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Old 26-04-2016, 08:08   #1
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Puerto Rico to Florida

I am in PR and want to sail my 45' catamaran back to Florida. What are the best months to make the passage? What are the best weather conditions: east moving; west moving; trough; front; tropical wave? I have returned from Panama so I am familiar with long ocean passages.
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Old 26-04-2016, 09:04   #2
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Re: Puerto Rico to Florida

Winter months you have a good chance of hitting a cold front with strong winds that, if you're in the Gulf Stream, will be opposing the direction of the currents and result in big, steep, nasty waves. Risk increases the closer you get to FL

Summer to fall you enter hurricane season. Careful attention to forecasts and a bailout plan can usually deal with that but better to avoid if you can.

So, best times to go; fall when hurricane risks decrease but before winter fronts increase OR late spring after fronts decrease but before hurricane risks increase.

Other than the above mentioned weather issues you will be in the trade winds with a downwind run all the way. You will also have a current with you most of the way. How much depends on the route you choose.

So final answer, the best weather conditions are when you have no conditions IE normal trade winds.
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Old 26-04-2016, 13:16   #3
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Re: Puerto Rico to Florida

Thank you very much.
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Old 26-04-2016, 14:31   #4
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Re: Puerto Rico to Florida

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Thank you very much.
Have you decided on the route? Two basic options, direct, non-stop down the Old Bahamas Channel (between Cuba north coast and the Bahama Banks) or island hopping through the Bahamas.

This of course assumes you don't stop in Cuba which seems to be happening more but is technically still not Kosher.
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Old 27-04-2016, 17:22   #5
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Re: Puerto Rico to Florida

Outside of the tiresome long trip, and with proper weather planning, is the Old Bahama route bad (sea heights & current). Seems like everyone advocates the island hopping these days, but I'm thinking of getting there quickly.
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Old 27-04-2016, 18:26   #6
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Re: Puerto Rico to Florida

Island hopping is handy when you're leaving from the states.
Going to the states you have the prevailing winds and currents behind you, good for a quick trip.
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Old 27-04-2016, 18:38   #7
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Re: Puerto Rico to Florida

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Island hopping is handy when you're leaving from the states.
Going to the states you have the prevailing winds and currents behind you, good for a quick trip.
Exactly. Headed back to the states The Old Bahamas Channel is an easy sail and probably the fastest. Downside, unless you consider Cuba, there's nowhere to stop.

Island hopping, if you have the time would be more fun but also more demanding navigation.
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Old 28-04-2016, 18:32   #8
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Re: Puerto Rico to Florida

How much more difficult to take Old Bahama southbound?
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Old 28-04-2016, 18:57   #9
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Re: Puerto Rico to Florida

I would make Big San Cay, Turks & Caicos my first stop

Second stop 50 or so miles west in between Big- and Little Ambergris cays.

Then on to Abrahams Bay in the Bahamas.

Those are some of the finest places to visit in the world imo make sure you know how to navigate around reefs though.
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Old 28-04-2016, 19:10   #10
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Re: Puerto Rico to Florida

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How much more difficult to take Old Bahama southbound?
A lot more difficult!!! I've made the trip a couple of times both ways. Headed west back to the states it's a down-wind sleigh ride. East to PR or the VI it is almost always a hard, wet, beat dead against the wind.

If you're lucky and the trades are NE then you can hold a good course but that's more common in the winter which usually means much stronger winds as well. If you're considering going this direction search on "thorny path", "I-65" for more detail.
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