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Old 27-01-2018, 05:07   #1
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Advice for sailing North from USVI please

I am picking up a damaged boat in the USVI - sound engines, rig and hulls etc, but broken windows and hatches let a lot of rain in which has ruined the interior. I will of course check her thoroughly and fit new windows and hatches to be water tight before sailing.

I've sailed all over Europe but never in the Caribbean so looking for some advice to find the best route from USVI to Georgia (Savannah) where she is going for refit. I can do this any time from mid April to June and want to try and have the easiest voyage as she'll be a new to me boat and perhaps rather basic in what works and what doesn't. She's a 50foot catamaran.

Does anyone with experience have advice on the best route and time to travel. I don't mind how long it will take, I am happy to island hop or make passage, and obviously weather on the day is always in charge but any advice is very grateful received.
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Old 27-01-2018, 05:31   #2
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pirate Re: Advice for sailing North from USVI please

I would suggest April early May would be the best time.. avoid any early tropical storms.. times are changing as the last couple of years have shown.
You have a more or less straight shot for Georgia from the USVI's passing North of the islands and the Bahama's.. running with the current and Easterlies for a fair portion of the trip.. any problems with the boat you can duck into the Bahama's and should it prove beyond pro' help go through and its a short hop to the mainland and services.
Trip is around 1200nm so should be there in 6-8 days.. without boat problems.
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Old 27-01-2018, 05:35   #3
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Re: Advice for sailing North from USVI please

Thanks, I have just sent you a PM about the other option - taking her back to Europe
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Old 27-01-2018, 06:00   #4
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Re: Advice for sailing North from USVI please

We have done the trip twice now once from BVI once from USVI. April & May. Both times we have called in to Turks & Caicos which is a 400 mile down wind and easy to do , from Grand Turk on you can day across the Caicos banks which is sensational in a Cat, then day sail to islands up the Bahamas chain and leave West End for Georgia up the Gulf Stream over a couple of days, also day sail up the US Florida coast if desired. Depends if you are doing a delivery or want to enjoy the places along the way. Cost of entering Turks for 7 days is around$50. Cost of entering Bahamas $300.
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Old 27-01-2018, 06:36   #5
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Re: Advice for sailing North from USVI please

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We have done the trip twice now once from BVI once from USVI. April & May. Both times we have called in to Turks & Caicos which is a 400 mile down wind and easy to do , from Grand Turk on you can day across the Caicos banks which is sensational in a Cat, then day sail to islands up the Bahamas chain and leave West End for Georgia up the Gulf Stream over a couple of days, also day sail up the US Florida coast if desired. Depends if you are doing a delivery or want to enjoy the places along the way. Cost of entering Turks for 7 days is around$50. Cost of entering Bahamas $300.
I just did this trip in January. Make sure to be aware of the three shallow banks that lay between Puerto Rico and the Caicos. We went on the East side of them as the wind was forecast to turn from the north on the 3rd day. 35 knot winds for the last 24 hours so the Caicos bank was pretty rough even though it is shallow.

It's interesting that Georgia is where your going to do the refit. Did you look at Trinidad? It also seems that unless you want to go all the way to Turkey it would cost a fortune to have a refit done in the Med.
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Old 27-01-2018, 06:43   #6
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Re: Advice for sailing North from USVI please

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
I would suggest April early May would be the best time.. avoid any early tropical storms.. times are changing as the last couple of years have shown.
You have a more or less straight shot for Georgia from the USVI's passing North of the islands and the Bahama's.. running with the current and Easterlies for a fair portion of the trip.. any problems with the boat you can duck into the Bahama's and should it prove beyond pro' help go through and its a short hop to the mainland and services.
Trip is around 1200nm so should be there in 6-8 days.. without boat problems.
Second all the above. I've made this trip a couple of times and it's usually a very easy, downwind run.

One caution about ducking into the Bahamas. The smaller passes between the islands along the Abaco chain can be blocked with large, breaking waves. This isn't always obvious from offshore and if you get too close trying to check conditions it might be too late. Also you should be aware that local winds and waves can be moderate but the passages still breaking due to large swells generated by storms hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic.
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Old 27-01-2018, 06:45   #7
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pirate Re: Advice for sailing North from USVI please

Any stuff you need to fit for the trip either choice you make best fly/sail to SXM as its the cheapest place in the Caribe.. believe most services/chandlers are up and running again in the lagoon.
Downside is its 85nm into the wind.
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Old 27-01-2018, 07:14   #8
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Re: Advice for sailing North from USVI please

The choices aright now are bring her back to the UK/Spain as I work regularly in both and have trade discounts on parts etc or take her to the US to work on myself where parts are cheap anyway and I chose Georgia (or perhaps Charleston SC) because I have friends there who can sort out rental accommodation in advance for me and know of a good boat yard I can keep her at for 6 months at a good rate. To be on the hard anywhere in the Caribbean seems very expensive and there will be infrastructure problems for some time to come in many places. I would be doing all the work myself and so need to live nearby and the US seems the most sensible choice for that.

Thanks for the replies
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Old 27-01-2018, 08:59   #9
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Re: Advice for sailing North from USVI please

Best trip ever, don’t rush it. You’ve got everything with you and some of the best cruising in front of you!

I’ve done both directions.

Consider coasting Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic to Luperon and up to Turks or over to Bajamas. I’d skip the Turks personally.

All good options! Some of the best cruising in the world.
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Old 27-01-2018, 09:22   #10
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Re: Advice for sailing North from USVI please

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Originally Posted by Snowgoose35 View Post
The choices aright now are bring her back to the UK/Spain as I work regularly in both and have trade discounts on parts etc or take her to the US to work on myself where parts are cheap anyway and I chose Georgia (or perhaps Charleston SC) because I have friends there who can sort out rental accommodation in advance for me and know of a good boat yard I can keep her at for 6 months at a good rate. To be on the hard anywhere in the Caribbean seems very expensive and there will be infrastructure problems for some time to come in many places. I would be doing all the work myself and so need to live nearby and the US seems the most sensible choice for that.

Thanks for the replies
From someone who calls Charleston SC home port, I would suggest finding alternatives. Cost of most work done by local yards seems extravagant by comparison to other options along the coast. My personal experience is that this higher cost does not translate to higher quality either. I realize that your intent for this scenario is to do most work yourself and pay only for space, but if you should find it necessary to sub something out you may be surprised at the cost.
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Old 27-01-2018, 09:55   #11
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Re: Advice for sailing North from USVI please

You could try ther Thornless Path in reverse, if you are not in a hurry. We did it from the BVI to Ft. Lauderdale with only 2 night passages.
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Old 27-01-2018, 11:21   #12
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Re: Advice for sailing North from USVI please

Have you consider Trinidad?
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Old 27-01-2018, 11:39   #13
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Re: Advice for sailing North from USVI please

Go south to Trinidad.
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Old 27-01-2018, 12:13   #14
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Re: Advice for sailing North from USVI please

In my opinion, sailing down to Puerto Rico, provisioning there may save you a bundle. Then sailing noth a route that will bring you non stop close to providence Island, then across east of the Berries Island and passing south longing the Grand Bahamas Island(very deep!) to the Gulf Stream. Finally north into the Stream to your destination. Naturally avoid the GS in a norther(not funy). I've done this trip in may. The beauty of this route is that in case of bad weather you are never very far from shelters all along the way. While reaching the Gulftream, American VHF weather coverage is perfect). you should stay just enough offshore of Ispagnola, and the Bahamas(lets say 20 miles) to avoid the heavy cruise ship traffic that is quite important at night.
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Old 27-01-2018, 17:46   #15
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Re: Advice for sailing North from USVI please

If you need a crew member willing to listen without question please email me. Mike.Cavanaugh@ymail.com
I am in Pennsylvania. Mid May works best. Doesn't matter how long, itinerary, etc... to me.
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