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Old 26-04-2014, 01:56   #1
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Delivery to Annapolis from South Africa via Caribbean in Aug/Sept good or bad idea?

Sooooo,
I've signed on to crew on a delivery from Cape Town to Annopolis. The departure is late July or early August, stopping in Fortaleza, St. Martin, and finally Annapolis after checking in at Charleston, SC.

The boat is a brand new Maverick 440 Custom jobbie called Bossa Nova. I'm going with an experienced skipper of nearly 400,000 miles, who's crossed a dozen times. He seems concerned but not alarmed at passing through the Caribbean during Hurricane season, but I wanted to get a general sense from you guys as to where this is on the madness scale? 1-10? The other crew is someone I know to be calm under fire and a pretty good sailor.

We're doing a shakedown cruise to Durban for the boat show there before returning to Cape Town and getting prepared for the crossing.

Tips? Advice? Madness rating?

Thanks, V
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Old 26-04-2014, 02:52   #2
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Re: Delivery to Annapolis from South Africa via Caribbean in Aug/Sept good or bad ide

Traditionally it gets riskier as the season progresses, unless a hurricane comes early

We were in the Caymans in June/July 2012 where we bought our boat and got out of there as quickly as we could. Even so we had a few named storms snapping at our heels just a week or 2 after we left.
North of Annapolis at the top of the Chesapeake we thought we'd be safe, and then Hurricane Sandy came through! We were ok because we were in a good spot, but New York, just a couple of hundred miles to the north got slammed, and Bounty went down with 2 lives lost.

Any chance you could get started earlier to skip through earlier in the season?
I might take a chance in June/July. From September it is a serious gamble.
Have your hurricane holes identified before you leave. You usually get up to a week warning that something bad is developing.

Good luck.

Vic
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Old 26-04-2014, 03:21   #3
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Re: Delivery to Annapolis from South Africa via Caribbean in Aug/Sept good or bad ide

Thanks Vic
I'm not sure an earlier departure is possible but I will discuss with the skipper (as I am mate) the plans (A through Z), the emergency options, equipment, and whatever else might be prudent to consider eg hurricane holes, etc.
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Old 26-04-2014, 06:20   #4
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Re: Delivery to Annapolis from South Africa via Caribbean in Aug/Sept good or bad ide

V,

Here's a link with statistical info on tropical storms in the Atlantic.

Tropical Cyclone Cimatology

What it shows is that the odds in the crapshoot begin to seriously turn against you in mid-August. Given that new boat commissioning schedules tend to slip toward later rather than earlier, and the need to have adequate time for serious shakedown time, your departure date could put you in the "red" zone.

If I were committed to such a delivery, I'd want to have a serious discussion with the captain about contingency plans, and would want to verify his access to sufficient real-time weather data (and his ability to effectively use it) during the course of the voyage.
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Old 26-04-2014, 06:32   #5
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Re: Delivery to Annapolis from South Africa via Caribbean in Aug/Sept good or bad ide

As was mentioned, that timing is the very peak of hurricane season.

With that said, I'd don't see why it's not doable. A conservative and safe approach with weather routing and "bail out plans" should accommodate a passage. On a risk rating, (likelihood and impact) it's an 8 out of 10.

For me, personally, it's a risk I would not undertake during that specific time. Slide the time forward or back a month and it become a little more palatable.
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Old 26-04-2014, 06:42   #6
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Re: Delivery to Annapolis from South Africa via Caribbean in Aug/Sept good or bad ide

So advice is pretty consistent.

Here's more info on itinerary in general.

End July to Start August: Cape Town to Fortaleza. Should take 3 weeks plus.
End August: Fortaleza to St Martin.
Two weeks should cover that. So mid Sept in Caribbean and final destination no later than October 10.

As I mentioned above, I have a shake down to Durban in July. If I don't like it the answers to my questions, I won't go. Simple as that.

8 is pretty risky. I'd like to know the risk versus other activities. For interest sake.
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Old 26-04-2014, 07:12   #7
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Re: Delivery to Annapolis from South Africa via Caribbean in Aug/Sept good or bad ide

Risk is determined by likelihood of an event happening and the impact. So what would be the likelihood of the boat running into a TD or hurricane and what would happen to the boat if it did? Variables apply like the strength of a storm and the boat itself as well as crews ability to mange the boat in a storm.

The likelihood of a storm that time of year, even with the current predictions of a lite season, is probably a 7. The "impact" of the boat being hit (damage, loss, etc) by a storm is and 8 or 9. Yeah, it's somewhat subjective but not by much. The overall risk count be argued as a 7 or a 9. Insurance companies do this type of risk analysis as do other businesses and government.

Take your pick if other activities and apply the same principles.
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Old 26-04-2014, 07:17   #8
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Re: Delivery to Annapolis from South Africa via Caribbean in Aug/Sept good or bad ide

Btw, a high risk factor doesn't mean it's an activity that's not worth doing or that you shouldn't do it. It's called mitigation or mitigating the risks. Mitigating might be a solid plan to avoid a storm given it's a cat and might be faster to harbour. It might also include staying in one place for a weather window all the way to tactics if you are in a storm. The question is then... What's the plan. Sound boat and good plan would make the trip good to go and fun!
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Old 26-04-2014, 07:25   #9
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Re: Delivery to Annapolis from South Africa via Caribbean in Aug/Sept good or bad ide

Thanks Pirate! I also think it could be a great learning experience. And educating one's self as to the risks and doing everything in one's power to minimize them is essential to a safe passage. As long as I am satisfied as to the measures to be taken, the openness of the skipper to altering plans as needed, it should be fine.
It's a $800,000 brand new cat and I don't think he will risk it for a schedule. But that will come up in our discussions.

v
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Old 26-04-2014, 07:31   #10
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Re: Delivery to Annapolis from South Africa via Caribbean in Aug/Sept good or bad ide

I think Hud's advice hits the nail on the head. The key to this trip is access to weather data. Without some reliable weather information and at least one good backup system I would not go.

1 Aug to 31 Oct is very high risk season for hurricanes in the Caribbean and Atlantic. Moving departure back a few weeks or a month you're still in the middle of the season.

Pirate999 puts the risk analysis well, odds of an occurrence with the potential impact of the event. With really good weather info I would put the combined risk number lower than he does, as low as 3-4. Hurrican forecasts these days are pretty good. I live in Florida and have watched them closely for years. Without the weather acess then I would go with 8-9.
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Old 26-04-2014, 08:34   #11
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Re: Delivery to Annapolis from South Africa via Caribbean in Aug/Sept good or bad ide

If it were me and I was asking the question, I would decide it better to past on this trip!
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Old 26-04-2014, 08:53   #12
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pirate Re: Delivery to Annapolis from South Africa via Caribbean in Aug/Sept good or bad ide

But just think of all the fun you'd miss out on...
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Old 26-04-2014, 09:17   #13
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Delivery to Annapolis from South Africa via Caribbean in Aug/Sept good or bad...

I think it would be wrong to say no simply because of uncertain information. If it is demonstrable that we'd be in trouble 100% then the choice is easy and is the opposite of the choice made by the Bounty's Captain in Sandy. That is, saying no because of the possibility that something could go wrong is silly. On the other hand, not being prepared is equally silly and in fact stupid

And yes Boatman, the fun to be missed out on is monumental. Nothing worth doing was ever easy.
V
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Old 26-04-2014, 09:40   #14
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Re: Delivery to Annapolis from South Africa via Caribbean in Aug/Sept good or bad ide

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
But just think of all the fun you'd miss out on...
Yes. Kind of like all the fun Irishmike had on the last leg of his trip from VI to Newport.
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Old 26-04-2014, 10:29   #15
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Re: Delivery to Annapolis from South Africa via Caribbean in Aug/Sept good or bad...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager1 View Post
I think it would be wrong to say no simply because of uncertain information. If it is demonstrable that we'd be in trouble 100% then the choice is easy and is the opposite of the choice made by the Bounty's Captain in Sandy. That is, saying no because of the possibility that something could go wrong is silly. On the other hand, not being prepared is equally silly and in fact stupid
It depends on the severity of the consequences if one guesses wrong because of uncertain information. Example, if one was playing Russian Roulette it is uncertain that the bullet would be in the one chamber under the hammer. However, the consequences of being wrong would suggest that it would be right to say no.

Same thing here. Should the OP say yes because it is uncertain that the boat will encounter a hurricane in August? If the odds were only 10% or even 1% that this could happen but if the result of guessing wrong is he sails into a cat 5 hurricane then I would think carefully before saying yes.

The key to the right choice here must be access to weather information.
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