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Old 26-06-2014, 10:09   #1
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Dominican Republic north Coast

Aye,

Anyone with experience on the north coast? I am sailing in a few weeks from Ocean World marina to Samana - there seems to be a nice marina there, so I am wondering

1. Anyone has been in "puerto Bahia" marina? (feedback appreacitted)

2. Best spot to break the trip in two days and anchor on my way? (easting is quite rough here!)
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:55   #2
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Re: Dominican Republic north Coast

I suggest getting in touch directly with Frank Virgintino [email fvirgintino@gmail.com]; he can provide lots of credible advice.

Gil "Gilberto" McWhirter may also be able to provide some guidance. His email address is gilberto@luperonproperties.com.

You should carefully review Frank's detailed cruising guide, available at http://freecruisingguides.com. For present purposes, the following extract suggests that you shouldn't count on anchoring and breaking the trip up into two legs:
Quote:
The North Coast has wonderful harbors on the western end (Monticristi and Manzanillo). However, from Luperon going East, the north coast is an extremely difficult coast. The waters of the Atlantic are rough and when the trade winds are blowing or a “norther” comes down from the United States, the North Coast is beyond difficult; it can be outright dangerous.

There really is no place to stop east of Luperon that is safe and when the wind is from the NE or from the E with seas from the NE, the entirety of the North Coast is not tenable. You will find yourself riding big seas on a windbound coast. To transit the north coast one needs to be an experienced sailor. If you rely on your motor, it must be in good condition and your tank and filters clean. Spare filters should be kept handy and all other precautions should be taken. And one must understand weather beyond casually.

You must understand the interaction of a “norther” coming down from the States and its impact on the trade winds. You also need to understand the katabatic winds that come off shore at night and how they affect the Trades.

The biggest cape that you will pass on this transit is "Cabo Frances Viejo”. It translates, Cape Old Frances. She probably got old trying to pass the cape as it seems to take forever to do so.

The key to the north shore is to remember that you are on a hostile lee shore. Your boat must be able to “tack” off if your motor fails you….

Aside from Luperón and Puerto Plata (Ocean World), the north coast for all of its distance has no other safe harbors going east. There are some stops one may make along the way such as Sosua, Rio Grande and Bahía Escondida, but these are small anchorages that are not always tenable. They are dangerous in northeasterly winds, or even easterly winds with a northerly sea running.

To transit the north coast east along the Dominican Republic requires really settled weather; “a weather window.” It is a very rough wind bound coast and if the stops are untenable then one must work a lee coast for the entire distance with contrary trade winds and rough seas.

There are times when the wind can subside, but finding this window of opportunity can be frustrating and time consuming. Once the complexities of weather have been considered and you depart, if conditions change you will be caught out with adverse winds and waves pushing you towards an inhospitable coastline.
The Puerto Bahia Marina is very briefly mentioned in the cruising guide (page 136) but no real information is provided: I presume because the marina is quite new.

Hope this is of some use.
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Old 02-07-2014, 19:37   #3
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Re: Dominican Republic north Coast

You might want to pick up a copy of "The Gentleman's Guide To Passages South" aka "The Thornless Path" by Bruce Van Sant.
Bruce is land bound now but he previously sailed that coast many times working his way to and from the Caribbean. It is a gold mine of info, I believe the current edition is going to be the last.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:13   #4
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Re: Dominican Republic north Coast

I can tell you that we had one of the worst experiences of our entire cruising life in Puerto Plata. We bypassed the usual "cruisers" port of Semana and continued on to Puerto Plata when we were crossing from PR (because we were picking up a friend in Puerto Plata).

The authorities were unorganized and demanded money multiple times... you can read our Puerto Plata experience here.

This is where we landed:



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Old 03-07-2014, 07:34   #5
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Re: Dominican Republic north Coast

I sure was lucky. I sailed this coast with out all that guidance. Since I approached it in day light it was pretty obvious there was no place to land. I sailed it in early march when there were huge twelve foot wave breaking on the beach. We just kept well off shore a mile or so and sailed into Puerto Plata. Crew was angry with me since we barely had enough food for the trip. being a novice I thought I could stop in Punta Cana for supply.

There is no harbor there, and no place to safely land a dingy in the heavy surf breaking that day.

The seas were confused and no wind when we passed samana bay, almost lost crew over the side trying to rescue the topping lift when it broke

Then between there and Puerto Plata, we lost the leeward stay stanchion. Nothing untoward happened, sailed to Puerto Plata and motored in. Needed to give the Port a authorities a fairly hefty fee, but other wise a pleasant trip.
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Old 03-07-2014, 10:07   #6
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Re: Dominican Republic north Coast

gosh.

interesting perspectives...
i'm not on my boat but i am currently on the north shore.
and frankly, i love it here...enough, that its on my short list of places i want to retire.

super cheap (away from marinas/resorts)..gorgeous beaches, gorgeous people, perfect weather, and the constant 15-30knots onshore winds practically every afternoon make this place heaven on earth(at least for a male kiteboarder)

if you are unfamiliar with area...Bruce's guide is a necessity.
his contact info is posted on his website...just email or ask questions directly
Quote:
BruceVanSant@gmail.com or RosaVanSant@gmail.com

Call at home 809-821-8239 or 809-543-0079
the thermal winds and offshore reefs which makes this place wonderful for surfing and kite sports can make for a rather uncomfortable(but not impossible) place to sail. (think north shores of hawaii islands..but without monster swells)

luperon is filthy...and the marina @pto plata is expensive to me. that animal attraction is a huge turn off to me also..

but those are the only long term options i know of..

sosua and maybe rio san juan can be used as overnight anchorages..however both have reef concerns

if going into tradewinds u NEED to keep tacks within wind shadows of the two capes. ideally from ~7pm-12pm (is very simple..but vant sant guidebooks explains it very well)

no experiences with authorities..and i'm still trying to figure out the "regalo" culture here(being able to "grease"...can be very useful in terms of getting things done the way u want)

anywhoo...
maybe this is a better place to visit when *not* arriving by boat...


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Old 03-07-2014, 12:37   #7
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Re: Dominican Republic north Coast

be careful in the early morning the local fishermens put flotation nets with milk gallons jugs can get caught to propellers

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Old 18-07-2014, 18:50   #8
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Re: Dominican Republic north Coast

guys, amazing set of replies. I will post back how everithing is going when i set sal, i am planning to arrive to my boat first week of august, and I will wait for a prosper Weather Window, as suggested. The reviews out there are pretty scary though.

i will also send an email to bruce and i hope he replies, i have his book, but is in the boat so i will have to wait until i get there. i will prepare myself well, and if we have rough seas or nowhere to stop, it will be, i hope, an experience.

i will remember that despite not good anchorages sosua, rio grande and bahia escondida are the places to look for shelter. if untenable i guess the only option is to continue sailing, maybe north and tack south to enter samana.

thoughs?

again, thx for all the comments!
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Old 18-07-2014, 20:02   #9
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Re: Dominican Republic north Coast

I made this trip dozen of times, for me this is how it work, night sail pls, light Easterlies or E SE , not so far from shore, 10 to 15 miles distance, keep a good clearance when you start to round Cabo Cabron, sometimes its a nasty place and after that a glorious run downwind to Samana, Puerto Plata its a nightmare and only used in a real emergency for me, but its up to you... Good sailing....
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Old 18-07-2014, 20:05   #10
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Re: Dominican Republic north Coast

BTW i see you mention Sosua, well Sosua its not allowed to stop, you need to ask at Custom and Inmigration but usualy if you are granted to stop at Sosua is for few hours and its usually a rolly anchorage....
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Old 19-07-2014, 07:03   #11
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Re: Dominican Republic north Coast

weather window is what you have to consider just wait for them

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Old 19-07-2014, 07:50   #12
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Re: Dominican Republic north Coast

I anchored at both Rio San Juan and Puerto Escondido. I found both to be reasonable in prevailing summer conditions. Most certainly would not want to be at either in northerly winds.
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Old 06-04-2015, 16:31   #13
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Re: Dominican Republic north Coast

Quote:
Originally Posted by WTF View Post
I will post back how everything is going when I set sail; I am planning to arrive to my boat first week of August, and I will wait for a proper weather window, as suggested.
How did your passage go?
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