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Old 01-05-2013, 23:19   #1
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Maine to Florida

I am buying a boat in Maine. We want to sail down to Florida and then to Cancun. What would be the most important tips for a possible single handed sail down. We have sailed SF Bay and north coast only and to be honest would love some advice on where to download some cruising guides for these two trips. After the wedding in Cancun we are attending hence the sail there we want to route to the Caribbean. I apologize for the vagaries using my wife's IPAD and cannot type.

If you know where to download guides please email me.
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Old 02-05-2013, 00:04   #2
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Re: Maine to Florida

Online you can use a couple of web sites that give updates on the ICW, trouble spots, bridge closings, etc.

https://activecaptain.com/

Cruiser's Net

I would recommend purchasing a guide book to carry on board. I used the Waterway Guide for navigation information.

Waterway Cruising Guide | Home

Skipper Bob's guides are also good. Home | Skipper Bob Cruising Guides
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:05   #3
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Re: Maine to Florida

Welcome aboard! You shouldn't have too many issues making day sections single-handed if you have experience and, especially, patience. I agree with Skipmac's suggestions (Waterway Guide also has a website with navigation updates and news). Best of luck!
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:19   #4
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Re: Maine to Florida

Going south stay in the ICW or close to shore to stay out of the edge of the Gulf Stream.

Cancun to the Caribbean is not easy, it is into the trades and the current. Last time I did the trip I went via Miami.

I would leave the boat in Miami, fly to Cancun and then go Down Island from Miami.

While the advice might seem illogical we have spent the last 5 years and 20,000 miles between Trinidad, Canada and Cancun.
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:33   #5
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Re: Maine to Florida

One of the biggest issues you face is dealing with hurricane season from June through October, and lately well into November too. Your entire schedule must keep it in mind. The prevailing winds from Maine to Florida will be against you during nice weather, so you want to take advantage of any mild cold fronts you can to get some north winds. It is usually worth it to wait for the frontal passage to see how bad the winds are, rather than being offshore during the passage. In the summer, frontal passages are less of a concern, but there can be periods of squally thunderstorm weather. Just about every afternoon in the summer in the Chesapeake you will get thunderstorms. Many can be dodged or avoided if you are paying attention, but they can be severe if caught out. IMHO, the best time to make that trip is in the fall, leaving Maine by the end of August, hitting Annapolis, MD, in early October for the boat show, and then starting south from Norfolk around the first of November or so. If you take the ICW from Norfolk to Miami (about 1095 miles) you will find you just about travel at the same pace as the weather changes, so you have a nice fall trip all the way. Then you are in Florida at the right time to go over to Mexico (after hurricane season). From Cancun you have to work your way down the coast to Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, and then down to Panama and over to Colombia, but you will be facing right into the stiff winter trade winds at that point. It would be a really tough slog across the Caribbean from west to east, which is why most people get there either via the Bahamas, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, or they head straight offshore from Florida until north of the Virgins, than flop over onto the other tack.
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:46   #6
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Im sure you cruiser types do actually already know this...but Cancun is in the Caribbean...no need to sail east to reach the "Caribbean" from there.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:41   #7
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Re: Maine to Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Im sure you cruiser types do actually already know this...but Cancun is in the Caribbean...no need to sail east to reach the "Caribbean" from there.
I guess it would depend on exactly where one draws the line. Cancun might be in the Gulf of Mexico but even if that's the case the Caribbean sure wouldn't be far.

But of course we all understand that the OP is referring to the cruising grounds in the Windward and Leeward islands.
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Old 02-05-2013, 20:37   #8
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Re: Maine to Florida

Thank you all for the replies. Yes Cancun is considered Caribbean however I was using the term loosely to mean the islands. I do appreciate the answers and will be using this forum again.

Thank You
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