a bit to learn, and it is part of my research. As is this post here.
I will stay at least 2 months in Miami, most likely 3. There I will take the STCW95 course and at least one captaining course. I will buy a boat the first month and live on it for the remaining 2. That way I get to know my boat and do the TLC and possible upgrades needed.

The reason I am buying in the US and taking it to the BVI is the wide choice of cheap second hand boats, price and selection of parts and skilled workers.

I plan to avoid getting a wooden boat because of the extra maintenance and keep it simple.
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Old 16-02-2012, 03:51   #14
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Re: Florida to British Virgin Islands - Route on Power ?

Last year, friend of mine asked me to help him bring his 48' sport fisherman from Ft Lauderdale to Nevis. I did a little preliminary research and passage planning, enough to come up with and estimate of the fuel cost. He decided to put it on a freighter, which cost him about the same as the fuel would have, so we didn't do the delivery.

Here's a spreadsheet with my first stab at a route through the Bahamas, T&Cs, DR, PR, and VIs. It might be of some use to you in getting started on your plan, especially if you buy an express cruiser, which would have the speed to make the longer jumps in daylight. My friend wanted to make the trip with our wives, stay in marinas, and not do any overnights, so the preliminary passage plan shows that approach.

There are some folks here on CF with a lot more experience in the Bahamas than I have, so I'd hope they'll chime in with suggestions.
Attached Files
File Type: xls Passage Planning.xls (23.0 KB, 1121 views)
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Old 16-02-2012, 07:09   #15
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Re: Florida to British Virgin Islands - Route on Power ?

Wow! Thanks Hud3!

This is more than I could have hoped for!

As a first raw sketch, this looks like a great place to start!
I want to take my wife too, and only stay in Marinas.

Since it will be hurricane season, I wan to have at least 48 hours of great weather forecast before I take on an 8 hour trip.

Again, thanks!
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