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Old 19-06-2012, 12:56   #1
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St. Thomas north

We are planning a route north from St. Thomas to Charleston and hoped to leave by June 30 but it looks like it might be July now. Q: Is another week or two going to significantly alter the weather outlook? We will be using a weather service via sat phone. Would like all opinions and experiences y'all might share. On a 38' s/v
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Old 19-06-2012, 12:56   #2
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Re: St. Thomas north

Charleston SC.
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Old 19-06-2012, 13:05   #3
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Re: St. Thomas north

The later you wait the deeper into hurricane season but I guess you already know that.

I would head more or less west out of St Thomas, just far enough north to clear the Navidad, Silver and Mouchoir banks north of DR. Then stay just east of the edge of the T&C and Bahamas until past the north end of the Abacos and gradually turn north to Charleston, staying close enough to the US coast to catch the extra kick from the Gulf Stream.

This keeps you closer to places to duck in for supplies or repairs and maybe to divert in case a depression is headed your way.
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Old 19-06-2012, 14:17   #4
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Re: St. Thomas north

thank you. i appreciate the advice
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Old 19-06-2012, 14:27   #5
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Re: St. Thomas north

SkipHardin,
A few brief points...

1) Skipmac gave you good advice....follow it....

2) In my opinion, early July is fine, as long as you keep an eye on "tropical development"..... (I sailed across the Atlantic a few years ago, leaving S. Florida June 27th.....and have spent > 40 years on/off sailing and cruising the Bahamas and Carib, etc. during "the season"....so I have a different outlook than some others that talk of eminent doom on the water during the season....)

3) But, in addition to being a bit deeper into "the season", remember that winds get pretty light in July as you get north of 20*-25*N, so make allowances in your passage planning for possibly slower speeds....

4) Not sure what "weather service" you're going to be using, nor what satellite service you have...but I have a few tips for you here...
a) Do NOT forget the "gold standard" of offshore marine weather...the US NWS/NOAA Marine Weather, from the Ocean Prediction Center and Tropical Prediction Center....
All the links you need are here (including links to USCG broadcasts, etc.)...
National Weather Service Marine Forecasts
b) If you're using Globalstar, please understand their sporadic coverage, and use their "time table tool" on their website (a couple days before you leave) in order to know approx. when you'll have coverage/signal...
c) Consider Herb Hilgenberg's Weather Net on the HF radio.....he's a great weather guy (and FREE) and requires no expensive satellite connection....
South Bound II VAX498 - Ship routing and weather forecasting


I hope you don't mind the additional info....
Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 19-06-2012, 14:40   #6
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Re: St. Thomas north

I would suggest a variation on Skipmac's good route - and that is to "Q" flag it through the Bahamas from T&C toward Mayaguana and up to the Exumas Sound and then through to New Providence Channel to join the Gulfstream off the West End then ride the Gulfstream to Charleston.

You can legally "Q" through the Bahamas so long as you do not set foot on land or do any fishing in their waters. In fact stow and hide any fishing gear so it is not visible.

This route affords you multiple harbors of refuge should a storm rear its ugly head - and you get more of a push from the Gulf Stream.

There is another variation known as the "delivery skipper" route and that is to run west through the Old Bahamas Channel which runs underneath the Bahamas and then join the GulfStream for the sleigh ride north. This is a very fast route as you have the wind behind the beam and the currents on your stern.
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Old 19-06-2012, 15:42   #7
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Re: St. Thomas north

Thanks to all for the post and info.

Q: Why is it almost always recommended to take the I65 route if one is going from the US East Coast to St. Thomas but leaving St Thomas is more a rhume line route NE?
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Old 19-06-2012, 15:46   #8
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Re: St. Thomas north

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkipHardin View Post
Q: Why is it almost always recommended to take the I65 route if one is going from the US East Coast to St. Thomas but leaving St Thomas is more a rhume line route NE?
The prevailing winds....

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 19-06-2012, 16:20   #9
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Re: St. Thomas north

thanks John, I guess I was trying to make it more esoteric than it seemed
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Old 19-06-2012, 17:28   #10
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Re: St. Thomas north

Quote:
Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
I would suggest a variation on Skipmac's good route - and that is to "Q" flag it through the Bahamas from T&C toward Mayaguana and up to the Exumas Sound and then through to New Providence Channel to join the Gulfstream off the West End then ride the Gulfstream to Charleston.

You can legally "Q" through the Bahamas so long as you do not set foot on land or do any fishing in their waters. In fact stow and hide any fishing gear so it is not visible.

This route affords you multiple harbors of refuge should a storm rear its ugly head - and you get more of a push from the Gulf Stream.

There is another variation known as the "delivery skipper" route and that is to run west through the Old Bahamas Channel which runs underneath the Bahamas and then join the GulfStream for the sleigh ride north. This is a very fast route as you have the wind behind the beam and the currents on your stern.
Also excellent options. Have tried these as well and each offers some advantages. Old Bahamas Channel route you get a great ride on the Stream but only place to stop in case of problems is Cayo Lobos (or Cuba but not an option for US), a tiny little island miles from nowhere. I know that because we lost two halyards up the mast on a trip back from St Thomas to Ft Lauderdale and that was the only semblance of a lee we could find to anchor. Most fun I ever had going up a mast. Also a couple hundred miles longer travel.

One big downside to the route offshore of the Bahamas and one to be very aware of. If you do encounter bad weather with strong winds out of the east or NE many of the channels into the islands from deep water will have a rage sea, making them impassable just when you want them the most. Only option in these conditions is to go around and find a passage entering from the west.
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