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Old 23-12-2008, 04:22   #1
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Best Winter Route from Ft. Lauderdale to St. Thomas?

Hi everyone, Im glad I joined the forum and look forward to gaining from the knowledge everyone here has to offer.

We will soon be cruising on a friends sailboat from Ft Lauderdale to St Thomas USVI. We will be a 4 person crew (all childhood friends) and have scheduled for 3 hour watches (one on the helm, one standby and two resting). If all goes according to plan we should be leaving FT Lauderdale on the 10th of Jan.

What would be the fastest and safest route?

Catch the gulfstream heading NE over the Bahamas to Lat28n then tack down SE or cut thru the Bahamas and stay on the lower Lats of 25n and work our way SE?


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Old 23-12-2008, 05:12   #2
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Welcome to Cruisers Forum, alexsails!

That passage can be a bit challenging any time of the year, but especially now, when the Christmas Winds are blowing. There's been a lot written here on the topic. Here are a couple of links to get you started. Enjoy your stay here!

Thorny Path

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Old 23-12-2008, 06:20   #3
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Thanks I have read the info on the link and read the reviews on The Gentleman's Guide to Passages South.

So the idea is to head east as much as posible to 66-65w but not higher than 28n avoiding the shifting horse latitudes, then cut south with the NE on a port tack landing on top of the USVI.

Do you or anyone else have ideas and or tips for this passage?

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Old 23-12-2008, 06:23   #4
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My tip would be, Have good weather info when leaving and along your passage and have a fall back plan since you will probably need it that time of year.
Chesapeake Bay, ICW Hampton Roads To Key West, The Gulf Coast, The Bahamas

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Old 23-12-2008, 07:14   #5
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With mostly E wind in the bahamas would it be wiser to sail/motor past Great Abaco and Harbor Island and turn SE to the turks on a port tack then tack NE to 24n and 65w to catch the NE wind ....then port tack SSE to VI?

This way we would keep close to the bahamas an turks on the first days of passage should anything go wrong and still be able to catch the NE on port straight to the VI.

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Old 12-10-2009, 10:34   #6
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Go to Sailorman and get all the fuel jugs you can, enough for 1,000 miles minimum. Go through the Providence channels. When you get to Southwest Pt head out motorsailing on Starboard tack tight as you can. Keep your sail area down so you are not healing excessively and starving your engine of oil (a reefed main and a staysail if you have one works well. Forget the jib.) After 24-36 hours (24 if over 40' more if smaller) tack over and do the same on port tack. Stay away from Puerto Rico where the current will kill you. If you can't lay STT and start getting within 75 miles of the islands take another hitch out until you can come in comfortably on Pillsbury Sound. First two weeks of November are traditionally good. Big winds coming later, the thorny path can keep you harbor bound in the DR for months. Not always such a bad thing, but...

Rig up a transfer pump (hand pump is fine) and get your fuel into the main tanks when the weather is good, don't wait 'til the last moment, and don't waste fuel trying to pour it from jugs into deck fills.

Enjoy! Take fishing gear, you are in great dolphin/wahoo waters!

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