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Old 29-01-2008, 10:44   #1
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Heading South In Feb

Hi guys,
I'm picking up a boat in St Martin towards the end of Feb with a view of getting her to Trinidad over a period of about a week, by looking through various books and things, it appears to be a fairly straightforward task, I'm wondering if anyone has any experience of this route and if you could highlight any pitfalls I might readily head into. The boat is an Aloha 34, my first boat and our maiden voyage together, so we'll be taking it slowly......

Thanks a lot

John
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Old 29-01-2008, 12:13   #2
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Originally Posted by Castle Reef View Post
St Martin towards the end of Feb with a view of getting her to Trinidad over a period of about a week...
...so we'll be taking it slowly......
Thanks a lot
John
I think St Martin to Trinidad might be on the order of 700 nm, so could be done in 7 (24 Hour) days, at about 4 - 5 knots.
Not exactly slowly.
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Old 29-01-2008, 12:24   #3
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Hey, John.

Are you planning to go non-stop, or island hop? If stopping overnight, have you worked out which ones you'll visit?

Makes a big difference on what advice folks might offer.
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Old 29-01-2008, 12:59   #4
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Hi Hud,
I've not really thought about what islands I'd stop off on, it's going to be a shake out sail more than a jolly, so I was thinking that I'd stop off at a couple of islands, but haven't really planned which ones because I guess that depends on the problems I encounter, I have charts for the whole chain down to Trinidad, so I'm fairly well covered in case of problems......and entirely open to suggestions.

John
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Old 29-01-2008, 18:51   #5
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John,

It's about a 500 NM trip, maybe longer, depending on your route. If you sail non-stop, and average 75% of hull speed (optimistic!), it's a four day trip at best. It will probably be hard on the wind until Guadeloupe.

One of the issues you face if you stop anywhere is the requirement of clearing in through Customs and Immigration, and then clearing out. The French islands don't seem to mind if you drop anchor, run up your "Q" flag, spend the night and leave early the next morning without clearance. I believe most of the English heritage islands will want you to clear in and out. You can generally clear in and out at the same time, as long as you leave within 24 hours, max. The French islands will give you longer, as will Dominica.

Customs office hours are typically 8 or 8:30 am to 3:30 or 4 pm. Overtime is sometimes available for an extra charge. When you clear in, they will ask you for your clearance papers from your last port of call.

It seems like to me you will have time for only one, maybe two stops along the way. If you go for two, I'd suggest Rodney Bay, St. Lucia as the first. It's a Port of Entry, and you can find a chandlery, restaurants, bars, a marina, fuel and water, and provisioning there or nearby. Then stop in Prickley Bay, Grenada, before jumping off for Trinidad. The passage from Grenada to Trinidad can be some rough sailing (adverse current and waves), so keep that in mind. You might average only 3-4 knots over ground on that 90 NM leg.
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Old 30-01-2008, 05:56   #6
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Excellent, thanks a lot for your advice Hud.

john
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Old 30-01-2008, 08:22   #7
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Hi John
You mentioned this is your first boat, how much experence on the open Ocean do you have? Im asking because this is quite a trip for someone who has not a lot of experence at sea, books, vidieos and a little weekend sailing alone is not anywhere near enough experence to make this trip. On the boat-Most used boats and even new ones need a lot of going over before you go offshore. I Bought a 2 year old Trawer with 124 hours on the engine and it took me 2 weeks full time to get it ready where I felt it was sea worthy, there are so many little things to consider ?
I wish you good luck!
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Old 30-01-2008, 08:47   #8
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Hi Ram,
I'm not too worried on that side, I've done a transatlantic, skippered from the azores to the UK, Biscay, Canaries, Med etc, got around 8000 nm under my belt and have been in some fairly hairy situations, and I'll be bringing a guy to help who's done Australia - SA - South America, the one worry on that side is that it's been about a year since I was on a boat, and about 2 years for him, so we will be rusty. With regards to getting the boat ready, the flight I booked to St Martin is return just in case it all goes a bit pear-shaped.

The plan is always changing anyway, if the boat get in the water this time round, mast up and even a couple of days shake out sail, at least I'll have a fair idea for the future.... this boat was bought from a couple who fitted it out quite nicely and didn't use it a lot, which can be good and bad I guess!!

Thanks for your advice and luck!
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Old 30-01-2008, 09:21   #9
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Great Sounds like you have it all well covered , GOOD Luck and have fun!
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