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Old 05-05-2009, 06:35   #16
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Unfortunately the bank changed the terms on us two days before closing on our new house in St. Thomas. We are post poning until Fall to buy another property and therefor have postponed our boat trip until at least next spring. I am currently selling all my trip gear on ebay including all Explorer Chartbooks and Charts, Guides, Navionics chips, watermaker, satelitte phone, wind turbine, etc...
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:16   #17
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Bummer. Hopefully everything will work out for you in the fall and you'll get your earnest money back. I am curious why you would be selling all of your trip gear now. Won't you need it in about a year?
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:29   #18
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Thanks, yes I will, I am still installing some parts, such as a 3KW Prsoine Ineverter/Charger with additional batteries. However, the watermaker for example cannot be used on the Chesapeake Bay with the brakish water and sitting for a week at a time without extensive maintenance. The charts by next year will all be outdated for just laying in my drawer. The sat phone was used off of ebay, so it just goes back there. The watermaker actually was hard to get and took me 3 months to get one. I guess the economy hits hard and hardly anybody has anything in stock anymore. Since I bought it it went up $500 at the place where I got it from. So I think chnaces are good that I am not making a loss on this one and if it doesn't sell I just keep it, it is still in the shipping crate.
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:52   #19
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4 weeks is not enough if you plan to do the ICW and the island hopping. You will also probably be underway in the hurricane box during the begining of hurricane season.

Plan is not realistic, do it as fast as possible or don't go until November. I am about to do the trip and am leaving on Friday from Miami.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:42   #20
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> Assuming that BigBliss is still in the loop and leaving in November - which is an excellent month for going down island as there is a window of 2-3 weeks when the winds are reversed - blowing from the west - or are zero'ed out.
> I accompanied and assisted a pair of Nordic Tug 42 footers down island a few years ago. The optimum power boat route is from Miami non-stop to Nassau via Gun Cay (Triangle Rocks wpt - Explorer Charts) then Northwest Channel Lite to Nassau which is about 160 nm and after crossing the Gulfstream you can run at optimum cruising speed across the banks. Nassau has a large power yacht community and it is the last place to get a decent fuel prices.
> From Nassau it is a fast run halfway down the west side and then down the east side of the Exumas to Georgetown, Great Exumas - about 130 nm. No bargains on fuel although there is a marina at Georgetown.
> From Georgetown it is 200 nm to Mayaguana (the last Bahamas island and no fuel) and if you can do the range another 60 nm to Provo in the Caicos Islands. This leg can be smooth or rough so speeds might be limited. They have good power yacht facilities at Caicos although the fuel is not cheap.
> From here you need to decide if the weather is good enough to head for Puerto Plata (Ocean World Marina - a power yacht marina) at 150 nm or continue on to Samana - on the east coast of the Dominican Republic - 270 nm from Provo or continue to Punta Cana (power yacht marina) at 330 nm from Provo.
> Luperon is not set up for Power Yachts, especially for refueling - although it can be done.
> From the departure from Long Cay, Caicos Island all the way to the east coast of Puerto Rico you are going to encounter the strong trades and head-on seas as previously mentioned by others. Normal is 20-25 knots (+your boat speed) and 6 to 10 foot seas. The 42' Nordic Tugs could only manage 9.5 kts and still be safely comfortable. Higher speeds were too hard on the crew and hull and the fuel burn increased drastically. Slower speeds and the boats rolled too much.
> Samana is not set up for Power Yachts although there is a fuel pump on the government dock. Punta Cana, further down the eastern side of the D.R. is a mainly Power Yacht facility - - and - it positions you below the Hourglass Shoal for the narrowest crossing of the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico. It is 35 nm to Isla Mona and another 45 nm to Boqueron, Puerto Rico. You can stop at Isla Mona to break the crossing into 2 daylight runs. The Mona Passage is not known for benign conditions so you will be speed limited by the waves and winds. Boqueron does have a yacht club for refueling if necessary. The big reason to stopping in Boqueron is to clear back into USA by taking a taxi service to the Customs/Immigration at Mayaguez. The officials there are consistently polite and low key and the process is quick and painless. (At Ponce there are a few individual officials that can make your day a nightmare if they are on-duty that day.)
> It is only 45 nm from Boqueron to Ponce where there is an excellent Power Yacht facility (Ponce Fishing and Yacht Club). This is your only full service refueling until you get to the northern side of eastern Puerto Rico.
> Another 75-80 nm takes you to the Fajardo area and lots of power yacht marinas. From there to the US Virgins is very fast and only 40 nm.
> Fast running (considering normal winds and waves) is only available on the Grand Bahamas Banks, the Exumas Banks, inside the Caicos Banks and the Fajardo to St Thomas run. Elsewhere you will be speed limited by winds and waves, especially if you do not have stablizers under the boat.
Like I said above the Nordic Tugs had to throttle back to 8 kts to 9.5 kts to keep from pounding themselves to death. ** If you can afford to wait for up to a month at each major stopping point you can find weather windows that will allow full cruising speeds, but they are few and far between. There is no lack of things to do and explore while waiting and there is the danger of not wanting to leave even when a weather window appears because you are having too much fun.
> So that describes the normal Power Yacht route. Some smaller power yachts purchase 55 gal plastic drums, put them on the aft deck and increase their diesel fuel (or gasoline) range significantly, especially when they want to run fast and hot.
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:17   #21
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Unwillingly, I have delivered a few power boats from and to the Caribbean/Florida. Its an 'orrible, noisy, lumpy trip both ways!! The fuel costs are ridiculous and as for the picture of breezing along at 20+knots with a gin and tonic in your hand....furgettaboutit!!

Instead - carry at least 3 x 55 gal drums of extra fuel(cheaper and better quality, US originated). Dont forget to work out how you are going to transfer this to your fuel tanks. Carry spare impellers and belts (Once lost one on a difficult Cummins diesel - single engine Heritage Trawler - and was slowly but surely drifting into Cuba until I got the new one on), and plenty of fuel filters as the continual bouncing is going to stir up any sediment you have in your tanks. Your average speed on passage will be disappointing, and the wear and tear, not to mention engine hours, will be - what can I say - worrying? Have a great Adventure!! Tony
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Old 07-07-2009, 13:13   #22
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I have been reading this post with interest as I wish to bring a sailboat down to Puerto Rico (my home) from Norfolk (where I purchased it). I'm thinking the best window near term is November and looking atn either doing the rhumb line, or heading slightly south of Bermuda then south along the the 65th to the east end of the island. it's a 35' Yorktown. has 40 gallon diesel capacity with as many jerry jugs as I can tie on extra if needed. My questions are these: I've done the thorny path before single handed - and personnally have no desire to do that one again. which of the above routes i've described above be best in your opinion? based on an earlier post by osirissail, November is generally a good weather window - any other opinions on that? Are Satphones really good to pull down weather info off the internet mid ocean? Finally, how much extra diesel would be good to carry? thanks for any advice you care to offer!
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Old 07-07-2009, 15:02   #23
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I've done the passage from Hampton Roads to BVI three times. November is good, since most of the hurricanes will have gone away. Expect a three day gale force blow and be happily surprised if you only have squalls. We sailed out to 65 West, south of Bermuda the first time, which worked out fine. The next two times we sailed the rhumbline, which also worked out fine, but cut a day off the trip. In recent years, most of the Caribbean 1500 boats (60-70 per year) have sailed closer to the rhumbline vs. the traditional I66 route, which was mandatory for the old square riggers.
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Old 07-07-2009, 21:39   #24
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If you are up to a week to two weeks out in the ocean with maybe at least one bad spell then the I-66 route or variation thereof makes a lot of sense as it saves one to two whole months compared to the Thorny Path. The Thorny Path route - Bahamas to Caicos to Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico is for those who want to be able to do a lot of day sails and spend time gunkholing along the way. The actual days under sail/motor are about the same on both routes but all the extra time is used waiting for good weather and seas and also spent exploring and learning about all the stops and islands enroute. Kind of the scenic, back roads way versus the super highway. There is a lot of wonderful things to see and do on the back roads route (Thorny Path) so unless you have a deadline or very limited schedule it seems to be the most popular way.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:26   #25
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Thanks guys. Yes, I've done the thorny path before and do have a time limit on this, thus the desire to do it in one straight shot. approx how many days of high pressure should I expect that time of year??? still trying to figure out how much extra fuel to strap on in case of lack of winds along the way. HUD3, please feel free to provide any additional info you can regarding this route as I know I'd sure appreciate it and am sure other readers would find useful.
Based on the weather patterns i've been studying this last month, most of the really nasty looking sqalls seem to be between the continental US to approx Bermuda. was that your experience? thanks again!
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Old 08-07-2009, 15:14   #26
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The weather you see now won't be very instructive. As the Fall approaches, the Lows and associated cold fronts coming off the East Coast become successively stronger and more frequent. And they usually move fairly quickly. Steve Black has been running the Caribbean 1500 for 19 years now, so his approach has a lot of credibility. Here's what I'd suggest based on Steve's approach and my own experience.

Plan your departure for the first week of November. Then monitor the weather forecast and Gulf Stream data. Wait until a cold front comes through and leave the next day or day after. The idea is to give the Gulf Stream a good day to calm down. The winds will be light and from the southeast, so you'll be motor sailing out of the Bay.

Head down the coast with the idea of crossing the Gulf Stream where it's narrowest, and where you won't run into the wrong side of any cold eddies lurking on the other side. If you depart around noon, you'll be in the stream the next morning, and across by nightfall. A day or two later, the winds will begin to build as the next front approaches, clocking from the south through west and northwest. Be ready for the gybe, because the windshift from NW to N can be pretty abrupt and gusty. After the frontal passage, the winds will still be strong and will settle into the NNE or NE for a while, giving you a heck of a ride and some big following seas. In my three passages, we saw 35-40 kts on two trips and 40-45 kts with 24' seas on the other. These conditions lasted for 3+ days. We sailed the rhumbline or maybe a little north of it. That cuts a day off the trip compared to heading for a point south of Bermuda and then turning south, and it gets you out of the "Gale Zone" southeast of Hatteras as quickly as possible.

You may run into no wind or light winds when you reach the "Horse Latitudes" east of Florida, but on two or our trips, we rode the front all the way to the Tradewinds. They were big fronts--one stretched all the way from Nova Scotia down to Cuba.

Fuel can be an issue. I remember one Caribbean 1500 (I wasn't sailing in it) where the fleet experienced light winds or adverse wind directions for the first six days or so, and they motored a lot. Most of the boats put into Bermuda, and Steve arranged for a fuel truck to come to the dock to fuel them up. I have an 80 gallon tank and six jerry cans on deck, and that's always been more than enough.
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Old 16-09-2009, 11:34   #27
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Guys,
Things are progressing and getting closer to jumping off for the trip. one item I'm having trouble with is finding a Good website to monitor the gulf stream and find analysis.
can someone please point me to some sights for this that you recommend?
thanks!
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Old 16-09-2009, 20:01   #28
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The US Navy puts out free Gulfstream analysis once a week at: NAVMETOCCEN NORFOLK VA HOMEPAGE This site is a bit challenging to navigate. Along the left side you look for East Coast OPAREAS and after getting there scroll the big frame down to the bottom where the East Coast Currents and Speeds charts are located.
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Old 18-09-2009, 13:54   #29
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Thank you!!!! that's precisely what I was looking for.For other's attempting to find the gulf stream analysis for the Middle East Coast the link is:
https://oceanography.navy.mil/legacy.../145/0-0-17/24

the full set of links are:
East Coast Currents and Speeds at Surface (north):
https://www.navo.navy.mil/cgi-bin/graphic.pl/metoc/223/145/0-0-17/32 East Coast Currents and Speeds at Surface (mid):
https://www.navo.navy.mil/cgi-bin/graphic.pl/metoc/223/145/0-0-17/24 East Coast Currents and Speeds at Surface (south):
https://www.navo.navy.mil/cgi-bin/graphic.pl/metoc/223/145/0-0-17/16 Gulf of Mexico Currents and Speeds at Surface:
https://www.navo.navy.mil/cgi-bin/graphic.pl/metoc/40/145/0-0-17/0 K10 MCSST East Coast Opareas Composite
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