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Old 24-04-2012, 23:39   #1
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Hurricane season cruising destinations

Hi all.
We are currently in Antigua, a stunning spot called Hermitage Bay and the Mrs. and I are seriously trying to 'pin down' a cruising plan for hurricane season.
We would like to complete the Caribbean (North) next year as well as time in the Bahamas, before heading for the Pacific.
We thought of doing Maine in the USA but so far have not had a response from the embassy regarding 6 month visas and regulations for 'foreign cruising yachts'.
We would appreciate comments from sailors experienced in these areas and would like to know from those who have 'braved' staying in the Caribbean during hurricane season, what plans they had in place in the event of an approaching hurricane.
Many thanks
IMPI
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Old 24-04-2012, 23:52   #2
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Re: Hurricane season cruising destinations

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Originally Posted by impi View Post
Hi all.
We are currently in Antigua, a stunning spot called Hermitage Bay and the Mrs. and I are seriously trying to 'pin down' a cruising plan for hurricane season.
We would like to complete the Caribbean (North) next year as well as time in the Bahamas, before heading for the Pacific.
We thought of doing Maine in the USA but so far have not had a response from the embassy regarding 6 month visas and regulations for 'foreign cruising yachts'.
We would appreciate comments from sailors experienced in these areas and would like to know from those who have 'braved' staying in the Caribbean during hurricane season, what plans they had in place in the event of an approaching hurricane.
Many thanks
IMPI
go south to Trinade and enjoy......
head north in oct/nov.
or my not so sane plan go to Belieze and hide if the big one comes...only the worlds second biggest barrior reef.finds a hole and alot of line if **** hits the fan
Mark
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Old 25-04-2012, 00:40   #3
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Re: Hurricane season cruising destinations

Hi Brent...

You'll not get much response from US embassies if you rely on email. You have to bite the bullet and phone them at great expense! Once you get into the visa process it usually goes smoothly and you end up with a B1/B2 visa that is good for a 6 month visit by private yacht.

We are heading to Maine after the start of the hurricane season. We'll be in the BVI until 1st week in July and will then head to Bermuda and then straight to Maine.

If you want to stay in the Caribbean then head south to Grenada. Good cruising community, plenty of good workers and if you really get nervous you can head even further south to Trinidad.

If you are willing to take a chance on getting hit, then Sint Maarten is a good choice. In the lagoon there are several marinas set up to service the super yacht industry. They are all empty during hurricane season and you'll be able to get a 30m x 30m slip all to yourself and you can just tie yourself in the middle, well away from anything hard, and sit a storm out. We went through a cat 3 hurricane there with no damage.
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Old 25-04-2012, 01:05   #4
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Re: Hurricane season cruising destinations

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Hi all.
We are currently in Antigua, a stunning spot called Hermitage Bay. IMPI
Hmm, thanks for that. Southern England is currently being lashed by 50 mph winds and horizontal rain

On a more serious note, sounds like lots of options for a great trip which ever way you go
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Old 25-04-2012, 10:03   #5
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Re: Hurricane season cruising destinations

I'm assuming you've already been west to Panama? We have friends who did the Eastern Caribbean and then West to Panama. They said the EC was a waste compared to Panama.
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Old 25-04-2012, 10:21   #6
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Re: Hurricane season cruising destinations

I would just get to 24 hours away from 12 deg N. We sat in the Tobago Cays at that time, lots of places to be. Keep a weather eye out, and if its coming your way, you can be in Trinidad by the end of the next day. Careful though, the wind normally dies in front of the hurrithang. In fact thats a good warning, if you have solid trades you probably are safe. Just saying have enough fuel to run away, and be ready to leave at the drop of a hat, but no need to run away just in case. Oh and if you are anchored in the Cays, and you hear theres a tropical wave or even depression, stay there, its far safer than hiding behind an island, good holding, and stable winds with few gusts.

Good luck, and see you out there...Ja broer!
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Old 25-04-2012, 11:10   #7
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Re: Hurricane season cruising destinations

What they said. If you are well south, hurricane season is not a time to panic, just be aware, watch the weather, have an escape route, with backup plan, etc...

As long as you are not planning any multiweek ocean voyages during the season peak. Just remember an aproaching tropical storm affects tides, winds, waves, and local weather far in advance of the storm, and for a wide area, (hundreds of miles).

A tropical storm, or depression isn't likely to be earthshaking as long as your boat is well anchored in a protected area, (be aware of tidal extremes, as much as 20ft storm surge).

Antigua is kinda in the middle of hurricane alley, I don't see any quick exit points. If you don't want to go below the hurricane belt, you'll have to find a good hurricane hole, and be ready to go there quickly, (few hours to day or so depending on warning time).

In Texas we often get warnings as much as a week or two in advance, as the storms cross Florida first, but Antigua looks like the beginning of the line.
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Old 25-04-2012, 18:47   #8
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Re: Hurricane season cruising destinations

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Originally Posted by Jeannius View Post
Hi Brent...

You'll not get much response from US embassies if you rely on email. You have to bite the bullet and phone them at great expense! Once you get into the visa process it usually goes smoothly and you end up with a B1/B2 visa that is good for a 6 month visit by private yacht.

We are heading to Maine after the start of the hurricane season. We'll be in the BVI until 1st week in July and will then head to Bermuda and then straight to Maine.

If you want to stay in the Caribbean then head south to Grenada. Good cruising community, plenty of good workers and if you really get nervous you can head even further south to Trinidad.

If you are willing to take a chance on getting hit, then Sint Maarten is a good choice. In the lagoon there are several marinas set up to service the super yacht industry. They are all empty during hurricane season and you'll be able to get a 30m x 30m slip all to yourself and you can just tie yourself in the middle, well away from anything hard, and sit a storm out. We went through a cat 3 hurricane there with no damage.
Hi Mike,

Thanks for the information.

Did you get your visa in your home country (your country of residence) as we read today on the net that B1/B2 visas are not issued in Burmuda unless you are a resident there.

We have actually applied there for a B2 visa using the online application in view of going for our interview there upon arrival, but have as yet not recieved any reply.

We really are not keen to go south again ... we stayed in Grenada for 6 weeks as we were waiting for a friend and we got to know the island well.

I also believe the US is tough on what one may have onboard when arriving in the states ... eg. no rice, frozen meats etc.

We have also been considering sailing to the med (Greece) but of course we would need a third person to join us to keep watch at night.

So .... looking carefully at all the advice but I do understand our options are somewhat limited!

Cheers
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Old 26-04-2012, 00:52   #9
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Re: Hurricane season cruising destinations

Hi Brent

We got ours in Barbados. Booked the interview a couple of weeks in advance. Sailed to Barbados. Sat in queue for several hours. 5 minute interview. Approved. Waited 5 days in Barbados for our passports and visas to be DHL'd 2 miles from the Embassy to the local DHL office!

Nassau in the Bahamas is probably your best bet but you should contact them to check. I'm told the easiest place is, amazingly, Cuba.
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