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Old 05-05-2011, 07:57   #16
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Re: Heading to Lower Caribbean via "Thorny Path"

Ten years ago Bill Dietrich brought a boat in Florida. This week he's finally made it to Granada. His entire daily log can be found online at Retire Onto A Sailboat
His boat is the S/Y Magnolia. His blog can be tedious but informative. I think it represents single-handed sailing fairly well.

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Old 05-05-2011, 08:58   #17
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Re: Heading to Lower Caribbean via "Thorny Path"

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Originally Posted by Mark Johnson View Post
If "Low Country" could get crew for a week... We headed out from Georgetown Bahamas on an approaching north wind, went east for three days, turned south for two, and landed at Boquerone PR. 5 days!

The first three days were to windward and rough, but it was worth it... VS the slow, tedius, "Gentlemans Passages South" route, at least for us.

Mark
Yes, but you miss all the good stuff in between. OTOH, if you're coming back, it's easier that way :{))

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Skip, still in boatyard hell, but moving right along with the projects...
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Old 06-05-2011, 01:12   #18
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Re: Heading to Lower Caribbean via 'Thorny Path'

Van Sant's book - Passages South, etc. - comes in 2 "flavors" - the original full length version and an extract booklet of only the weather and sailing tips.
- - Bruce has not been physically able to "update" everything himself so a lot of the sections on the full length version can be quite different from real life now and today. But on the other hand, little ever changes in these little island countries. And in some places there are no other sources of information beyond what Van Sant has published.
- - The really big "caveat" in my opinion in reading and absorbing the Van Sant Passages South is it was written for the "little pure sailing vessel." So the information he has published becomes your "baseline" ideas and techniques of getting to your next destination. Even in my large sailing vessel every now and then I am humbled by this or that mechanical failure and reduced back to the "little pure sailing vessel" status. So having that "baseline" knowledge in your "back-pocket" can make a significant difference in successfully overcoming problems.
- - And if everything is working on your more modern vessel then you "breeze on by" and wonder later what the heck everybody was so concerned with.
- - One rather "huge" reason I convey to folks wanting to sail to the eastern Caribbean is to do the Van Sant route - yes, for the adventure and really great waters and islands - but more importantly to "shake out" your boat and handling procedures - before - you get too far off the supply and repair routes. I have met newbie cruising boats in the T&C ready for the crossing to the D.R. and they and their vessels are already down to using "back-up" systems. That is not a place you want to be when you are at the "starting gate" of some seriously difficult weather/wave waters.
- - As I said earlier, some of the nastiest wind/wave conditions (other than a Gulf Stream crossing with a north wind) you will most probably encounter on the trip east and south can be found between the Bahamas/T&C and eastern Puerto Rico but with a generous amount of time available and a good ability to motor-sail those legs can also be rather benign and boring. I love boring when underway.
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Old 10-05-2011, 20:44   #19
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Re: Heading to Lower Caribbean via 'Thorny Path'

Get your dog his rabies shots. And have a rabies titer done before you leave the states. Some of the French Islands are a hassle for people with dogs. We have traveled your route with cats and were not hassled. We were able to hide the cats in the DR and Puerto Rico. Check out each island on Noonsite.com for the pet requirements.
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Old 28-05-2011, 10:50   #20
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Re: Heading to Lower Caribbean via 'Thorny Path'

is november to early to leave fl. to bvi's via the thorny path
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Old 28-05-2011, 11:47   #21
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Re: Heading to Lower Caribbean via 'Thorny Path'

Early November's a good time to shove off for the islands. My three times were from Virginia to BVI. Early November is post-hurricane season (most years, not all) and before the really strong winter storms set in. I haven't done the Thorny Path, but others here have, and I'm sure they'll chime in.

If you type "Thorny Path" into the search link in my sig line, you'll get a lot of previous discussions from our archives.
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Old 28-05-2011, 20:41   #22
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Re: Heading to Lower Caribbean via 'Thorny Path'

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is november to early to leave fl. to bvi's via the thorny path
Actually, November is the perfect month to be heading eastward down the northern Caribbean Islands. For about two weeks, generally in the middle of the month, the weather fronts off Florida force a reversal in the prevailing winds and you can sail eastward with the wind behind you.
- - But shortly thereafter, the infamous westbound Christmas Winds start up and trying to go east becomes a real pain in the butt.
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Old 29-05-2011, 07:00   #23
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Re: Heading to Lower Caribbean via Thorny Path

Thanks, unlike Low Country we are in no hurry and would like to explore and havefun, any spots you recommend?
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Old 31-05-2011, 14:07   #24
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Re: Heading to Lower Caribbean via Thorny Path

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Thanks, unlike Low Country we are in no hurry and would like to explore and havefun, any spots you recommend?
Oy! If you want to explore and have fun, plan on staying a while. There's entirely too much to just go flying on down there if you want to take any of it in.

We're going to do the same path, essentially, but starting from Marsh Harbour, having already spent a cumulative couple of years in the Bahamas - and haven't begun to scratch the surface of that section, alone.

Many of our friends preceded us, so we have enthusiastic reports on a very large number of places in between, including some great hurricane holes.

So, we're not going to hurry :{))

I'm away from the boat, or I'd dig up some of the locations which we've had recommended to us; I'm sure that many more will chime in with several apiece...

L8R

Skip, off doing grandparent things before heading back to the refit before heading to Marsh Harbour, AGAIN (third time there)
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Old 31-05-2011, 14:45   #25
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Re: Heading to Lower Caribbean via Thorny Path

I came down that way "southern passage" last May/June. Motored all the way. Now living in the BVI. Had 175 feet of chain. Have since added 170ft of line after dragging anchor twice. Many deep harbors if you arrive late in the day. I know you can go 5 to 1 with chain, but I don't like to go less than 6 to one.
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Old 31-05-2011, 14:52   #26
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Re: Heading to Lower Caribbean via Thorny Path

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I came down that way "southern passage" last May/June. Motored all the way. Now living in the BVI. Had 175 feet of chain. Have since added 170ft of line after dragging anchor twice. Many deep harbors if you arrive late in the day. I know you can go 5 to 1 with chain, but I don't like to go less than 6 to one.
Without, I hope, dislodging this thread, I consider anything like 5-1 (mine is all chain, all the way) a lunch hook environment, even with my oversized anchor. My minimum is 7, and I usually do 10-1. I like sleeping at night :{))

L8R

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Old 02-06-2011, 06:06   #27
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Re: Heading to Lower Caribbean via Thorny Path

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Without, I hope, dislodging this thread, I consider anything like 5-1 (mine is all chain, all the way) a lunch hook environment, even with my oversized anchor. My minimum is 7, and I usually do 10-1. I like sleeping at night :{))
Might want to get a better anchor. Anchors can break out at around 8 degrees, hence the 7:1 ratio, if you have chain, you have to be in a Cat 5 hurricane not to have a 0 degree pull because of the catenary effect.
The extra chain does provide additional friction, which goes back to my first statement.

I've been 5:1 and held in 50 knot winds, I've also dragged in 20 knots (deltas don't do well in soft mud), you got to know your limitations

Reminds of an article by Beth Leonard where she talks about how wonderful their bruce anchor is, then mentions it's a 110lbs. Is the anchor really that good, or is that more of a endorsement of gravity.
Tom
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:22   #28
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Re: Heading to Lower Caribbean via Thorny Path

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Reminds of an article by Beth Leonard where she talks about how wonderful their bruce anchor is, then mentions it's a 110lbs. Is the anchor really that good, or is that more of a endorsement of gravity.
Tom
Yes, gravity rocks! Too bad there's no way to carry a 300# mushroom.
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