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Old 26-09-2016, 23:30   #1
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Caribbean - miles and time...

Hi everyone,

I'm just starting to plan our circumnavigation but I have no idea about distances and timing. We will probably start in Florida and do the Caribbean first. I've calculated about 5800nm to see the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal and to Galapagos. Should I plan a year for this? How many miles have you spent in the Caribbean and how long did it take you?

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Old 26-09-2016, 23:53   #2
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Re: Caribbean - miles and time...

You might be specific on your route in the Carib. Are you going to the V.I., Jamaica, Puerto Rico or just direct to the canal? How long are you going to stay at each place? All that makes a difference. 5800 miles @ 5 knots would take about 50 days. Other average speeds different days. The wind doesn't always cooperate. Going thru the canal is more time consuming than just figuring an average speed. Usually they stack up yachts and send them thru when there is a smaller ship with room in the lock.

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Old 27-09-2016, 04:38   #3
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Re: Caribbean - miles and time...

All depends on what you want to do and how you want to do it.

Some people circumnavigate non stop in a few months. Some take ten years to go around.

I spent two years cruising the Caribbean and Bahamas and didn't see it all.

If you have plenty of time and want to do this for the experience and fun of seeing the world then why not just go and spend as much time as you like in each area, leave for the next when you're ready and weather permits.
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
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Old 27-09-2016, 04:44   #4
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Re: Caribbean - miles and time...

5,800 nm? I clicked it off on Google Earth and get about 2,700 nm assuming you head east from south Florida through the Bahamas, T&C, DR, and PR to the USVI, and then down the Lesser Antilles to Grenada before heading west to Panama. Maybe you plan to visit Jamaica, the Caymans and Central American countries as well?

In any event, you'll need to plan your route according to seasons, making sure you're out of the tropical storm track areas from June or July through October. Most folks leave the US east coast for the eastern Caribbean in early November, and cruise the Lesser Antilles until May or June before heading for the traditionally hurricane-free areas.
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Old 27-09-2016, 05:00   #5
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Re: Caribbean - miles and time...

familiarise yourself with the big weatherpatterns of the areas you want to visit. you'll find that most of them have a favourable season & one less so (cycloneseason in the tropics, winter in the "moderate" latitudes). you will discover this as the much more joyful (& "customized" to your needs) way of establishing an "itinerary" for your circumnavigation than just copying somebody else's timeplan. That said there are not all that many variations for a 2-year, & only several for a 3-year circumnavigation (as long as one wants to avoid cycloneseasons...)
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Old 27-09-2016, 06:28   #6
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Re: Caribbean - miles and time...

The most important factors in determining how long things take is not distance. The two important things are how long you want to spend enjoying a particular area and what the seasonal restraints are on when you can be in an area or making a passage. A couple of examples - if you are going via South Africa you want to be there in mid-summer. There are also cyclonic storms in that area that you need to consider. If you decide you want to be in SA in Nov-Jan it pretty much defines when you will be leaving Indonesia or western Oz. In the south western Pacific virtually all cruisers go to NZ of Oz to avoid the local cyclone season. In some cases you can't say I want to spend a few months seeing Indonesia and Malaysia because this delay just does not work with the seasonal constraints. If you want to go to these countries it means you will spend a year there until the favourable season for going west comes again. As for enjoying things along the way our circumnavigation took five years. We had friends who did their's in 20 years (they found lots of places they liked and stayed to enjoy). The World ARC takes a bit less than two years and allows little time to enjoy the places you visit. It really works best for large, fast boats that can shorten passages and give you more time for repairs, rest, and enjoying a destination. Cornell suggests (you do have Corneall's book?) that two years is possible from weather pattern perspective but that three years is better and more relaxed - and followed much more often. The difference between three and twenty is just finding stuff to enjoy along the way.
Didn't get off to Newfoundland as hoped this summer. The post-circumnavigation refit has taken longer than expected. Still a few things to do, but basically Ainia is looking like a new boat (well sort of).
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Old 27-09-2016, 08:18   #7
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Re: Caribbean - miles and time...

May I ask a question please -- have you sailed anywhere? what kind of boat? how many people? could ask a lot more questions but need a bit of where you sail now and how you go about planning - then maybe an answer that will really help as we have been doing this planning thing for 9 years and spent last winter planning a trip around the Black Sea. And will spend this winter planning our sailing season for 2017
just our thoughts and opinions
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Old 27-09-2016, 08:37   #8
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Re: Caribbean - miles and time...


Are you on the West Coast? (of FL). I am in the Tampa Bay Area and you can drop me a line where we can talk.
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Old 27-09-2016, 10:10   #9
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Re: Caribbean - miles and time...

For making passages, the following rule has always proven itself to be useful, regardless of boat, location, or heading:

100 miles a day, and 1000 miles a week.
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Old 27-09-2016, 10:18   #10
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Re: Caribbean - miles and time...

Take a look at
Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes, then ask more specific questions.
So much depends not on what you can do, but what you want to do.

I'm planning on spending only a couple of months in the Caribbean as I pass thru. Most spend a couple of years.

Richard on Dauntless in Spain

Sent from my SM-P905V using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app

Richard on M/Y Dauntless, currently Exploring Europe
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Caribbean, rib

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