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Old 29-10-2010, 14:58   #1
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Passage from St Martin to Antigua

Does anyone know the fastest route between St Martin and Antigua? We are planning this trip for next week and have been trying to nail down an itinerary. It would be nice if we could sail to St Barths in one day and then all the way to Antigua the next. Is there any chance the wind will cooperate and make this possible or would it be completely unrealistic? Thanks in advance for the tips.
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Old 29-10-2010, 16:57   #2
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St. Barth's in one day is easy. We beat our brains our for three days trying to make Antigua. It is further east than it looks. Spent a whole day looking at the Kingdom of Rodondo. If the winds are still light you ought to be okay.
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Old 29-10-2010, 17:24   #3
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St. Barths is easy. As far a Antigua from there is anybody’s guess. Normally you would need a north component to the east trades to get there comfortably. Next week might be interesting as even the weather guru’s haven’t agreed on were Tomas might be heading or where the winds will come from.
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Old 29-10-2010, 18:08   #4
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That is what I figured. I have done the trip from St Martin to St Barths in the past and it was a piece of cake and I have had the nose pointed from there to Antigua and the wind was perfect for a straight shot (at that time) but I was only playing around with the idea at the time. The distance across rough water and no line of sight navigational aids are what concern me. But if it can be done safely I am determined to do it. I was wondering if it would be easier to make the run to Barbuda first or straight to Antigua or if the wiser move would be to head south to Nevis first and then motor or motor sail straight east to Antigua which is much closer?
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Old 29-10-2010, 18:25   #5
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Old 29-10-2010, 18:28   #6
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Weather forecasts tend to be fine for 24, relatively fine for another 24, marginally fine for another 24 hours. Beyond 3 days it is a wild guess at times, unless the weather is very stable (e.g. the trades blowing, the High stable or growing).

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Old 29-10-2010, 18:32   #7
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That's one of the tricky passages to make in the Eastern Caribben, because it takes awhile to beat east to English Harbor. Leave St Barth's in the late evening and do a slow night sail south. Plan your arrrival at The entrance to Five Islands after daylight and do a "Q" flag anchor out at the entrance to the harbor. Don't try approching the island before daylight, and there's no need to check in. Enjoy a relaxing day in pristine waters with excellent holding.

The next morning sail around to English Harbor/Falsmoth to check in.
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Old 29-10-2010, 20:00   #8
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What charter company are you using? Sometimes people ask about companys that allow longer distance passages and night sailing and I hadn't heard of any on St. Martin. You must be going out of Simpson Bay?
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Old 29-10-2010, 21:58   #9
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Head for St Barts Sunday morning and anchor up for the night of Saline Beach.... then make a run early Monday around 4am... winds ENE 4-5 and head for St Johns... or better still wait till Monday night... the seas should have settled a bit by then... a run of 80 miles SE...
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Old 30-10-2010, 08:47   #10
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And beware of hurricane Tomas.

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Old 30-10-2010, 10:05   #11
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Antigua Check-in

Always check in @ Jolly Harbour rather than English/Falmouth. That way you can avoid the daily park fees charged when you check in @ English Harbour.

Plus, sailing from St. Barts to Antigua, it's a the first point of entry, with much less bashing to windward.

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Old 02-11-2010, 04:42   #12
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I have to second the checkin / checkout in Jolly harbour rather then Falmouth/English - if you are in luck you can dock right in front of the 3 little offices at the "Q" dock otherwise take a mooring ball or anchor out and dinghy in.

You didn't specify what sort of a boat you'll have or if you wish to use your iron genny - that will make a big difference in estimating your time to Antigua on that run. I have done Marigot -> anchorage off Nevis ("Q" flagged for the night), then departed at dawn for English Harbour twice but only when the wind has a significant northerly component, more than ENE. [with little swell one can better the angle by going north of Nevis, Hud3 can give better advice than I on that passage].

St. Barths to Jolly Harbour is about 75nm. Even without a GPS you will have some island on your horizon for the whole trip (St. Barths, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat) to give you orientation and usually you'll have a large area of cumulus forming over Antigua during the day to show you where the island is.

With typical trades you'll have the relative wind on your port beam and will make good time, if you turn on the engine you can easily plan on getting hull speed and can compute your departure time from St. Barths so that you get in to Jolly harbour or English/Falmouth at 9 (no use getting there earlier since chances are that nobody will be at customs/immigration). If you anchor at the edge of the mooring field in St. Barths then departing in the dark should pose no problems at all.
There will be a couple of ferries on the same route, but the heavy iron traffic route is north of St. Martin heading SW. The only real traffic will be other sailboats and big power yachts going from Antigua to St. Barths/St. Martin.
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Old 02-11-2010, 08:13   #13
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Thanks for all the help. The tips are greatly appreciated! I have sailed in this area before in the trades but according to Windfinder - Wind & weather forecast St. Maarten the wind is supposed to shift way to the South and even blow SSW Sunday - Tuesday. Is this unusual? It seems this will make the passage from Nevis to Antigua a breeze, if you'll pardon the pun. And maybe make the run from St Barths doable in decent time. We are in a 50' cat. Of course I would prefer not to have to motor at all but we have twin 75hp's if absolutely neccessary.
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Old 02-11-2010, 08:23   #14
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Originally Posted by luv2 View Post
the wind is supposed to shift way to the South and even blow SSW Sunday - Tuesday. Is this unusual?
I think if you take note of Barnicles earlier post you may catch that there is a mini hurricane trying to bust its guts and become a big hurricane. Its headed all over the place and no one has the foggiest idea where its going to be tomorrow.

I learnt some great lessons about being in a hurricane area in Hurricane Season.

I would certainly be dropping plans for a cruise till its path is more assured.

Click on this link and look at ALL the little boxes below and you will see the scientists haven't a clue where this one is headed.
National Hurricane Center




However, its only an 85 mile run and with a South Westerly you would romp it in quickly. But I would think smart money would say SW is unlikely and S or SE likely and you will be working into it.
Is that what the Caribbean experts think?



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Old 02-11-2010, 09:20   #15
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This is what I'm seeing for Tuesday next week...
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