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Old 29-10-2016, 13:15   #1
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Sailing from USVI to south Florida in December

We are looking to purchase a 44' sailboat in the USVI and bring it back to Florida 2 where we will keep it (Ft Pierce). We would like to make the passage as directly as possible and was wondering if anyone could comment on how long of a sail it is, weather and wind patterns we can expect, and a suggested route.

Many thanks
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Old 30-10-2016, 05:43   #2
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Re: Sailing from a usvi to south Florida in December

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Sailbound.
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Old 30-10-2016, 06:22   #3
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Re: Sailing from a usvi to south Florida in December

Hi Sailbound.

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new boat.

I may misunderstand the intent of your question and sincerely hope my reply is not taken as a criticism, but I am always a bit concerned when someone asks how far or how long for a pretty extensive voyage. My first thought is always "but this is a Nav 101 question." You look at a chart, measure the distance, figure an average boat speed and do the math. Again, perhaps I misunderstand the question and hope you do have the skills and experience to make this trip.

All that being said, I have made this trip a few times, in both directions and there are a couple of options.

If you want the fastest then go right up the coasts of PR, DR, Haiti and Cuba in the Old Bahamas Channel, past the Cay Sal Banks and the FL coast. You will have the Gulf Stream with you the whole trip adding a knot or two.

The alternate route is to the Turks and Caicos and through the Bahamas. This is a more scenic route, offers a lot more places to stop but much more challenging navigation and will add time to the trip.

Without pulling out a chart and dividers I can give you round numbers. The distance is about 1000 miles. Rule of thumb for a passage is 100 miles per day but on this trip, running downwind with the Gulf Stream to help you should do better. Figure a one week trip. HOWEVER, in Dec as you get closer to the states you are about 90% certain to hit a cold front which will very likely kick your butt. The N - NW winds from a front against the E - SE currents in the Gulf Stream will make for some very uncomfortable, possibly dangerous seas. Been there, done that, don't want to do it again.

My advice, especially this time of year, do NOT try to do this trip on a schedule. Be prepared to stop and wait out the weather. By Dec/Jan sometimes the cold fronts roll in every few days so could bring significant delays at the end of the trip.
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Old 30-10-2016, 06:25   #4
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Re: Sailing from a usvi to south Florida in December

I reread my post and wanted to add one clarification. When I said figure a one week trip, that is based on nonstop, 24/7 sailing. If you're planning to day sail and anchor out every night figure 40-60 miles per day and at least double that time.
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Old 30-10-2016, 06:51   #5
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Re: Sailing from USVI to south Florida in December

We sailed that two years ago around March. Went basically north from the USVIs, outside The Turks and Bahama until we got to North East Providence Channel. Hooked a left and arrived in Lake Worth. We did not stop, and stayed offshore the entire time.... took 9 days in a 34' boat.

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Old 30-10-2016, 09:47   #6
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Re: Sailing from USVI to south Florida in December

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailbound View Post
We are looking to purchase a 44' sailboat in the USVI and bring it back to Florida 2 where we will keep it (Ft Pierce). We would like to make the passage as directly as possible and was wondering if anyone could comment on how long of a sail it is, weather and wind patterns we can expect, and a suggested route.
===

You don't mention the experience level of you and your crew, or the number of crew that you plan. The answers will make a great deal of difference. My other concern is the condition of the boat if it is new to you.

If you and/or the crew have never done this type of offshore sailing before, I'd highly recommend that you hire an experienced delivery captain to come along with you, help plan the route, and double check the boat prep. If the boat is new to you, plan on spending some time in the islands before departure to shake everything down. The availability of any needed parts, supplies and services is much higher in the USVI/BVI than you'll find anywhere else along the route. Double check all safety related items before you leave, things like a current life raft inspection, operable SSB radio or sat phone, flares, first aid supplies, heavy weather sails, crew harnesses, tethers, charts, tools, etc.
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Old 30-10-2016, 09:56   #7
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Re: Sailing from USVI to south Florida in December

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailbound View Post
We are looking to purchase a 44' sailboat in the USVI and bring it back to Florida 2 where we will keep it (Ft Pierce). We would like to make the passage as directly as possible and was wondering if anyone could comment on how long of a sail it is, weather and wind patterns we can expect, and a suggested route.

Many thanks
Welcome Aboard CF!

You have gotten some good answers already, and SKIPMAC knows his stuff and has lots of experience.

Good luck on your boat purchase, and I hope it and your voyage to Florida go smoothly. Enjoy your time on the boat and on CF.
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Old 30-10-2016, 10:29   #8
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Re: Sailing from USVI to south Florida in December

there are many wonderful sights on that route, I would not rush. Take a month or more, stop in San Juan, Ocean World, and see the Bahamas.
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Old 30-10-2016, 11:07   #9
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Re: Sailing from a usvi to south Florida in December

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Hi Sailbound.

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new boat.

I may misunderstand the intent of your question and sincerely hope my reply is not taken as a criticism, but I am always a bit concerned when someone asks how far or how long for a pretty extensive voyage. My first thought is always "but this is a Nav 101 question." You look at a chart, measure the distance, figure an average boat speed and do the math. Again, perhaps I misunderstand the question and hope you do have the skills and experience to make this trip.

All that being said, I have made this trip a few times, in both directions and there are a couple of options.

If you want the fastest then go right up the coasts of PR, DR, Haiti and Cuba in the Old Bahamas Channel, past the Cay Sal Banks and the FL coast. You will have the Gulf Stream with you the whole trip adding a knot or two.

The alternate route is to the Turks and Caicos and through the Bahamas. This is a more scenic route, offers a lot more places to stop but much more challenging navigation and will add time to the trip.

Without pulling out a chart and dividers I can give you round numbers. The distance is about 1000 miles. Rule of thumb for a passage is 100 miles per day but on this trip, running downwind with the Gulf Stream to help you should do better. Figure a one week trip. HOWEVER, in Dec as you get closer to the states you are about 90% certain to hit a cold front which will very likely kick your butt. The N - NW winds from a front against the E - SE currents in the Gulf Stream will make for some very uncomfortable, possibly dangerous seas. Been there, done that, don't want to do it again.

My advice, especially this time of year, do NOT try to do this trip on a schedule. Be prepared to stop and wait out the weather. By Dec/Jan sometimes the cold fronts roll in every few days so could bring significant delays at the end of the trip.
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Old 06-11-2016, 13:43   #10
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Re: Sailing from USVI to south Florida in December

I've found this, along with Google Earth, a useful tool - if you prefer to do a lot of your planning online rather than with paper charts & dividers: Boatbookings.com: Map Distances
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