Originally Posted by clifflyon
So, you guys are saying just sail down the Leeward side of the Exuma's?
Not necessarily. I'm saying take the best course based on the winds at the time, your schedule and the easiest/safest route for each leg.
If the winds are right and you want to make max time toward the destination
then Dsandurils route through the NE - NW Providence Channels is sort of a modified I-65 idea. You're making easting at the beginning of the trip so you have a better angle toward the VI at the end.
However with the current
winds, from Miami through the Providence Channel at least parts
of that leg will be a dead beat against the wind.
My general idea would be to take any and every option to make easting. If the winds are NE then pick a course close hauled on the port tack. If a front comes through with north winds then haul ass due east or even a little north of east to give you a better angle when the winds come back to the east.
Then combine this with picking a course through the Bahamas
. Could be through the Providence Channel and down the outside of the chain IE east of Eleuthera and Cat Island, maybe heading toward San Salvador. Or might work out better to turn south and head down Exuma Sound passing east of Long Island
and on to the T&C.
When you're trying to make this trip with a schedule in this time of year you will just have to be flexible and pick what works. This should include blowing off the deadline for arrival in St Thomas if conditions are bad. Trying to meet a schedule is a common cause for grief.
Again, to really make time on this trip I usually resorted to motorsailing. Keep the main up sheeted in tight and run the engine
at about one third to half throttle, a little more if conditions are calmer and you aren't bashing and crashing too much. Under this rig I could hold a course maybe 15 degrees off the wind so make really good time to weather.