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Old 14-12-2015, 19:21   #1
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Don Street Northern Florida to Caribbean Route

Don Street advocates a trip from Jacksonville area to the VI using the following route:

In November you wait for a predicted norther to be two days out, you head east over the gulf stream in 24 to 36 hours then shorten sail and ride out the norther making easting then when the wind shifts and builds from the east you make south to the caribbean on a beam reach.

We like to settle in at about 5 or maybe 5.5 knots so 72 or so hours would only give us about 360-400 miles easting before heading south. That would put us close hauled for the southing @ 141T or so.

Any feedback on that approach from folks that have done it? Is this a teeth kicking bad idea?
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Old 14-12-2015, 19:43   #2
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Re: Don Street Northern Florida to Caribbean Route

You need to get to 66deg E
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Old 14-12-2015, 20:16   #3
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Re: Don Street Northern Florida to Caribbean Route

Meant W, but E would work also.
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Old 14-12-2015, 20:25   #4
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Re: Don Street Northern Florida to Caribbean Route

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boatguy30 View Post
You need to get to 66deg E
That was my original plot but it didn't jive with Don's notes, thanks for clarifying.

That's a long way to make easting against a prevailing wind. We would almost be better off going north and then east->south or simply taking the thorny route.
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Old 14-12-2015, 21:01   #5
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Re: Don Street Northern Florida to Caribbean Route

Don Street is outdated, as are his recommendations. Nowdays you want to look at the gribs, or Sailflow, FNMOC, and see what is really expected to happen and plan accordingly. Or you can get a Chris Parker subscription and he will tell you what to do.
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Old 15-12-2015, 08:34   #6
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Re: Don Street Northern Florida to Caribbean Route

Look at the pillars! Probably want to cross the stream as described and go as far East as you can on the Northerly. Then sail NE until you reach the Westerlies so as to broad reach to W66 before turning South. More miles but a much more pleasant sail and probably doesn't take any longer than the Street plan which will get you there but likely kick you butt in the process.
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Old 15-12-2015, 08:47   #7
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Re: Don Street Northern Florida to Caribbean Route

A great new tool is http://windyty.com. It shows the surface wind (and other stuff as well) and can forecast surface winds up to 12 days in the future. I found out about it from ActiveCaptain and those guys swear by it.

For instance, you could leave tomorrow from Jax heading 110 for 550 nm then steer 140. That would be a beam reach the whole way given the wind forecast.
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Old 15-12-2015, 08:50   #8
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pirate Re: Don Street Northern Florida to Caribbean Route

I have done this a couple of times but from further S.. Ft Lauderdale and Ft Pierce.. I went N of the Banks on a 3 day S'ly.. turning E asap.. which then went N for a couple of days during which I continued to make Easting before going SE and curving down to the BVI's or SMX.. never had head winds.. couple of calms..
Oh.. these were between Jan and March..
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Old 15-12-2015, 13:26   #9
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Re: Don Street Northern Florida to Caribbean Route

Off shore plotting, and I mean real off shore is probably the thing I am most challenged on right now. I'd like to be able to say "sure just hop of the east coast and head east until the cows sing then head south" and mean like I know it... but I don't.

I thought that using something like Windty would be nice as well but it hard to get that data off shore. I know about GRIBs and I have taken the weather classes but how to really know how to position your vessel is a whole other thing.

I think maybe this is the reason rally's are so popular.

I'm quite embarrassed that people with far less experience than I (and I have been coastal sailing - if not cruising - for almost 30 years now) just hop on a boat and sail across the ocean.
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Old 15-12-2015, 20:03   #10
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Re: Don Street Northern Florida to Caribbean Route

you will need to go east to 65 deg Longitude. then turn south.
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Old 16-12-2015, 09:37   #11
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Re: Don Street Northern Florida to Caribbean Route

If you can't make your easting in time, you could heave to and wait for the next norther. With a SW radio and a weatherfax app on a tablet, you can monitor the 5640 line on the 500mb chart. Storm conditions rarely occur south of the line in the northern hemisphere. As winter sets in, the fronts sweep through that latitude with increasing regularity, which means you may not have to wait long for the second Norther. I have not made this voyage, but am considering it this winter.

Another option would be to sail to San Salvador Bahamas on the first weather window, then wait for a second there. That would cheat you about as far to the East as possible.

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Old 16-12-2015, 13:51   #12
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Re: Don Street Northern Florida to Caribbean Route

There's no rule that says that you HAVE to get to 66, or to 65, or whatever. It really depends on your boat and what you are comfortable with.

Most people are not going to be comfortable close hauled for days at a time, but something a bit more on the wind than a beam reach (again, depending on you and your boat) might be perfectly fine. So if you leave Jacksonville and can make it east to 70 of longitude then your course to the USVI would be about 160 true. That puts you in the neighborhood of 70 off the prevailing easterly wind. Not quite a beam reach, but fairly close, and perhaps very comfortable.

The point is that the route you choose needs to be based on more than just what someone else--a different sailor in a different boat--thought worked best for them. You need to know your comfort zone, how you sail, and how your boat handles. And then you need to decide for yourself what is going to work best.

Good luck.
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Old 16-12-2015, 14:10   #13
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Re: Don Street Northern Florida to Caribbean Route

You are right there is no rule but you would need a lot of luck or a lot of range under power for a good passage at much west of 65 Deg.
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