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Old 01-05-2017, 13:37   #1
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Cartagena to Antigua

Hello, this is my first post on this forum.
I am planning a trip from Cartagena, Colombia where I am currently docked, to Antigua in the Leeward Islands later this month. The only question I have is what may be the best way to cross given that the winds in the area blow from the east? Should I plan to aim a few degrees north, or would some tacking pattern be best?

I am fairly new to sailing and hope that someone with more experience (especially in this area) might be able to help me as I am not used to navigating so much against the wind.

I will be sailing in a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45ft Sloop.

Thank you for any help you can give
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Old 01-05-2017, 19:28   #2
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Re: Cartagena to Antigua

And let me guess...you need to be there by a particular date right?

The good news is that the nasty bit of ocean off Colombia starts to settle down about this time of year...unfortunately thats about it for good news.

Maybe someone else can come up with something else positive.
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Old 01-05-2017, 19:42   #3
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Re: Cartagena to Antigua

A hard slog to windward and probably the hardest passage in the Caribbean. The trip from Cartagena past Santa Marta can be very hard. Get to Aruba and then sail best course to windward to the northern Caribbean and then work the lee of the islands down to Antigua.

Take lots of fuel and allow lots of time as it is very hard to tack east against wind and current.

Good luck you will be an experienced sailor by the time you get to Antigua probably just in time for the first Tropical Storm.
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Old 01-05-2017, 20:19   #4
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Re: Cartagena to Antigua

You just gotta plug away at it.

It's not that far.
.just go slow, have lots of food, lots of books and a gritted smile.

It's not that far.
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Old 02-05-2017, 02:20   #5
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Re: Cartagena to Antigua

We did something similar in a Jeanneau DS40 but were not totally rookies but fairly new. We headed north to San Blas that then across to Jamaica - we did not want to deal with constant semi lo off Colombia. It can be just a bash.
We had friends who headed farther north and had a good sail to Cayman Isl then Cuba and down island.
BUT you do need to take your time as it is a bash and yes we sailed to within 20nm of Jamaica before we started the engine to make the ese to Jamaica - we spent 5 days at 45-50 deg on the wind and could have tacked and tacked and tacked to say we sailed in but said who cares and pulled the sails and motored the last 20nm.

it is very do able but you must be patient and work at it
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Old 02-05-2017, 07:15   #6
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Re: Cartagena to Antigua

"North" to San Blas? 😆

Anyway, thats one option...or this time of year, the rough area off Colombia settles down. You could wait for a weather window (when that area is settled) then make for a point as north and east as reasonable directly from Cartegena. The further east the better.

If you could make Jamaica for example then you could work your way east from there. Ive had friends make Jamaica from the San Blas, as did chuckr, (with lots of motor sailing) so it is feasible from Cartagena.

Unfortunately there is no easy way to do this route...except via yacht transport.
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Old 02-05-2017, 08:08   #7
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Re: Cartagena to Antigua

It's going to be into wind and beating or motorsailing or just motoring. Slow and uncomfortable.

Pity you don't seem to have more time as by picking your weather windows you could cruise Jamaica/Cuba/Turks and Caicos then with north easterly winds that you will get later in the year you have a chance of making most of the easting you will need to reach from there south east to a point where you can use the easterlies too.

You do know don't you that if you arrive in late May you will be arriving just before the start of the hurricane season?
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Old 02-05-2017, 08:30   #8
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Re: Cartagena to Antigua

Two options, beat east close hauled which can be a very hard beat, or sail north as close hauled as it comfortable then motor sail east under the lee of Haiti, DR and PR.

If you have the fuel the later is by far the easier and more comfortable.

As noted, this time of year the trade winds usually calm down a bit and the beat gets less difficult.

I would head out as close to the direct course to Antigua as was comfortable but be prepared to end up a bit west and motorsail the rest of the way.
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Old 02-05-2017, 10:21   #9
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Re: Cartagena to Antigua

Quote:
Originally Posted by poiu View Post
...

You do know don't you that if you arrive in late May you will be arriving just before the start of the hurricane season?
That was another bit of bad news I was leaving out.

Why are you leaving hurricane safe Colombia and sailing into the hurricane highway? Most would be going the opposite way.

Alternatively, you could scoot over to Panama as the Trades settle down...its a much easier run now or soon than in full on Trades season. Leave the boat in Panama for hurricane season. Then as winter months approach use cold fronts to your advantage to get N and E (I did weather routing for friends earlier this year for San Blas-Providencia-Cuba...played the fronts...they got beautiful beam to broad reach sailing all the way! Cant do that now). Much easier that way and can be done on a enjoyable cruising schedule rather than just bashing to windward for hundreds of miles.
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