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Old 08-05-2012, 22:02   #1
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Looking for Buddy Boats - Bahamas to Virgins in November

Me and the better half are going to begin our sabbatical this November and are looking for buddy boats that might be interested in making the passage from the Bahamas to Tortola/St. Thomas/San Juan together.

We're planning on staging the passage out of the Abacos in late October/early November of this year, weather depending of course. We will have 2 experienced crew with us but wouldn't mind additional nearby boats for our first true blue water passage.

Welcome any feedback or directional guidance... Is there a better site/method to find buddy boats? Will others be hanging around the Abacos at this same time of year with similar thoughts?

Feel free to PM me or email me at gene.nix at gmail dot com.

Thanks in advance,

Gene
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:37   #2
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Look at the prevailing winds before committing to that route. Thirty knots on the nose, steep choppy seas, you will make about two knots. It is the passage from hell. Get Van Sant's book.
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:30   #3
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Re: Looking for Buddy Boats - Bahamas to Virgins in November

I thought is was common place to meet up with Carib 1500 folks via I-65 from the Bahamas. I'm obviously just starting to look into the trip.

Need to stop focusing on equipment, fixes, etc... as much.

Gene
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:57   #4
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Re: Looking for Buddy Boats - Bahamas to Virgins in November

Gene, the 1500 stages in Hampton, VA. From there they head SE across the stream until they get to I65 and then straight south to the BVI. There is a subset that leaves Hampton and breaks off for the Bahamas, as a destination not a waypoint. I think your logical choices are the I65 route, or the thorny path jumping from Bahamas, T&C, DR, PR then the VI. I don't think you would want to go from the Bahamas into the teeth of the trades to the VI. That's why people do the thorny path.

Scott
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:01   #5
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Re: Looking for Buddy Boats - Bahamas to Virgins in November

Or it looks like Yacht Transport might be an option if your goal was to get the boat safely south ASAP... I'm worried we wouldn't make it as far South as we want if we took the Thorny Path.

I think that happens to a lot of folks. But any of the folks that pulled up short of their original goal most likely don't have any complaints.

Gene
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:05   #6
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Re: Looking for Buddy Boats - Bahamas to Virgins in November

I was convinced by Don Street's recommended route to the Virgins - leave from Beaufort, NC, head southeast to cross the gulf stream at its narrowest point (you will be across the stream in 24 hours or so), then sail easterly to 65W then southerly to Tortola. I believe he recommends leaving as early in November as possible, weather permitting. The advantage of this route over the Carib 1500 departure from Hampton VA is that you are across the stream with a rock solid weather forecast, rather than leaving north of Cape Hatteras and not getting across the stream for 2 to 3 days. We left from Beaufort NC one year, offshore to San Salvador, but in early December. We had a pretty vigorous last 24 hours, a day I've since tried to avoid in subsequent offshore passagemaking.

This assumes you're leaving from up north. If departing from farther south, or Florida, just get Van Sant's book. We are in St. John, USVI right now, after clawing our way to windward since departing Lake Worth on December 10. Of course, we travel slowly, wait for very favorable weather (sailing in the Bahamas, motorsailing in flat calms since Mayaguana), and enjoy ourselves on the way.

Good luck.
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Old 09-05-2012, 15:16   #7
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What about heading east from T & C on a north wind and staying well north of DR till eastern PR or Virgin Isl?
Is that north enough to avoid the thorns?
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Old 09-05-2012, 15:49   #8
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Re: Looking for Buddy Boats - Bahamas to Virgins in November

If you're taking the thorny path the best spot to start is Georgetown. Many cruisers get together there to buddy up and head south. They even have seminars on the subject. If you're going off shore the best bet is to start further north like Beaufort, NC.
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Old 09-05-2012, 16:42   #9
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Re: Looking for Buddy Boats - Bahamas to Virgins in November

VanSant's book is full of bull. If you want to wait in each harbor until the perfect weather presents itself, it is ok but if you have time constraints, as most of us do, it sux. Take the advise of those who advocate any I65 route. The thornless passage is OK on the way back since it is all down wind.
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Old 09-05-2012, 16:54   #10
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Re: Looking for Buddy Boats - Bahamas to Virgins in November

Why does everyone try the thorny path if offshore is an option. I can understand if you are already in the Bahamas and then decide to head east, but if you are in a position to take the offshore route then it seems more effecient course.

I know some have no offshore experience, but there is only one way to get it and that is go offshore.

Just a thought and not a judgement either way you choose to go. In the end..your boat your choice.

Maybe the offshore topic would be better debate in a different thread. Not trying to hijack a thread.
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Old 09-05-2012, 17:22   #11
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Re: Looking for Buddy Boats - Bahamas to Virgins in November

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Why does everyone try the thorny path if offshore is an option. I can understand if you are already in the Bahamas and then decide to head east, but if you are in a position to take the offshore route then it seems more effecient course.
Can you explain what you mean? Are you saying that, "obviously", if you're in the Bahamas you shouldn't head offshore and the Thorny Path is your only option?

Similar to Jentine's comment, I had initially thought we would like to get South ASAP, then once down to the ABCs, determine if you want to go West to Panama or come back North taking your time up the Thorny Path leaving the Exumas for last.

I hope this all isn't laughable, but I've looked and really can't find sound advice on Caribbean Sabbatical options. A Kaplan SAT course of sorts for want-to-be cruisers. Perhaps it's the liability of it all...

Understand there is no "right" answer but there is ultimately the "safe" answer but it's all good input in the end. If you own a Category A boat you should respect the ratings, understand the risk, prepare yourself and know that bad weather is inevitable. I think the decision to take the offshore route comes down to one's spirit of adventure, trust in self, trust in boat, and ability to accept it will not be all "rainbows and unicorns" the entire passage.

Proofing my above paragraph made me think about my limited, 1500 nm, of experience I have under my belt...
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Old 09-05-2012, 17:28   #12
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Re: Looking for Buddy Boats - Bahamas to Virgins in November

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Similar to Jentine's comment, I had initially thought we would like to get South ASAP, then once down to the ABCs, determine if you want to go West to Panama or come back North taking your time up the Thorny Path leaving the Exumas for last.


You have to get east before you can head south. Once you're in the Bahamas it's difficult to get east. The hard part is not the ABC's. The hard part is getting to the Virgins. That's why most try to get to 65W from Beaufort.
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Old 09-05-2012, 17:36   #13
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Re: Looking for Buddy Boats - Bahamas to Virgins in November

My point is this....

If the goal is to get to the Virgin Islands and then head back west and explore then an offshore passage to the VI may be a better route. Of course a vessel needs to be able to make that passage offshore.

If your goal is to explore the VI, PR, DR, T&C, Bahamas. By starting in the VI area and coming back west you are working with the previaling wind/current. If you choose to head toward Panama you could then plot a course thru the windward passge.

I have not made this trip and is academic at this point for me.
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Old 09-05-2012, 17:48   #14
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Interesting! We are currently on a mooring about 6nm east of Puerto Rico. We have done the "thornless path" and have found a lot of good advice from Van Zant's book. I would not trade our experiences for the I-65 corridor. However, we ARE looking forward to the flip side when we can do some downwind sailing. There are a number of boats on similar paths and yes, hooking up in George Town if you choose this route is preferable. Whichever route you choose, enjoy the trip!

Regards,
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Old 09-05-2012, 18:03   #15
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Re: Looking for Buddy Boats - Bahamas to Virgins in November

Both ways are good options. Just really comes down to your choice/preference.
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