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Old 25-01-2012, 10:06   #1
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Route from Belize / Guat - Back to the Bahamas?

A question for you sailors who visit Central America and then sail back to the Bahamas; Do you sail up west of Cuba and then come across the GOM or do you beat your way into it all the way?

I'm asking because I am interested in a boat that is in that area and I would have to sail it back to the Turks and Caicos Islands, here at the SE corner of the Bahamas.
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Old 27-01-2012, 17:15   #2
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Re: Route from Belize / Guat - Back to the Bahamas?

Hi,
I will be doing a very similar trip in the upcoming weeks/month. I can tell you that everyone that I have heard of goes around the north side of Cuba.
I heading back to the boat in Rio Dulce in 3 days and I can't wait. I assume the boat that you're interested in is up the Rio. My advice is to not be too set on one boat; there must be 30 cruise-ready sailboats for sale in the river. All owned and loved by people who are getting too old to handle them and have to give them up. Many don't want to face the reality of the boat market because they know what they've put into there lovely boats, but if you low ball and wave money in the broker's face he should be able to convince them sell. Go there with a pile of cash and optimism. There will likely be a few things that interest you.
I cruised Belize last season, my first of a 3 year Carib plan. It's worth 2 weeks sailing inside the reef. They do great tourism marketing, it's good but not great. When you see charts of the reef and photos of island beaches you don't realize that %90 of the reef is mangroves! also, anything on the mainland is rather ghetto.. but suprising good health care for $3/day... but's that another story. You need the Freya Rauscher(?) blue book, it's essential.

As for the route. From what I've read on-line, in the Calder Cuba guide from '99, and the newest Bahamas Chartbook and heard from people who've completed the trip, my planned route is to sail from belize to Western Cuba (are you American), then day trips inside the reef for a week and then one overnight to Havana into wind but with the current stream assisting. From Havana or Varedero I will head to the inner Bahamas and spend a few weeks around there.
Im not sure where to end the season yet.. it's looking like either the US or Puerto Rico. I might depart from about George Town and ride the end of Norther to the NW as much as possible and then head south to P.R. or the BVI's to find moorage. I'm sure I'll learn as I go from people who know the area. I want to get far East this year so that next season is easier sailing.
Perhaps we'll be in touch down there. good luck with the boat search
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Old 27-01-2012, 17:28   #3
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Re: Route from Belize / Guat - Back to the Bahamas?

Unless you want to avoid the U.S.A. for some reason, most people head north from Belize to Isla Mujeres in Mexico where you can comfortably wait and get the latest weather and current information, cheap fuel, stores, etc. and then cross over to the Dry Tortugas and then check in at Key West, then maybe hang out in Marathon fixing the boat up and getting things sorted before heading back over to Bimini or Cat/Gun, and then working their way back down the Bahamas via Nassau, the Exumas, etc. If you can do Cuba, sure go for it, but the U.S.A. is a much better (and vastly cheaper) place to fix up and outfit a new to you boat than most places. If it requires a major fit out I would head further north in Florida where the yards are cheaper and supplies are easier to get, but Marathon in the Keys is not bad at all.
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Old 28-01-2012, 13:16   #4
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Re: Route from Belize / Guat - Back to the Bahamas?

Going around the west end of Cuba, back to the US and then the Bahamas is going to be a long trip but worthwhile if you have the time. If your plan is to just get to the T&C then head directly for the east end of Cuba from Belize, through the passage between Haiti and Cuba and on to the T&C. The normal trades will give you pretty much reaching conditions all the way. Chuck
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Old 28-01-2012, 13:26   #5
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Re: Route from Belize / Guat - Back to the Bahamas?

Quote:
The normal trades will give you pretty much reaching conditions all the way.
Not really, at least in many seasons the wind is almost east and getting through the Mona Passage the current will be right on the nose, and from there to the T&C it will be a slog. I certainly wouldn't try that route in the winter. Late spring it might be doable, but I wouldn't recommend heading to the T&C just prior to hurricane season. Either way the last bit getting to the T&C is going to be a slog and/or require you to wait for the wind to die down.
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