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Old 15-10-2011, 18:01   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Roatan, Honduras
Boat: "Purrfect One" - 47 foot Leopard Catamaran
Posts: 4
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Advice on Best Route / Time - Honduras to Florida

We are a Leopard 47 catamaran, and are planning a passage from Roatan, Honduras to the British Virgin Islands. Only my wife and I to stand watch, but have autopilot, radar, etc.

We can't undertake the passage before January 15th, but were looking for advice on the best routes. It is our first long trip on the boat, and we're anxious to see as much of the world as we can.

We are thinking of going across to Belize/Mexico, then over to Florida, before heading to Bahamas and then south to USVI and BVI.

The alternative, depending on what weather/winds are likely, is to go across to Camans, Jamaica, maybe DR, and onward.

Any advice on what would be the preferable route at that time of year, and any other advice is certainly welcome.

Ken & Marie
Purrfect One
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Old 15-10-2011, 18:44   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: West Indies
Boat: Burger 74' motor yacht, 65 foot 12 metre, Flicka and sailing dinghy
Posts: 635
Re: Advice on Best Route / Time - Honduras to Florida

I am looking for information on another passage but from the experience I have in the central and eastern caribbean, if you are not in a hurry, you should go north, follow the lee shore of Cuba and Hispanola to go east. There is a publication entitled A thinking man's guide to voyages south, its a free ebook, and you can find it on google.
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Old 16-11-2011, 12:12   #3
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Location: Alabama Gulf Coast & Alaska
Boat: Jeanneau SO37-37ft.-Sun Dog
Posts: 139
Re: Advice on Best Route / Time - Honduras to Florida

I made a passage from Guanaja to Key West last April. Probably close enough to Roatan for your purposes. My mate/wife and I did the trip in 5 nights in my 37 ft. sloop. Under similar conditions you should be able to make the trip in no more than 4 nights in your 47 ft. catamaran. The winter easterly trade winds and the north setting current should rocket you north. The problem you may face is getting a good weather window that will allow you to go all the way without getting slammed by a norther with the accompanying rough seas from the notherly winds and again from the northeast and east as you round Cuba and head east. During January there are frequent cold fronts that get as far south as Honduras and while the weather is not cold it is frequently with strong winds, rough seas and rain. In south Florida the same front can bring very cool weather. If you have the luxury of time and enough patience you can find a weather window which should work. And I would do that rather than go north with more frequent stops in Belize and Mexico. It can take you weeks to get to Florida if you do that and the expense and hastle of dealing with all the officials is an aggravation if you really do not have to do it. We keep 3 hour watches and had no problems realtive to standing watch once we got used to getting our rest as catnaps. Look for a window which will allow you to leave after the passage of a front and after the wind has clocked to the northeast or east and then go for it. Also, try to arrive at western Cuba after the easterly winds are starting to clock southeast. If the trades are not too strong then the time spent in the Gulf Stream should not be too uncomfortable. Just keep a good watch--the shipping traffic is very heavy.
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Old 16-11-2011, 12:18   #4
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Location: Alabama Gulf Coast & Alaska
Boat: Jeanneau SO37-37ft.-Sun Dog
Posts: 139
Re: Advice on Best Route / Time - Honduras to Florida

Just a follow up. I know of no one and I mean NO ONE who tries to sail or motor east from the Caymans, Jamaica, etc. The strong winter trades will beat you up badly. The trades frequently blow for days at 20 to 30 knots or more. While you can sail north or west without much problem, to go east in those conditions is beyond masochistic. Good luck.
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