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Old 06-01-2016, 09:32   #1
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Sailing route between the USVI to Key West - Best Route?

looking to sail our boat from USVI to Key West and looking for the best and quickest route? Has anyone done the route through the old Bahama Channel?

Thanks
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Old 06-01-2016, 10:56   #2
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Re: Sailing route between the USVI to Key West - Best Route?

Is this a trick question?!?

Without going far out of your way, the only other option is to duck through Channel 5 and come into Key West from the Intracoastal, but even then most of the route is the same and I don't know what the advantage would be (unless the weather is surly, but then it would be coming from the N/NE, and then there is no real advantage to being inside, you are actually more exposed there than hugging the Keys on the Hawk Channel side).

There are lots of posts on this (including posts by me). The route will generally have following prevailing winds and a following current, so it will be fast but possibly a dead run. Bring a preventer, and preferably a spinnaker. Other than that, cross from the coast of Cuba to the Keys from a point west of Cay Sal Banks, and be aware that there are many (well charted) banks and reefs that are easily avoided, but should be carefully tracked.

Have fun. Not much to it! Pete
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Old 06-01-2016, 11:17   #3
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Re: Sailing route between the USVI to Key West - Best Route?

Aren't the trade winds and streams perfect for a VI to FL in almost a straight shot this time of year, skirting past Bahamas to starboard? Are you asking for stop-overs or the best angle?
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Old 06-01-2016, 11:30   #4
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Re: Sailing route between the USVI to Key West - Best Route?

The question was basically to get an idea of considerations based on two possible most direct routes...

VI - T&C - Bahamas - Miami - Hawk Channel.
VI - PR to port, Bahamas to Stbd through Old Bahamas Bank.

The first of the considerations; we are a crew of 2...and our boat is small. Initial calculations shows open water for 4 or 5 days non-stop... No stopovers for fuel, water, etc...

The second is the amount of time required to get through the Bahamas. This is the way we came down in April, taking quite a while to do the trip. However, we are able to do day hops and stop for Food, Fuel, & water more frequently.

Finally, any input on possible cruiser flotillas going that way this time of year would be great, as would getting best angle this time of year.
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Old 06-01-2016, 11:52   #5
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Re: Sailing route between the USVI to Key West - Best Route?

Seems to me this is a matter of preference. Either route is doable. You're right, it is a long run from the Dominican Republic to Florida, since you probably can't stop in Cuba and shouldn't stop in Haiti. Two people in a small boat? It can be done, but I wouldn't do it. In that case I would go through the Bahamas. Pete
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Old 07-01-2016, 12:12   #6
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Re: Sailing route between the USVI to Key West - Best Route?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasata View Post
The question was basically to get an idea of considerations based on two possible most direct routes...

VI - T&C - Bahamas - Miami - Hawk Channel.
VI - PR to port, Bahamas to Stbd through Old Bahamas Bank.

The first of the considerations; we are a crew of 2...and our boat is small. Initial calculations shows open water for 4 or 5 days non-stop... No stopovers for fuel, water, etc...

The second is the amount of time required to get through the Bahamas. This is the way we came down in April, taking quite a while to do the trip. However, we are able to do day hops and stop for Food, Fuel, & water more frequently.

Finally, any input on possible cruiser flotillas going that way this time of year would be great, as would getting best angle this time of year.
===

Given your situation with a smaller boat and a small crew, I'd recommend going through the Turks & Caicos and then up through the Bahamian Out Islands and Exumas. The problem with Old Bahama Channel is that there are no good stopping off points along the way and the fatigue factor is a very real risk. Unless you are under a very tight schedule that must be met, I'd go up through the islands and stop to smell the roses once in a while. Long offshore runs with two people get old after a day or two and there's really no reason for it.
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Old 07-01-2016, 16:49   #7
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Re: Sailing route between the USVI to Key West - Best Route?

I am going to try and do this from St Maarten later this month just don't know when yet, waiting for some parts.
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Old 07-01-2016, 17:39   #8
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Re: Sailing route between the USVI to Key West - Best Route?

I have not done it, but I just checked the chart to see if there is an alternative to the obvious route.

Its gotta be the greatest straight shot passage in the world. Wind up the bum, current up the bum, only 1023nms. Rhumb line from the USVIs and down the Old Banana Channel. (I am leaving my spell checkers name... )

Why you would deviate from that? Down wind, down current is your friend. A bathtub with yellow duck could make it in less than 10 days.



I would love to do it. Its been years since I had a nice run. All mine are upwind.
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Old 08-01-2016, 10:37   #9
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Re: Sailing route between the USVI to Key West - Best Route?

dat's what i said!!! It is a nice fast run, when you're not surfing.

Pilot charts for January show 10-20% chance of 12 foot waves, which is pretty much what we had when we went through 2 years ago.

pete
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Old 10-01-2016, 05:22   #10
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Re: Sailing route between the USVI to Key West - Best Route?

When it becomes easier to stop in Cuba on the way back...more routes maybe back to St Pete?
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Old 10-01-2016, 06:05   #11
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Re: Sailing route between the USVI to Key West - Best Route?

Quote:
.
I would love to do it. Its been years since I had a nice run. All mine are upwind.
Gentlemen never sail to windward
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Old 10-01-2016, 06:24   #12
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Re: Sailing route between the USVI to Key West - Best Route?

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Gentlemen never sail to windward
Hey! I resemble that remark!


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Old 10-01-2016, 08:26   #13
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Re: Sailing route between the USVI to Key West - Best Route?

Quote:
. Hey! I resemble that remark!
I know, hit the nail on the head..
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Old 16-01-2016, 07:55   #14
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Re: Sailing route between the USVI to Key West - Best Route?

We also plan to sail from Puerto Rico to Florida. My routing is currently laid out like this:

In March 2016
South coast PR from there to DR.

In April 2016
Skip Haiti (maybe Ile a Vache), through the windward passage to Great Inagua and from there in easy steps to Florida. Planned arrival Ft. Pierce end April

Any thoughts on this plan?
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Old 16-01-2016, 09:01   #15
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Re: Sailing route between the USVI to Key West - Best Route?

Because we are anticipating a "downhill" run, being much faster than the Thorny Path we took last year... we are heading straight through the Old Bahama Channel past Cay Sal and onward to the Keys. No stopping is anticipated, however if we do it will likely be Great Inagua. If we end up stopping we might wind our way through the Bahamas, or might not.

The Keys are a 980'ish nautical mile run... I'm thinking 8 days if we don't stop. It'd be nice to have one (maybe 2 additional crew) for the run. We're leaving within 8 or 9 days depending on favorable weather routing.

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Originally Posted by klaus53123 View Post
We also plan to sail from Puerto Rico to Florida. My routing is currently laid out like this:

In March 2016
South coast PR from there to DR.

In April 2016
Skip Haiti (maybe Ile a Vache), through the windward passage to Great Inagua and from there in easy steps to Florida. Planned arrival Ft. Pierce end April

Any thoughts on this plan?
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