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Old 07-05-2014, 13:17   #1
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Sailing Routes from Grenada to Chesapeake Bay

Sadly, my copy of Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes is aboard Beausoleil in Grenada, and I'm in North Carolina. Before I run down to the local library, I thought I'd do a sanity check here for thoughts on a preferred route to deliver her from Grenada to either NC or Chesapeake Bay. I'd like to do it before mid-July.

What's the preferred routing? We could run from Grenada, past Puerto Rico, and paralleling Bahamas, but - depending on wx, of course - should we plan on staying on that rough course and hitting the Gulf Stream off of Georgia, or cut it short and sail north from the Abacos towards Cape Hatteras.

Plugging the numbers into Coastal Explorer and figuring a 1.5kn boost in the Gulf Stream still shows the boost doesn't make up for the additional 150 nm added to that longer route. Another option is to head to the Old Bahamas Channel and sail up west of the Bahamas Bank, picking up a boost from the current there and the Gulf Stream for a longer period, but again that's about 150 nm more than route 2, and almost 400 nm more than the direct route 1.

Any pointers from those who've done it before?
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Old 07-05-2014, 15:25   #2
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Re: Sailing Routes from Grenada to Chesapeake Bay

Jon,
I've done Bonaire to Bahamas/Florida before, and many, many other "Carib to US" (and vice versa) over the years....(and I can read a chart...

My "preferred" delivery route is simply the rhumb line (give or take, depending on wind/weather)...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beausoleil View Post
I thought I'd do a sanity check here for thoughts on a preferred route to deliver her from Grenada to either NC or Chesapeake Bay. I'd like to do it before mid-July.
I don't have Coastal Explorer (I use paper charts as my primary and Navionics in my Raymarine E-series plotters as secondary), but this is about 1500 - 1700nm (depending on where your exact final destination will be), and the Rhumb Line route will take you east of Puerto Rico and onto North Carolina or the Chesapeake....
Actually you'd sail past St. Croix (which side you pass on is up to you), and pass west of St. Thomas (between St. Thomas and Culebra), and then onto NC or the Cpk...

If you were heading to Florida (or the Bahamas) then the "preferred" delivery route would be different, but there is no upside in heading WEST to pick up a bit more current, just to then head EAST....

BTW, summertime currents don't move around as much as they do at other times of the year, so you may get lucky and find NW'erly and Northerly setting currents (1/2 knot or so) between 20*N and 32*N (which can help your VMG a little bit, for part of your passage)

The reason to deviate from this route (in my opinion) would be weather conditions and/or need to put into port sooner due to mechanical/medical issues...



FYI, July can be a month with some "tropical" development which can pop up rather quickly (unlike the Cape Verde storms, these can form fairly close-to-home), so keep an eye out for any tropical developments before your departure as well as during your passage...



Jon, I hope this helps....

Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 07-05-2014, 15:41   #3
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Re: Sailing Routes from Grenada to Chesapeake Bay

I've sailed the Old Bahamas Channel a number of times on deliveries. You would be going way out of your way if you're going to North Carolina. The best way to do it is aim straight for your destination. The downside, once out of the Caribbean, is no place to duck in out of weather until the Bahamas, and even then you will be far from those islands.

July is not a good time to do that trip; although you might get lucky and avoid bad weather.

By the way, if you stop in the Bahamas, it costs you $300 to clear.

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Old 09-05-2014, 07:46   #4
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Re: Sailing Routes from Grenada to Chesapeake Bay

Yeah, CaptTL, I'm trying to avoid having to stop in the Bahamas, since this isn't a pleasure cruise... We have lot's of good memories cruising the Bahamas, and I could always use the $300 for something else.

John on Annie Laurie - I've plotted several routes, and the two preferred ones so far have us on the rhumb line until we get to the VI's, then veering west a bit to keep in the favorable currents for a while longer. And since a Formosa is much better sailing downwind, I'm thinking prevailing winds would favor that approach as well.

The plan is to leave before the end of June, so hopefully we'll be ahead of any tropical disturbances forming out there. I'll have to begin monitoring the WX forecasts...

All our paper charts are on the boat, as well as the chartplotters, so laptop charting here at home is the easiest choice.

I could always leave the boat in Florida, and sail it up to NC later. Choices, choices...
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Old 09-05-2014, 07:54   #5
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pirate Re: Sailing Routes from Grenada to Chesapeake Bay

I'd run up to SMX and jump off from there.. ESE winds.. the Stream pushing you WNW... but then I'd be looking for a fast run.. not piddling around the Islands..
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:24   #6
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Re: Sailing Routes from Grenada to Chesapeake Bay

You MUST leave well before the end of June. Yu want to be i Chesapeake by the end of June. Thats what Cornel says. Or you may get a neat little hurricane up your butt.

The route non-stop is well east of the Bahamas.

Just draw a straight line from Grenada to just outboard of Chesapeake.

As Phil says you could stop in St Martin, but I don't see why you would. I would just provision properly in IGA at Spiceland Mall and then just run straight through.

You opt out points at St Martin and BVIs, but SXM is much cheaper to clear into if you break something.

Its not far, 1,600nms, so 2 weeks max unless you sail a brick.
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Old 09-05-2014, 16:22   #7
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Re: Sailing Routes from Grenada to Chesapeake Bay

Jon,
As I wrote earlier, you'll need to keep an eye on "tropical" weather..
Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
FYI, July can be a month with some "tropical" development which can pop up rather quickly (unlike the Cape Verde storms, these can form fairly close-to-home), so keep an eye out for any tropical developments before your departure as well as during your passage..
And, I'd like to expand on that a bit....as there are some unnecessary "alarmist" attitudes out there...
And with myself having grown-up in Florida and cruising the Bahamas and Central and Eastern Caribbean DURING hurricane season, and sailing/cruising to/from Bahamas and Caribbean DURING hurricane season...as well as marine weather in general, and tropical weather in particular, being a forte of mine (as an amateur), and with my personal experience with being on-board (at anchor) during three Cat 3 Hurricanes in the past 10 years, as well as sailing thru TS Olga (in gale conditions) for 3 days, etc. etc.....I'd like point out some facts and add some helpful hints...




I usually agree with 'ya Mark....but not here...
Quote:
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You MUST leave well before the end of June. Yu want to be i Chesapeake by the end of June. Thats what Cornel says. Or you may get a neat little hurricane up your butt.
That may be what Jimmy writes in his book.
But, this should NOT be a "MUST", rather it should be a "recommendation"...

My primary source for "tropical weather" (Tropical Storms and Hurricanes), is the US National Hurricane Center, part of the US National Weather Service / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration....and all info/charts/graphs I'll post here are from them...

1) In the Atlantic Basin, in July, on "average" we have one "named storm" (either "tropical storm" or "hurricane"), every one to two years...

2) In the Atlantic Basin, historically since 1966, the average date of the first "named tropical storm" is July 9th, with the first "named storm of hurricane strength" occurring by Aug 10th...




3) The US National Hurricane Center will issue its 2014 Hurricane season outlook in the next week or two....but both Univ of Colo and WSI/Weather Channel have already issued their outlook, predicting a slightly quieter season than normal, with slightly below average numbers...

4) BUT...
But, nasty Hurricanes CAN develop and wreak havoc in July!!!
In recent years...
Hurricane Dennis formed in the Gulf of Mexico, on July 10, 2005, and strengthened to wind speeds of 145mph...
Hurricane Emily formed south of Jamaica on July 19, 2005, and strengthened to winds of 160mph...
Hurricane Bertha formed SE of Bermuda on July 8, 2008, strengthened to winds of 120mph...
And, another Hurricane Bertha formed just north of the Dominican republic on July 9, 1996, and strengthened to winds of 115mph...

And, there are other weaker storms that have formed in these areas in July, over the years....
Which is why I mentioned that you should keep an eye out for "tropical weather"...


5) Here are some formation origins for Atlantic Basin tropical storms and hurricanes, that time of year...
















6) In 2013, the US NHC experimented with a "5-day tropical outlook"....and have decided to implement this officially as operational in 2014...
Quote:
During the 2013 hurricane season, NHC extended the time period covered in the Tropical Weather Outlook text product (TWO) to 5 days on an experimental basis. This year, the experimental 5-day TWO forecasts become operational, and the form of the TWO will change slightly. In addition, NHC will introduce an experimental corresponding 5-day Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook (GTWO) to accompany the text product.
The new 5-day GTWO, available for both the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific basins
beginning July 1, will indicate the formation potential of individual disturbances during the
Quote:

next 5 days.

This will give everyone a much better idea of what might be developing....as in years past, we used to get just a "48-hour outlook", and then we'd have to look closely at the 96-hour charts (with a 120-hour forecast) to see what might be forming in the future....
But, since last year, we now get a "5-day outlook"!!


7) FYI, if you're interested in the "accuracy" of the US NHC Hurricane track and intensity forecasts.....they are getting much better!!
Typical track errors for up to 72 hours are very small, and should be heeded....
Track errors out to day 4 and day 5, are a bit larger...but still getting better every year!! (the day 4 "probability cone" is now only 170 nm across, and the day 5 "probability cone" is 226nm)

Have a look at these charts, for the details...







Last 5 years:











So, to sum up....
You CAN sail in the Caribbean and Bahamas, and to/from the Caribbean and the US in July....
But, you should really be monitoring tropical weather development!!

I recommend listening to the US NWS/NOAA Offshore Marine Weather Forecasts, which are supplied by the US Tropical Prediction Center at the NHC....

You have access to these 4 times each day (as well as more often when tropical weather has developed), from the USCG HF Broadcasts....for FREE...

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/hfvoice.htm



I hope this helps...

Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 14-05-2014, 10:30   #8
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Re: Sailing Routes from Grenada to Chesapeake Bay

Hey Jon, however you get there, if you get to the Chesapeake, look us up. We are presently in Southport, Cape Fear. Will probably be moving north to the Chesapeake in early June.
Kirk & Donna
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