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Old 24-09-2010, 20:51   #1
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Florida to Virgin Islands

Yesterday I asked the same question under a diffent heading had 57 reads no replies so will try again.
Has anyone read or used "Cove Hopping South to the Virgin Islands" by J.A.Rogers and how does it compare with Van Sant's "Passages South" ie thornless passage. Would appreciate input.
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Old 25-09-2010, 08:48   #2
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Maybe the lack of response is because there aren't many people who have read both. I've read Van Sant but never heard of Rogers. Mr. Van Sant's book is interesting if you can set aside his pedantic writing style.
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Old 25-09-2010, 09:49   #3
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Van Sant is a personal friend of mine but he can be as Auspicious mentioned pedantic and stubborn about his opinions. Still his books, Passages South and Tricks of the Trades are really the "bible" when it comes to wanting to make your way from Florida to Puerto Rico. You just need to extract the information from them that is relevant to your boat and its capabilities along with the crew's capabilities. But still all of the information should be thoroughly digested as when things go wrong, the knowledge and experience he has written of can save your butt and boat.
- - You can compare the two books yourself and make a determination as to each's worth. I think the maximum information you can digest for your projected sailing/cruising plans is very worthwhile as different authors have different styles and sometimes you "connect" with one author's style better than the other.
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Old 25-09-2010, 09:57   #4
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I found Passages South to be 90% accurate and used it on my first trip to the Caribbean. I have no info on the other book but am heading for Bluewater Books to do some research and will check it out.
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Old 25-09-2010, 10:39   #5
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Thanks for the input I know Van Sant's book is considered THE book. Just wondered how a more modern approach compared and whether both advocated N or S coasts of Puerto Rico.
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Old 25-09-2010, 16:55   #6
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Thanks for the input I know Van Sant's book is considered THE book. Just wondered how a more modern approach compared and whether both advocated N or S coasts of Puerto Rico.
Clyde
Van Sant is only concerned with getting you to Puerto Rico the easiest and quickest way and that would be along the north coast of the D.R. He does not talk about going anywhere near the south coast of the D.R. except by land travel while inside the D.R.
- - From the Bahamas/T&C to Puerto Rico along the north shore of the D.R. is about 325nm. Going around to the south shore doubles that mileage to about 650nm. Add to that you are in close proximity to Cuba and Haiti for half that distance really exposes you to some potential liabilities.
- - You can look up threads on sailing/cruising the D.R. and see that although I love the place, it is a very different kind of experience that most North Americans are not used to or cannot easily accept. The north coast route can be done with one stop usually in Luperon or Ocean World (Puerto Plata) while the south coast involves many stops and much more potential for some "not nice" encounters.
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Old 27-09-2010, 16:35   #7
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Van Sant is only concerned with getting you to Puerto Rico the easiest and quickest way and that would be along the north coast of the D.R. He does not talk about going anywhere near the south coast of the D.R. except by land travel while inside the D.R.
- - From the Bahamas/T&C to Puerto Rico along the north shore of the D.R. is about 325nm. Going around to the south shore doubles that mileage to about 650nm. Add to that you are in close proximity to Cuba and Haiti for half that distance really exposes you to some potential liabilities.
- - You can look up threads on sailing/cruising the D.R. and see that although I love the place, it is a very different kind of experience that most North Americans are not used to or cannot easily accept. The north coast route can be done with one stop usually in Luperon or Ocean World (Puerto Plata) while the south coast involves many stops and much more potential for some "not nice" encounters.
Osirissail, I hope this question isn't too remedial or hypothetical. (And hopefully it dovetails into the OP rather than hijacks it.) But, you seem to have a handle on that route. We're not currently planning a trip so much as trying to figure out if a trip from the Bahama's to the VI's is even doable for us in the future. We tentatively plan on getting a displacement hull trawler or power cat.

Q: Can you make the trip from West Palm to the Bahamas then to the VI's by stopping each night? Either anchoring/mooring or use of marinas? Not necessarily day after day. We'd meander our way down. I don't need extensive details, just an idea if that's doable as I don't think we'll be up for passages as I understand them.

Did that make sense?

K
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Old 27-09-2010, 19:46   #8
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Osirissail, . . . We tentatively plan on getting a displacement hull trawler or power cat.
Q: Can you make the trip from West Palm to the Bahamas then to the VI's by stopping each night? Either anchoring/mooring or use of marinas? Not necessarily day after day. We'd meander our way down. I don't need extensive details, just an idea if that's doable as I don't think we'll be up for passages as I understand them.
. . . K
Simple answer - Absolutely Yes! The routing is slightly different for a power yacht than a sailboat. But I have assisted with moving power yachts down the islands and have many power yacht friends who have done the route with very little difficulty. Add in that a huge number of power yacht deliveries are made to the Caribbean Islands from Florida each year very successfully.
- - The key thing for power yachts(boats) is fuel range. You should have about an optimum of 400-500 nm of fuel on board. Some power yachts and definitely Sportfisher Yachts do it by adding 4 or more 55 gal drums of fuel on their aft deck for the trip as far as Puerto Rico. After that internal fuel is normally enough.
- - The Bahamas are easy for refueling up to Georgetown, Great Exuma. Then you need fuel to get from Georgetown to Provo, Turks and Caicos. From there the next fuel stop is Ocean World, Puerto Plata, D.R. and then Samana and Punta Cana in the D.R. Then across the Mona Passage via Mona Island. In Puerto Rico, refueling is easily available at Boqueron, Ponce, and the Fajardo (east coast).
- - Active stabilizers make the trip a whole lot more tolerable for displacement monohulls, but I have been on boats without them that make the journey okay.
- - Each power yacht has a "sweet speed" for punching into 5 to 6 ft seas and 15 knts of headwind. For the 42ft Nordic Tugs that was 9.5 knots. At that speed the time on each leg is almost halved compared to sailboat leg times. So each segment can be done in mostly daylight runs. But some of the legs are much easier on passenger/boat comfort if done at night.
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Old 28-09-2010, 00:19   #9
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April/May

Am Considering passage South Bahamas/ Turks & Cacios/ Puerto Rico/ BVI with final passage PR to BVI in April/ May. Please comment Osirissail re those months.Presume winds willbe much stronger. Leaving FL in Jan ( 3 months in Bahamas/ Turks & Caicos ) then THE PASSAGE. Yacht 35' with 22hp motor.
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Old 28-09-2010, 06:32   #10
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Am Considering passage South Bahamas/ Turks & Cacios/ Puerto Rico/ BVI with final passage PR to BVI in April/ May. Please comment Osirissail re those months.Presume winds willbe much stronger. Leaving FL in Jan ( 3 months in Bahamas/ Turks & Caicos ) then THE PASSAGE. Yacht 35' with 22hp motor.
Clyde
Except for a brief period during the middle of November when North American cold fronts cause the suppression and even the reversal of the normal trade winds along the Leeward Islands to the D.R. and Cuba - the route will normally have 15 to 25 kts of winds from the east and 5 to 8 ft seas.
- - In Apr/May you will still have some North American cold fronts rolling off the coast and into the Bahamas bringing sometimes chilly weather in the northern Bahamas but mostly occasionally blustery winds in the southern and far islands of the Bahamas. However, it is a lot less pronounced than in Jan/Feb
- - These cold fronts usually roll through the area every week on average. I have been stuck in Georgetown, Exumas for a week or so with 25 to 35 kt winds each day and then great weather for another week.
- - I have noticed that about every 3 to 5 fronts there will be a strong one that is slow moving enough to get ahead of it and ride the mild wind/wave conditions east. This results in groups of boats waiting in Georgetown and then leaving enmass to make the run to Mayaguana or as far as they can get in the 2 or 3+ day "weather window." Each major stopping/transition spot - Georgetown; Provo; Luperon; Samana will accumulate boats waiting for the next "weather window" and then leaving in a pack when one presents itself. So you end up traveling south and east with a group of new friends which is quite pleasant.
- - For a small power boat the main problem will be the waves which will restrict the speed you can make. You can expect waves from the east but hugging the shores of some islands can help keep them down. This will cause increased mileage than going direct, but with the ability to travel at higher speeds easily makes up for that. Traveling east you will be punching into any waves but you need to be able to deal with big waves on the beam such as will happen in the Turks & Caicos to the D.R. run. You either have to accept rolling from gunwale to gunwale or have the stamina to zig-zag back and forth up and down each wave. This will also decrease your fuel mileage.
- - The later you leave the Bahamas the more settled the winds and waves are in their normal trade wind characteristics as the North American cold fronts stop rolling into the area. December/Jan/Feb are the months most affected by the fronts and as you get to Apr/May/Jun things settle down into a consistent pattern. Which is not necessarily a good thing. Using the cold fronts to assist in "calming" the wind/waves is sometimes better.
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Old 28-09-2010, 06:45   #11
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Simple answer - Absolutely Yes! The routing is slightly different for a power yacht than a sailboat. But I have assisted with moving power yachts down the islands and have many power yacht friends who have done the route with very little difficulty. Add in that a huge number of power yacht deliveries are made to the Caribbean Islands from Florida each year very successfully.
- - The key thing for power yachts(boats) is fuel range. You should have about an optimum of 400-500 nm of fuel on board. Some power yachts and definitely Sportfisher Yachts do it by adding 4 or more 55 gal drums of fuel on their aft deck for the trip as far as Puerto Rico. After that internal fuel is normally enough.
- - The Bahamas are easy for refueling up to Georgetown, Great Exuma. Then you need fuel to get from Georgetown to Provo, Turks and Caicos. From there the next fuel stop is Ocean World, Puerto Plata, D.R. and then Samana and Punta Cana in the D.R. Then across the Mona Passage via Mona Island. In Puerto Rico, refueling is easily available at Boqueron, Ponce, and the Fajardo (east coast).
- - Active stabilizers make the trip a whole lot more tolerable for displacement monohulls, but I have been on boats without them that make the journey okay.
- - Each power yacht has a "sweet speed" for punching into 5 to 6 ft seas and 15 knts of headwind. For the 42ft Nordic Tugs that was 9.5 knots. At that speed the time on each leg is almost halved compared to sailboat leg times. So each segment can be done in mostly daylight runs. But some of the legs are much easier on passenger/boat comfort if done at night.
Thank you! I'll have to start wrapping my mind around carrying 55 gal drums of fuel with us! OR that could be a really good reason to learn to sail!
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Old 28-09-2010, 07:09   #12
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Thank you! I'll have to start wrapping my mind around carrying 55 gal drums of fuel with us! OR that could be a really good reason to learn to sail!
Either way, sail or power, making your way to Puerto Rico and the Virgins is mostly motoring or motor-sailing.
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Old 28-09-2010, 07:14   #13
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Turks & Caicos to PR

Question re T&c to PR. Can one sail in a direct line ie 40 degee into wind or must one tack back and forth across the wind? In your experiences how long has this part of the passage taken? Can one sail or is it a motorsail?
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Old 28-09-2010, 08:23   #14
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Question re T&c to PR. Can one sail in a direct line ie 40 degee into wind or must one tack back and forth across the wind? In your experiences how long has this part of the passage taken? Can one sail or is it a motorsail?
Clyde
Simple answer - No. The complicated reason is that winds are published in Degrees True which when converted to Degrees Magnetic which is displayed on your binacle compass ends up being from the east-southeast during the winter "down-island" season. Add in that as the sailboat increases its own speed the apparent wind is pulled significantly towards the bow of the boat.
- - There are rare occasions when the winds will be from a different direction than the normal easterlies and then such a direct route of about 290 nm or about 2.5 days is possible. But they are rare. If you do happen to encounter such a weather window then go for it. But I would not bet on finding one.
- - What is more feasible when not wanting to stop in the D.R. is to follow the "normal" route of T&C south to the north coast of the D.R. around Luperon/Puerto Plata and planning to arrive near sunset. Then following the "normal" route eastward along the D.R. coastline at night to take advantage of the "night lee" effect. Then from Cabo Samana taking the plunge and crossing the Mona Passage. However, the best "normal" times to cross the Mona Passage is again during the night so you have a potential problem in doing a non-stop of arriving during midday for a Mona Passage crossing.
- - The passage from the T&C to Puerto Rico's east coast is, IMHO, a real "ball-buster" if you do not have the time and inclination to wait for the optimum weather windows. A good weather window may last 2 days and rarely 3 days, so doing a T&C to P.R. non-stop is really crowding your luck.
- - Power yachts have the great advantage of speed which can cut their exposure to seas and winds down significantly. But their routing is much longer than the usual sailboat routes due to refueling considerations.
- - Eastbound most normal cruising sailboats can hold maybe 5 knots SOG average into waves and winds. Depending upon your personal tolerance for being continually beaten like a rag doll against the foredeck for several days, you may opt for the non-stop either direct -weather permitting, or dog-leg non-stop. I have learned the hard way to patiently wait at each "nexus," recuperate, down some Presidentes, and leave with the next good weather window.
- - I joke with new cruisers doing the route that impatience makes San Juan International Airport one of the busiest airports as it is crowded with wives and significant others flying back to North America vowing never to get back on the boat again.
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Old 28-09-2010, 08:38   #15
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Thanks for input Osirissail. Am still planing on cruising on $500p/mnth as in 1995-2002 for self and wife . OK or NUTS? HONEST Y OR N PLEASE. Yacht very well kitted-out pre-cruising. 30 year old engine still running well at present.
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