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Old 21-12-2010, 11:56   #1
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Making Miles in the Caribbean

We are on the verge of tossing the dock lines! We plan to be underway toward the Bahamas in 4 weeks from today. We imagine being through the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Dutch Antilles and maybe Panama all within 12 weeks. Is covering this much distance a realistic goal? This is a sailing trip so we don't plan on lingering around one particular beach for more than a few days. I would like some perspective from others who have cruised around the entire Caribbean before.
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Old 21-12-2010, 12:31   #2
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where are you now?
if you are still in bremen this time frame is a bit unrealistic
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Old 21-12-2010, 12:33   #3
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Originally Posted by atoll View Post
where are you now?
if you are still in bremen this time frame is a bit unrealistic
ah! lol no. We will be departing from Tampa.
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Old 21-12-2010, 12:34   #4
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Do You mean 12 week from now, from departure day or from arrival to the Bahamas?
What is Your boat?
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Old 21-12-2010, 12:41   #5
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12 Weeks to see the Caribbean is a bit short. The miles are not the problem, but you would be skipping some of the prettiest sailing areas and anchorages in the world. In addition, if you are doing a shakedown cruise then you will most likely spend some time in places like St. Martin or Antigua to get parts and work done.
Bremen is pretty cold right now, so you'd best get going. I'll be tacking back and forth between the Windwards and Leewards for the next months so perhaps we'll cross paths. I just sailed to St. Martin a week ago and returned to the BVI yesterday - mainly because of a full moon party and because there are a couple of anchorages that are new to me here. Viel Spass!
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Old 21-12-2010, 13:01   #6
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From Tampa you have to sail around the peninsula before jumping off for the Bahamas. The way the northers are rolling through so far this year, you may have to wait awhile in Miami or wherever before crossing the Gulf Stream. From there it's a 1000 miles southeast to the Virgins. And from there it's over a 1000 miles via the ABCs to Panama. So yes, 12 weeks is 'enough' time. But, it is inconsistent with proper leisurely cruising. It took us 8 months to sail from Tampa to the Bahamas and down the chain to Venezuela. You inevitably encounter so may places where you just want to stay for awhile. We started out too fast, but we got smart - it took us a year and a half to sail back.
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Old 21-12-2010, 13:14   #7
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I can't imagine why you would even consider doing this trip in 12 weeks unless this was some kind of a critical delivery. And even then this is not very realistic as others have pointed out. We have waited two weeks or more for weather to settle down and this year is proving to be a tough year weather wise so far for the Bahamas and northern Caribbean. Chuck
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Old 21-12-2010, 13:30   #8
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SAilin g to windward through the Caribbean can be very uncomfortable... time it to go with the fronts.. get north winds.. otherwise it might take 12 weeks to get from the Dr to St. MArtin!
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Old 21-12-2010, 13:57   #9
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Even Laura Dekker, who hopes to be the youngest person to sail RTW, gets it. She just arrived in St. Maarten, but she doesn't plan to be in Panama for 5 or 6 months. Of course, she's timing it for the best season to jump off for the South Pacific. But still, part of the goal is to discover and spend time in the quirky little places where the airlines and cruise ships don't take you. If you only have 12 weeks, tear up the itinerary; be flexible; and take your time. You will get as far as you get; and you will have much more fun doing it.
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Old 21-12-2010, 14:01   #10
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perfecly feasible to do the trip,though very hard to get to the windies at this time of year.
would be better to head south to cuba,caymans ,isla san andreas,colon panama,possibly spending a month in the san blas archipeligo,panama chicheme cays is really nice.
going west is going to be really hard but heading south every day is going to be warmer and easy sailing,spent a few xmases in the san blas really fantastic,then went tru the canal in april,good timing to cross to galapagos.
fair winds and following seas generally dont trash the boat as much as head winds.

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Old 21-12-2010, 15:10   #11
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yeah... Here in Germany we sold our house and liquidated every material thing we owned last week. We have a boat in Tampa and a kitty to cruise on. We never cruised before... I raced Tornado Catamarans in the US and Europe on windward Leeward courses for many years and crewed on a few Chicago Mackinaw races, but that is the extent of our family cruising. We didn't want to burn ourselves out while being on the sea for a year or more. We wanted to go 12 weeks out, come home to work a little, then return, but if the trip goes well and the crew we are bringing along works out well too, we could stay out for 6 months or more. I'm plotting maps... three and a half days from Tampa to Key West... thats very fast. We have no idea what to expect while in the Caribbean cruising... we just know it is beautiful and known for great sailing. We may pop out of the Panama Canal and head over to the Polynesian Islands. You never know... So spending 6 months getting to Panama from the chain of Islands is realistic?
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Old 21-12-2010, 15:25   #12
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probably a trip in january to the windward slands will put you off sailing forever,if you do not know what to expect.
better a gentle trip south to warmer climes if you have never done it before.
regards atoll 100 000 sea miles,we all had to start some where but better do it gently hear so many horror stories.
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Old 21-12-2010, 15:29   #13
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A hell of a lot better than 12 weeks thats for sure.... and hammering the boat is not good when cruising.
Race's are something else... relatively short periods and known contacts/quality of work when you get back in... cruising is dealing with a whole different thing... something breaks you've sometimes got to wait a week or two for your bits before you can move on... believe it or not you could end up covering as much or more ground taking it easy as you could trying to meet schedules...
Be kind to the boat, be good to the crew and you'll do much better... and after St Maarten its good fast sailing... all you want...LOL
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Old 21-12-2010, 15:56   #14
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Burn out is more likely with a schedule that includes beating eastward. It's tough to burn out when you take your time and enjoy the journey.
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Old 22-12-2010, 07:11   #15
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If your goal is to get to Panama, why would you go through the Bahamas and Eastern Carib? Just reach off around Cuba or Windward Passage and go straight there. I'd rather spend 1 week sailing and 10 weeks exploring the San Blas than beating upwind through the Eastern Carib at full tilt only to be thrown and heaved toward Panama on the winter winds and seas you will find from there.

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