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Old 30-08-2017, 16:18   #1
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When is Best Time to Sail the Bahamas

Hi everyone

We are going south for the winter, sailing from Florida down to Martinique then making the turn an sailing back up to the US for next spring.

So - we want to visit the Bahamas - is it best to do this going south - meaning from early december to January? Or visit it coming back, meaning next spring - March/april?

Also can anyone recommend a good guide book to sailing the Bahamas?
Thanks

Carsten
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Old 30-08-2017, 18:29   #2
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Re: When is Best Time to Sail the Bahamas

By March and April, it will be out of hurricane season, which may affect your insurance..

Ann
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Old 30-08-2017, 18:52   #3
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Re: When is Best Time to Sail the Bahamas

Carsten,
the best sailing in the Bahamas is from April 15 to June 15th. The Winter Northers have passed and the hurricane season has not begun: bright sunny skies, winds 10-15, seas 2-4 feet. And, after Easter, many of the snowbirds have left for Summer up North and you can have many of the popular anchorages to yourself without the attendant crowds. I hope this helps. Good luck and safe sailing.
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Old 30-08-2017, 22:12   #4
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Re: When is Best Time to Sail the Bahamas

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Hi everyone

We are going south for the winter, sailing from Florida down to Martinique then making the turn an sailing back up to the US for next spring.

So - we want to visit the Bahamas - is it best to do this going south - meaning from early december to January? Or visit it coming back, meaning next spring - March/april?

Also can anyone recommend a good guide book to sailing the Bahamas?
Thanks

Carsten
A few more details would help. How do you plan to get to Martinique. One standard route is to head to the Bahamas from South Florida on a day sail to Bimini, another day sail across the bank to maybe Morgans or Chub, then a day sail to West Bay, day sail to Spanish Wells, easy day sails down to Georgetown, stopping to play along the way. Then the hard trip across the Thorny Patch to the DR and easy day sails (at least easier than the Throny Patch) South to Martinique. Another option would be to bite the bullet and gut it out through the Windward Passage with maybe one or two stops (or straight through) to your final destination.

For a guide to the Bahamas the Explorer charts are the gold standard. Also highly recommend Bruce Van Sant's book.

The thing to watch for is cold fronts heading South. They can kick up the sea state and it is common to have to hold up for a week or more in a sheltered harbor when these fronts pass. But they seldom get to Georgetown. Problem is that once you get to Georgetown, where the living is easy, you are faced with the hard part of the trip. So many folks simply stay in Georgetown for the season and then head North later on after the fronts stop heading South.
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Old 31-08-2017, 04:10   #5
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Re: When is Best Time to Sail the Bahamas

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A few more details would help. How do you plan to get to Martinique. One standard route is to head to the Bahamas from South Florida on a day sail to Bimini, another day sail across the bank to maybe Morgans or Chub, then a day sail to West Bay, day sail to Spanish Wells, easy day sails down to Georgetown, stopping to play along the way. Then the hard trip across the Thorny Patch to the DR and easy day sails (at least easier than the Throny Patch) South to Martinique. Another option would be to bite the bullet and gut it out through the Windward Passage with maybe one or two stops (or straight through) to your final destination.

For a guide to the Bahamas the Explorer charts are the gold standard. Also highly recommend Bruce Van Sant's book.

The thing to watch for is cold fronts heading South. They can kick up the sea state and it is common to have to hold up for a week or more in a sheltered harbor when these fronts pass. But they seldom get to Georgetown. Problem is that once you get to Georgetown, where the living is easy, you are faced with the hard part of the trip. So many folks simply stay in Georgetown for the season and then head North later on after the fronts stop heading South.

We're not sure on our route south - If we skip the bahamas on the way south - then we'll probably just sail eastward out on the Atlantic 5-6 days time then turn south an head straight to Martinique. The 5-6 fays will get ujs out beyond the gulf stream and we can have a nice beam reach going south.
We kinda like passages

ON the other hand - if we go through the Bahamas................

carsten
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Old 31-08-2017, 09:51   #6
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Re: When is Best Time to Sail the Bahamas

[QUOTE=tomfl;2468168] Another option would be to bite the bullet and gut it out through the Windward Passage with maybe one or two stops (or straight through) to your final destination.

If you are thinking of going straight to the Caribbean, which is what I'd do as getting the crap beat out of me on the Thorny Path doesn't sound very appealing or taking forever on the Thornless Path doesn't sound much better, take a look at the advice from Tor Pinney.

Tor Pinney's Homepage - A Cruising Sailor's Homeport

If it were me, I'd go to the Caribbean by going East to about 068* before laying Antigua or St. Maarten, and I would cruise the Bahamas on the way back when the wind will almost always be abaft the beam.

I hope to do it myself in that manor if I don't get aged out.
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Old 31-08-2017, 09:54   #7
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Re: When is Best Time to Sail the Bahamas

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
We're not sure on our route south - If we skip the bahamas on the way south - then we'll probably just sail eastward out on the Atlantic 5-6 days time then turn south an head straight to Martinique. The 5-6 fays will get ujs out beyond the gulf stream and we can have a nice beam reach going south.
We kinda like passages

ON the other hand - if we go through the Bahamas................

carsten
===

In the end it will depend on your priorities and tolerance for long offshore passages. As a trawler we have no choice but to go through the Bahamas both ways. That's not necessarily a bad thing because the Bahamas offer relatively easy stepping stones, and places to hide from weather if need be. Our route is typically south to Georgetown, then east to the Turks and Caicos, and then south to the DR. The hardest part of the trip is usually the north coast of the DR but it is manageable with patience and planning.
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Old 31-08-2017, 10:34   #8
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Re: When is Best Time to Sail the Bahamas

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
By March and April, it will be out of hurricane season, which may affect your insurance..

Ann
Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov 30, although some insurance companies have a shorter period, from somewhere in July until the beginning of November.
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Old 31-08-2017, 10:35   #9
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Re: When is Best Time to Sail the Bahamas

Best to leave the States and make your easterly to about 065 before you make your SW turn to Martinique. This was you can get the trades and have a much more pleasent voyage. If you leave Fl and work your way through the the islands your going to fight wind and current often. Avoir une agreable voyage et de jour Martinique
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Old 31-08-2017, 10:36   #10
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Re: When is Best Time to Sail the Bahamas

I say the best time to go is whenever you can!
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Old 31-08-2017, 11:05   #11
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Re: When is Best Time to Sail the Bahamas

"I hope to do it myself in that manor if I don't get aged out."
Ronniszorro, aged out? It's up to you not to let that happen if you want to go bad enough. There will always be reasons/ excuses not to go, family, job, money, ect, but there are solutions to all those things if you really want to do it and can think outside of what your life currently is.
I, like you had the dream and am getting up there in years, 63 this week. So I told my boss I was leaving next year, and they asked what it would take to keep me. I told them I want to work from the Caribbean, & they said ok. Wife said she needs to stay in Cali to take care of her 90 yr old mom, I said ok, you can fly east for exotic vacations with me. My 24 yr old son said he's coming with me, and I said no , you can visit when your mom comes.
Tomorrow I close on my 42 Leopard in VI and will be moving in the Spring. It's all doable if you want it bad enough.
Sorry for hijacking the thread, but how many times do we read here excuses not to go live your dream. Our lives are too short (damn how did I get this old this fast?) not to live out dreams if there is any way too pull it off.
Jeff
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Old 31-08-2017, 11:36   #12
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Re: When is Best Time to Sail the Bahamas

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"I hope to do it myself in that manor if I don't get aged out."
Ronniszorro, aged out? It's up to you not to let that happen if you want to go bad enough. There will always be reasons/ excuses not to go, family, job, money, ect, but there are solutions to all those things if you really want to do it and can think outside of what your life currently is.
I, like you had the dream and am getting up there in years, 63 this week. So I told my boss I was leaving next year, and they asked what it would take to keep me. I told them I want to work from the Caribbean, & they said ok. Wife said she needs to stay in Cali to take care of her 90 yr old mom, I said ok, you can fly east for exotic vacations with me. My 24 yr old son said he's coming with me, and I said no , you can visit when your mom comes.
Tomorrow I close on my 42 Leopard in VI and will be moving in the Spring. It's all doable if you want it bad enough.
Sorry for hijacking the thread, but how many times do we read here excuses not to go live your dream. Our lives are too short (damn how did I get this old this fast?) not to live out dreams if there is any way too pull it off.
Jeff
Hi Jeff;

By aged out I mean doing it singlehanded, which is my desire. (I'll soon be 74.) This November I'm taking my 35' sloop to the Abacos, singlehanding, and leaving it there and flying in a few times a month for 5-7 day sails. I may haul out there in June for the hurricane season if I don't return to Florida, and I would then make the jump to the Caribbean in mid November 2018 on the route recommended by Tor Pinney. I do sail a lot and within the last year sailed with a friend on his 44' sloop from Newport to Bermuda and then on to St Maarten. I joined him for a number of trips to various islands and we did the Caribbean 600 Race. But I wished I'd been able to stop at some of the islands we raced by and drop the hook.

Regards,
Ron
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Old 31-08-2017, 11:59   #13
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Re: When is Best Time to Sail the Bahamas

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Carsten,
the best sailing in the Bahamas is from April 15 to June 15th. The Winter Northers have passed and the hurricane season has not begun: bright sunny skies, winds 10-15, seas 2-4 feet. And, after Easter, many of the snowbirds have left for Summer up North and you can have many of the popular anchorages to yourself without the attendant crowds. I hope this helps. Good luck and safe sailing.
Its been my experience that northers go right through May. Frequency and intensity varies from year to year. I've not sailed there in late June but folks tell me the summer months are great. Maybe its because most of the snowbirds have left.
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Old 31-08-2017, 12:35   #14
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Re: When is Best Time to Sail the Bahamas

Any recomendation because im sailing Forida coast to Bahamas around Christmas holydays
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Old 31-08-2017, 13:12   #15
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Re: When is Best Time to Sail the Bahamas

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We're not sure on our route south - If we skip the bahamas on the way south - then we'll probably just sail eastward out on the Atlantic 5-6 days time then turn south an head straight to Martinique. The 5-6 fays will get ujs out beyond the gulf stream and we can have a nice beam reach going south.
We kinda like passages

ON the other hand - if we go through the Bahamas................

carsten
Weather wise it is better to visit the Bahamas on the way back North. You should be jumping offshore from @ Cape Fear if headed south. The further down the coast you come the more you will be headed! From the northern Bahamas you will be back up to Charlestons latitude before you get your easting!
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