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Old 06-09-2015, 17:09   #1
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Best Route from St Thomas to Miami

I'm looking for route advice for a spring sail from St Thomas to Miami. The boat has a 7' draft. We're in no hurry and can wait for windows, but it will also be just the two of us and the admiral doesn't take the helm in big seas. We've looked at the charts for the Old Bahama Channel, which looks too shallow along the banks. So, that leaves the Thorny Path? Or am I missing something?
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Old 06-09-2015, 17:19   #2
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Re: Best Route from St Thomas to Miami

We went from St Thomas outside of Bahamas and through the Northeast/west Providence channel to Lake Worth. A very nice sail all the way north, turn left, and end-up in Miami

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Old 06-09-2015, 20:00   #3
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Re: Best Route from St Thomas to Miami

Thanks, FunJohnson! So, no stopovers; you just went straight WNW from the north coast of PR to Providence Channel? How long did it take?
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Old 06-09-2015, 20:35   #4
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Re: Best Route from St Thomas to Miami

Yup... left ST Thomas and went North West outside until we were able to cut through the Bahamas. I think it took about 8 days, but it was a wonderful sail in early March. Just watch the weather!


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Old 07-09-2015, 05:19   #5
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Re: Best Route from St Thomas to Miami

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Snail.
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:22   #6
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Re: Best Route from St Thomas to Miami

I did this in 2011, single handed in a Nonsuch 30. Two stops worth while is Sea World, north coast of DR, and Abrahams Bay, Mayaguana island, you can check into the Bahamas there. Both of these stops are worth several day of R&R. Call or email me if you would like a crew member.
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Old 07-09-2015, 09:48   #7
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Re: Best Route from St Thomas to Miami

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snail17 View Post
I'm looking for route advice for a spring sail from St Thomas to Miami. The boat has a 7' draft. We're in no hurry and can wait for windows, but it will also be just the two of us and the admiral doesn't take the helm in big seas. We've looked at the charts for the Old Bahama Channel, which looks too shallow along the banks. So, that leaves the Thorny Path? Or am I missing something?
There is plenty of water along the OBC, even on the banks in most places. What's missing are protected places to anchor unless you're planning on running non-stop. That's a long haul with only two people however.

The way we go is to island hop up through the thorny path. It's an interesting run and plenty of places to stop, rest up, and wait for weather if necessary. Typically we'll go USVI to Puerto Rico south coast; PR to Cap Cana Marina in the DR; Cap Cana to Puerto Bahia Marina; Puerto Bahia to the Turks and Caicos; T&C to Abrams Bay, Mayaguana; Abrams Bay to south end of Acklins; Acklins to Clarence Town, Long Island; CT to west side of Cape Santa Maria, Long Island; CSM to George Town and on up the Exumas; Exumas to Nassau; Nassau to US via Northwest Channel and Castle Rock passage. In Puerto Rico some good stops are Palmas del Mar Marina in the south east and Puerto Real Marina just north of Boqueron. Puerto Real has excellent prices on diesel fuel. In the Exumas don't miss Warderick Wells, just about everyone's favorite stop.
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:33   #8
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Re: Best Route from St Thomas to Miami

I've taken the Old Bahama Channel twice, once with light winds and the second with strong trades. It took 7 days the first trip and 5 days the second. There is plenty of water for big ships, let alone a small boat. I never felt the need to stop and pay the Bahamas $300. The only tricky bit is making sure that you don't head the last 200 miles into a northerly after a cold front passes. If I had it to do again, I'd stop in Cuba.

If your wife doesn't steer in big winds, that what good autopilots are for.
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Old 07-09-2015, 17:58   #9
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Re: Best Route from St Thomas to Miami

We just went from ST Thomas to Ft Lauderdale in May-June. Routed through Spanish Virgins, San Juan, Turks n Caicos (stay north) and through the Bahamas. Only had two over-nighters so easy on the crew. Dodged thunderstorms leaving Puerto Rico but otherwise had good winds and seas.
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Old 07-09-2015, 22:05   #10
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Re: Best Route from St Thomas to Miami

The OBC is a bummer with a North wind and no where to hide. Cuba is an option.

I like the Bahamas option with all the stops. Well worth the $300. If you are not in a hurry this, and a sailor should not be, is the path.
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Old 08-09-2015, 05:30   #11
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Re: Best Route from St Thomas to Miami

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, pkallaus.
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:48   #12
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Re: Best Route from St Thomas to Miami

Hi Snail,

Have made that trip a few times, at least twice up the OBC and a couple of times outside.

As noted, taking the OBC there's plenty of water, even at most places along the edge of the banks but no reason to go onto the banks. No place to stop except Cayo Lobos or Cuba. Nothing at Cayo Lobos and Cuba may be a bit problematic still.

My choice is to sail north of PR and DR and along the eastern edge of the Bahamas. Good sailing and if you want to stop there are many, many options for places to pull in. Just be aware that some of the cuts open to the east can be impassable during "rage" conditions IE, when there are storms or strong winds in the Atlantic or strong north winds that generate large waves on the east/northeast sides of the islands. In those conditions circle around the islands to enter harbors on the south to west sides.
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