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Old 13-11-2011, 20:09   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris smith
I am in Beaufort and am planning on going south in about 2 weeks.Thought of just going down the east coast about 20 miles offshore and stopping in Charleston , Cape Canaveral etc till i get to Miami and then head across through the Bahamas and use Van Sandt's book to get to the BVI's .Got my ass kicked in Feb this year heading from Miami to Beaufort.Was 80 miles offshore and got caught in a Northerly...
Hey Chris,

My name is Morgan and I am new to the sailing world and looking to get more experience. I am currently in the Miami area and have just finished getting my ASA basic sailing and coastal cruising certification, and hope to get more experience/ possible work on boats. I crewed all summer on a restored trumpy charter out of newport and am basically at this point just trying to get as much time at sea as possible. If you need any extra crew for watching at night or help with any boat work, let me know! I am easy going and friendly and like to stay busy. If I don't hear back, safe travels and good luck!!

Cheers,

Morgan
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Old 13-11-2011, 20:32   #17
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Re: A Better Route to the Caribbean ?

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Originally Posted by Tia Bu View Post
East Coast of the U.S. to the Eastern Caribbean this fall. My question was whether another route might be better.
There are lots of options with lots of trade-offs.

The rational for the Bermuda route is threefold - #1 it gives you a nice place to recover and repair after your gulf stream crossing, #2 most folks are trying to get over to 65W before hitting the trades and Bermuda is at 64 40W so a natural turning point (although a little further north than ideal), and #3 Bermuda for some reason does not often get destroyed by hurricanes, so it is possible to leave a bit earlier, potentially avoiding the start of the winter lows, and then sit in Bermuda until after the hurricane season is well and fully over.

The primary rational for leaving from Norfolk/Hampton roads is that it provides the closest gulf stream crossing, a relatively narrow gulf stream, and a turning point in the gulf stream so you can often pick eddies with favorable current. From here you can certainly pick a decent weather window that will get you across the stream and into warmer weather. And if you don't have an ICW boat (mast or draft) this is a sensible departure point.

Charleston is further south and thus typically (but not always) has less punch from lows, and has a decently close gulf stream crossing. It makes some sense if you can and want to use the intercoastal from Hampton to Charleston, but this tends to take more time than simply jumping offshore from Hampton.

The trip out from Florida along the various islands to the Caribbean is 1000 miles upwind. Many people find it hard going, but some like it. I think it depends on your perspective about motoring (lots of it) and what your desired time frame is for getting to the Caribbean - 1000 miles upwind can take 30 sailing days or perhaps 3 months if you spend 2 days ashore for each day sailing plus the couple weeks getting down the icw to Florida - while offshore from Norfolk takes 6-10 days in total.

The historical offshore route was to head out to 65 w at about 26N, which is usually just above where the trades start and then to head due south. But that can ge a good or bad routing depending on the specific weather pattern in place. The year, the past 2 weeks it was a generally bad routing and it was better to stay W longer. The offshore routes are a hell of a lot easier now with the various weather tools available (primarily gribs) to fine tune the routing. If thinking about this trip you owe it to yourself to learn how to get gribs and how to practically understand and use them to make routing decision offshore.

However, to balance that, you have to understand that weather forecasts are notoriously inaccurate past 48 hrs and if heading offshore to the carribean you will likely encounter some sort of weather surprise. You simply have to be prepared for and able to deal with whatever is thrown at you. This can be uncomfortable and hard work (by any of the routes), but it is a challenge and an adventure. If you (or your crew) absolutely don't want to be uncomfortable or to work hard I would suggest you simply not do it - not by any of the routes. But if you are up for a challenge and an adventure I would suggest it could be a great moment in your life.
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Old 13-11-2011, 21:00   #18
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Re: A Better Route to the Caribbean ?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
This can be uncomfortable and hard work (by any of the routes), but it is a challenge and an adventure. If you (or your crew) absolutely don't want to be uncomfortable or to work hard I would suggest you simply not do it - not by any of the routes. But if you are up for a challenge and an adventure I would suggest it could be a great moment in your life.
Well said!
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Old 13-11-2011, 22:53   #19
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Re: A Better Route to the Caribbean ?

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Originally Posted by capcook View Post
I am probably really in the dumb zone, but why doesn't anyone ever go west of Cuba and down via Cayman, Jamaica..then follow the islands down ? Seems you would be going SW from the Keys (good with Easterlies) Than you would be going South East with Cuba blocking the Easterly flow... Too Far ?
Your still going to need to go east to get to the Eastern Caribbean. qnd you're going to retrace the distance you traveled from Key West to round the western end of Cuba. The owner of one boat I met in Jamaica claimed the the trip from Key Weat had taken 5 years off of the life of his boat, and when I met him again in the USVI's his entire crew had jumped ship.

For me, it was one hell of a hard beat to windward from the Cayman Islands in late winter early spring.
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Old 14-11-2011, 03:19   #20
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Re: A Better Route to the Caribbean ?

The boats heading east are sailing in southerly winds. I doubt they'd be doing that if they could sail the rhumbline.

Station 41001
NDBC
Location:
34.675N 72.698W
Conditions as of:
Mon, 14 Nov 2011 03:50:00 UTC

Winds: SSW (200) at 15.5 kt gusting to 17.5 kt
Significant Wave Height: 3.6 ft

The ones sticking to the rhumbline are motor-sailing. The wind's starting to back around to ESE for those boats as far south as 32N.

Station 41048
NDBC
Location:
31.978N 69.649W
Conditions as of:
Mon, 14 Nov 2011 09:50:00 UTC

Winds: ESE (120) at 5.8 kt gusting to 11.7 kt
Significant Wave Height: 3.9 ft
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Old 14-11-2011, 05:10   #21
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Re: A Better Route to the Caribbean ?

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. . . .The boats heading east are sailing in southerly winds.
Current weather:
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Old 14-11-2011, 05:27   #22
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Re: A Better Route to the Caribbean ?

Thanks, Evans.

With that HI pumping wind up from the south and with the forecast showing it moving further east, it seems like the "I65" strategy might be the right one for this particular Carib1500. I notice that Steve Black in Madrugada has the most Easting of all the boats this morning. Steve's an old hand at this and a very experienced ocean sailor, so I'm betting he's got a trick up his sleeve. The boats on the rhumbline might be regretting it in a day or two.

Funny how it goes. My first time on that passage, we went all the way to 30N 65W before turning due south. The wind shifted to the SW, of all things, so we were on a close reach, not a beam reach in NE Tradewinds as expected. If we'd sailed the rhumbline that year, we would have been beam reaching. The other two trips, we sailed the rhumbline and were fine the whole way. Having a good and updatable weather forecast really helps.
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Old 14-11-2011, 06:09   #23
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Re: A Better Route to the Caribbean ?

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it seems like the "I65" strategy might be the right one for this particular Carib1500.

Agreed. Below is the current forecast for the 19th (5 days) and the easterlies are still pumping all the way up to 37N, and even stronger down south. It does pick up a bit of a northerly component, which will help.

Having a good and updatable weather forecast really helps.
Agreed again. You can save yourself a lot of pain, and the gribs are now so easy to get offshore (and free! . . . thank you NOAA and saildocs)
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Old 15-11-2011, 03:29   #24
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Would recommend you read the new book "a thinking man's guide to voyages south". You can get it free at. Www.freecruisingguides.com
Good sailing. Frank
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Old 15-11-2011, 07:12   #25
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Re: A Better Route to the Caribbean ?

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Would recommend you read the new book "a thinking man's guide to voyages south". You can get it free at. Www.freecruisingguides.com
Good sailing. Frank
I've read this, and that's why I started the thread. It seems Virgintino's route does satisfy much of the experienced wisdom people have posted above by getting across the Gulf Stream and south of 30 degrees quickly.

The trouble is, that leaves about 500 miles of easting to be accomplished by sailing (or motoring) along the south shores of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. He argues that this is not difficult.

I'm wondering if many folks out there have tried this, and what their experience was at doing so.

If this route is really workable, it seems to me it would be less risky than (although, admittedly, perhaps not as adventurous as) the I-65 route. The older I get, the more I tend to favor the less risky shot.
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