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Old 29-10-2003, 05:06   #1
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Route from New England to Caribbean

I would enjoy some opinions as to the route one would take from the north to the Caribbean, especially when leaving late in the year. I am in Eastern Canada, and hope to leave this time next year.

I know some take the scenic route, down through Maine, through the Cape Cod Canal, and even going through the ICW at Norfolk to miss Hatteras. Some even stay inboard from New York to Norfolk.

Others might take the Cape Cod Canal, but jump out well before Hatteras to try to get some easterly longitudes.

Others are going rather more direct, jumping to Bermuda and then straight to either The BVI or to St. Maartens.

There is the debate that the many stops of the scenic route and the travel along the "raw edges of the Atlantic" may actually make the trip more dangerous as compared to the run to Bermuda. There is also the debate that the trip to Bermuda is across the fattest part of the Gulf Stream, and through many giant eddies that can hinder and play with you.

Some say the trip from BVI to St. Maartens is so tough around Christmas that they would rather get more easterly further north so as to avoid it.

I would love to hear more opinions.
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Old 20-12-2003, 19:32   #2
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South to Bermuda

In the hopes to keep this going and get more information....

Sandy MacMillan of North Sails Atlantic told me that each late fall, a crowd of sailors muster at Shelbourne, a rather protected harbour in southern Nova Scotia, for the trip to Bermuda. The trip, for a fast mono or typical cat, is around 4-5 days, with only 18 hours crossing the bumpy Gulf Stream.

This year, says MacMillan, there was a perfect 2 week window for the trip.

I will be investigating further, but am hoping for more info from this site as well.
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Old 21-12-2003, 06:52   #3
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What are you after / The distination or the journey?
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Old 21-12-2003, 06:58   #4
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The journey along the coast of Maine can be an interesting one in good weather. However, the cold window at the end of the hurricane season tends to make one want to hustle along in a boat not built for true North Atlantic weather.

Still, I get your point.
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Old 11-01-2004, 01:13   #5
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I would tend to think this really depends a lot on: Do you want to CRUISE the east coast or not? Fall can be real nice from Maine down through Cape and islands, eastern Long Island and then into Chesepeake. If you decide to cruise through the Bahamas it would appear to me that by December the Trades get kickin' and then it gets tougher to go to the eastern Caribbean. Unless, you aren't confined by insurance requirements and can spend October in the Bahamas and then get to BVI before Christmas trades. The other cruisers rally to the Caribbean is the Caribbean 1500 leaving from Norfolk, VA around the first of November. Either way, keep us posted on where and when as I am going that way too next fall. Chris
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Old 11-01-2004, 10:13   #6
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Well, I do want to do Bahamas, and the coast, but right now, I'm leaning towards doing it on the way back from the Caribbean. I want to be back in Canada near the first of July, and am thinking that the winds would better serve me on the way home than on the way down.

I'm still open in my plans, however.
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Old 26-07-2006, 19:33   #7
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Via Bermuda

We are back after two years. We actually left the St. John River at the first of October 2004. Our path took us out of the Bay of Fundy to Eastport, where we checked into customs. Next day took us to Cutler, through an awful mess of lobster traps. The next jump was a cold, wet, rough 30 hour trip to Portland, Me. From there, we daysailed to Kennebunk River. Next day we made Gloucester, and on the next day sailed to Provincetown, where we took time to go ashore and see a rather unique culture and some really wild adult shops.

Next stop was Onset, and meeting our first other travelling cruisers for pizza and blues. When the weather allowed 3 days later, we got to Newport for a visit, then went to East Greenwich for a one-week wait for the appropriate, late October weather window.

When Herb Hilgenberg said it was time, we flew downriver and headed to Bermuda, arriving 7 days later. We had to wait in Bermuda for 3 weeks, leaving the last week in November, to arrive in the BVIs just when our insurance policy would allow us to be there.

Trip home was through the Bahamas and up the coast, taking way too long, and with little to see at the pace we set.

Our path, both up and down, was the result of significant consultation with many experienced sailors. The path down, at least, is the path we'll take next time.
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Old 20-08-2006, 15:36   #8
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The New Englander's traditional answer to this question is, "Sail south 'till your butter melts and then turn right."
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