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Old 26-01-2011, 20:22   #31
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The Marina Zar-Spar/Frank Virgintino route is about 640 nm from Great Inagua to Boqueron, P.R. The north shore "normal" route is 340 nm from T.C. to Luperon to Boqueron, P.R.
- - The north shore route is about (at 6 kts) 16hours to Luperon and 42 hours non-stop to Boqueron or 22 hours to Samana, D.R. and another 24 hrs to Boqueron.
- - The route down the windward passage is not without some rough waters just like crossing the Mona Passage can be if you do not wait for a good weather window. Then you have the security problems of traveling along Haiti.
- - Either north or south coasts, the D.R. is not cruiser friendly except at specific designated ports of entry. You can expect to be hassled for bribes and pay-offs at each place you want to stop other than the official ports of entry (and even sometimes there also). The intermediate stops can get expensive and challenging as charts do not exist other than VanSants and Wavey Line Charts.
- - However, the cruisers from Central America almost always sail east to the Caymans or Jamaica and then skirt the south coast of Haiti/D.R. to get to Puerto Rico as the distance is much shorter and the islands of Cuba and Haiti/D.R. do offer some "lee" shore effect on both winds and waves - but not always. There is no guarantees when dealing with Mother Nature. It your call . . .
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Old 27-01-2011, 10:14   #32
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Thanks Osiris,

Between the much longer distance and the security problems I am convinced to take the 'usual' way. No sense re-inventing the wheel.

If I read you correctly, you are suggesting T&C to Boqueron in two long non-stop sails. Either T&C to Luperon then to PR, or T&C to Samana then to PR. This sounds fine, except then how do you manage the 'sail at night using the night lee' scenario? I'm having trouble seeing it - just dense I guess, and a noobie. I will have crew with me so can do the non-stop OK, but what do you do for the daylight hours instead of going head on to wind?

Margo
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Old 27-01-2011, 10:55   #33
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We made a 5 day passage from Georgetown Bahamas, non stop, straight to Boquerone PR, by heading out for 3 days and down for 2. It was in a bit of a front at first, and we got slapped around a bit, but by the third day, it was behind us and life was good again. It is a rough passage, but totally doable!
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Old 27-01-2011, 11:01   #34
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I seriously considered that route a little over a year ago. For a variety of reasons we chose the VanSant route and it wasn't all that easy!! If I had to do it again, I'd take the south coast.

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Old 28-01-2011, 09:01   #35
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No matter how you look at it the routes from the Bahamas to Puerto Rico are no fun. Unless you have some serious good karma with Mother Nature you are in for some serious crashing and bashing.
- - Mark Johnson, above, did what sounds like a modified "I-66" route that involves getting your easting while north of the trade winds using cold fronts to depress the easterlies as much as possible. But once you get south of Long Island, Bahamas you are into the Trades and additionally you have the problems of the islands and Banks north of the D.R.
- - The most used route is to work your way to Mayaguana, the eastern most island of the Bahamas - Abraham Bay - and check out. Then hole up there for weather to cross to Provo in the Turks and Caicos. Check-in and out of the T&C at Provo and depending upon your weather forecasts position yourself at Long Cay on the eastern edge of the Caicos Banks. *** Be sure to have the "Wavey Line" charts, either digital or paper for crossing the Caicos banks. They are available at the Caicos Marina Shipyard just east of Provo.***
- - From Long Cay you have two options for two destinations. If the weather is reasonable you can move southeast to Great Sand Cay in the Turks and get ready to the crossing on one of the worst stretches of water in the Caribbean. Luckily you will be heading south, beam to the winds and waves, but still unless you are seriously lucky it will be a tough crossing. However it is only 74 nm at a course of about 177 degrees to Luperon/Ocean World, Puerto Plata. Or you can depart from Long Cay for Great Sand Cay, but not stop there and instead continue on. It is all in the timing.
- - You want to arrive off the coast of the D.R. between 07:00 and 09:00. DO NOT attempt to enter Luperon before sunrise. There are no reliable navigational markers and reefs on both side of the entrance. Along with the reefs it is common for the local fisherman to string nets across the entrance channel to catch the fish on an incoming tide. They don't take the nets down until sunrise. I have seen them actually doing this once when I arrived before sunrise and spent an hour orbiting outside the entrance until the sun came up.
- - So anyway you time your departure from Long Cay or Great Sand Cay to get you to the D.R. just after sunrise. Wavey Line has a paper chart of Luperon and other D.R. harbors - or you can PM me with an email address and I will send you my own Luperon Info/Chart file.
- - As an alternative to Luperon you can proceed east after making landfall to Ocean World Marina just west of Puerto Plata. This will add about an extra hour to the crossing.
- - The idea of the Luperon or Ocean World stop is only to wait in a protected harbor for the next weather window east. This may occur in a couple of days or several weeks, it is all up to Mother Nature. But while in Luperon there is plenty to occupy yourself with the major ex-pat community and exploration of the D.R. In fact, it sometimes occurs that cruisers will pass up a weather window because there are too many fun activities to do in the D.R.
- - Another option I have never heard used is to depart Long Cay/Great Sand Cay to arrive off Luperon/Puerto Plats area just at sunset and then turn east and press onward using the Van Sant "night effect" to make your way east to Samana or on to Puerto Rico.
- - From Luperon/OceanWorld there is also two options - one is a non-stop to Puerto Rico of about 254 nm or 42 hours at 6 kts and the other is to stop in Samana, D.R. at the eastern end of the island. That leg is 131 nm /22 hours. Usually and as a good practice you always clear-out from Luperon or Ocean World for Samana, D.R. Never clear out for Puerto Rico even if you have a near perfect opportunity to go non-stop. The reason is after you "clear-out" of the D.R. if for some reason, mechanical or weather, you have to stop at Samana you will have to clear-in again as if you were never in the D.R. which is not cheap.
- - Part 2 in the following post . . . .
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Old 28-01-2011, 09:06   #36
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Part 2 - Bahamas to Puerto Rico
- - There is also a lot to do and see in Samana, D.R. It is a nice little town and southwest across the Bahia de Samana is the national park Los Haitses - which is jungle of magnificent variety. I have never heard anybody say anything but raves about the park.
- - From Samana, you would clear for Puerto Rico and sail the 145nm to Boqueron/Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. Normally that takes about 24 hours at 6 kts. But be sure to plot a dog leg from Samana to a waypoint at about N18 - 40.00' W067 - 55.00 before turning southeast for Boqueron/Mayaguez. This will keep you north of the Hourglass Shoal and in good waters. Crossing the Hourglass Shoals will get you into monstrous standing confused seas as the major westerly currents hook south through the Mona Passage and impact a near vertical wall known as the Hourglass Shoal. That is one nasty place.
- - Both legs - the one from Luperon and the one from Samana are done at night to take advantage of Van Sants well described "night lee effect" where the night winds counteract the trades close to the D.R. shoreline. That works out fine as you leave Luperon before the sun sets so you can see your way out of the harbor and then run the coast line east to Cabo Cabron/Cabo Samana. That is your decision point whether to continue on directly to Puerto Rico or divert south into Samana Bay and Samana. The same thing, sort of, for Samana to Puerto Rico. The Van Sant idea - which works - is to transit the mid-waypoint given above at about midnight so as to avoid storms rolling west off Puerto Rico and then turn southeast to Puerto on the eastern side of the storms. If you go non-stop it pretty much works out that you hit both places at the proper hour of the day.
- - On the route from Luperon/Ocean World east everything works great by staying a mile or two off the coast until you get to Cabo Fraces Vejo and have to decide to spend an extra hour or so following the coastline down into Bahia Escocesa or just grit your teeth, hang on, and blast straight across Bahia Ecocesa for Cabo Cabron. I normally grit my teeth and go direct.
- - I humorously tell cruisers comtemplating the Bahamas to Puerto Rico's east coast passages that by the time they make it to Point Tuna on the southeast end of Puerto Rico and turn northeast into the Virgins, they have now earned their official - "I am a real cruiser" mythical badge. That is some of the toughest waters primarily as you are crashing and bashing dead into the trade winds and waves/current. Van Sant and others advocate taking the abuse in "small chunks" with stops here and there along the way rather than doing it all in one bite. It all depends upon your boat and your stamina for abuse. Out of more than 6 crossing of the Mona, I have smashed and bashed on one and thereafter waited for a good weather window and leisurely motor-sailed across in 1 to 3 ft seas. That give me time to stop, enjoy the places and then press on after being refreshed.
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Old 02-12-2011, 16:58   #37
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Re: Sailing to Puerto Rico from Florida ?

I know this is an old post, but I have a question about sailing from Salt Cay in the Turks & Caicos to Samana on east coast of Dominca Republic. Osirissail gives different options for making this passage, but they involve heading south to D.R.'s north coast, then heading east along the coast. Would it not be reasonable to wait for a NE wind, then sail a rhumb line (about 133 deg) directly to Samana (about 170 nautical miles). Averaging 7 knots, this makes it a 24 hour motorsail on a close reach. It seems easy, so I must be missing something. I'd much prefer to find the flaw by reading about it here rather than figuring it out midway through the passage.
Thanks for help.
Tom
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Old 02-12-2011, 20:52   #38
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Re: Sailing to Puerto Rico from Florida ?

Assuming you have a sailboat or an average powerboat, heading direct from the Turks & Caicos (Long Cay or Great Sand Cay) to Samana would be like trying to swim up the Columbia River with the salmon. There is a major westbound current running along the north coasts of Puerto Rico; the Dominican Rapublic; and eastern Cuba. It joins up with the eastbound current from the western end of Cuba and turns north as the Gulf Stream.

- - Add in the prevailing easterly trade winds and you are bucking both wind and current. The best description is in Bruce Van Sant's "Gentlemen's Passage South" or his "Secrets of the Trades."

- - The idea of both the Luperon to Samana or Boqueron and the non-stop from Great Sand Cay to Samana or Boqueron is to take advantage of the "Lee Effect" that occurs at night along the north shore of the Dominican Republic. The offshore breezes at night from the land force down the trade winds or at least push them a little further offshore. You then take advantage of this by running the Dominican
Republic shoreline a mile to five offshore. In essence you are "hiding" under the offshore breezes.

- - But this works best when the trades and seas are minimal or below 10 kts and 3 to 4 feet. Anything more powerful and the offshore breezes do not have much effect.

- - In the winter to spring, cold fronts roll off the southeast USA about every week. As they move eastward they also suppress the tradewinds. And about every 5th front really does a great job and there are some really good opportunities to head eastward with minimal crashing and bashing.

- - If you have a really large yacht (sail or motor) - say 100 foot plus then you can pretty much punch you way whichever way you want.
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Old 02-12-2011, 23:07   #39
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Re: Sailing to Puerto Rico from Florida ?

Thanks Osirissail
The boat is a 39 ft bene, not a superyacht, so I must respect the wind and currents. The pilot charts for March show a 0.6 knot current set from Samana toward T&Cs. This would be manageable as far as boat speed, provided I could catch a NE wind for 24+ hrs. On paper, the direct run to Samana seems to offer advantages compared to a multi day run along D.R.s inhospitable lee shore.

I'm sure you are correct in discouraging the Rhumb line course, as I cannot find any references to this passage on the web. Still, if anyone has made this passage, I would like to hear about their experience.
Best,
Tom
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Old 03-12-2011, 07:07   #40
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Re: Sailing to Puerto Rico from Florida ?

I do not want to discourage you from attempting a direct run. It has happened that the conditions might be perfect for such a run. But on average, it is a rare event. I would suggest that you keep a "Plan B" in mind which you can switch to if you find the direct southeast route nasty or too much for your tastes.

- - I have done the route enough times to have seen everything from near calm to quite nasty. The "quite nasty" seems to be more prevalent. And that may be a situation of "relativity." That is, most folks coming down first time have not experienced big rolling seas. Their experiences have been in the Bahamas, island skipping in not so nasty conditions, at least not for long periods of time.

- - After the first several times punching my way east, I shifted my tactics to waiting for that elusive combination of cold front and trade winds and crossed from Luperon to Puerto Rico in near flat conditions. In my book, boring is wonderful.

- - Generally you will see the Caribbean winds varying from ENE to ESE with the seasons. Unless a cold front is passing, you can bet on winds from the east. I have seen more southeast to south winds with a frontal passage than northeast or north. Remember the winds in front of a cold front blow "up" or northward while the winds behind the front blow "down" or southward. So you would probably only see Northeast winds just after the frontal passage and for a very short period of time. Also remember that a sailboat's forward motion "pulls" the apparent wind towards the bow. So a northeast wind becomes an east wind when the boat is moving well.

- - But never say never, as Mother Nature does what Mother Nature wants to do, not what our books and computer models think she should do.
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Old 03-12-2011, 07:58   #41
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Re: Sailing to Puerto Rico from Florida ?

I have already mentioned my "straight east for 3, down for 2 route" from Georgetown Bahamas, should you decide to try it. I am not wired for the long Bruce V. route... BTW, If the winds are high and swells large when sailing in the Mona, sail around the underwater mountain tops, not over them. This mistake was our closest call yet!

From Boquerone, it is all mostly easy day hops and interesting stop overs, along the P.R. south coast. Some, not to be missed. We spent 2 nice weeks in La Paguera, and could spend months in Culebra.

Enjoy,

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Old 03-12-2011, 11:15   #42
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Re: Sailing to Puerto Rico from Florida ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Johnson View Post
interesting stop overs, along the P.R. south coast. Some, not to be missed. We spent 2 nice weeks in La Paguera, and could spend months in Culebra.
Ah, the breakfast ritual at the Dinghy Dock Restaurant :-) I miss it

ciao!
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Old 03-12-2011, 15:32   #43
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Re: Sailing to Puerto Rico from Florida ?

I'm not in a good place to look at charts right now but if I remember there are a bunch of shallows (Silver Banks, etc.) on the rhumb line to Boqueron from the TCI. I was warned not to try to cross them because the currents and winds over the shallow areas can produce really ugly seas. Also, on the route from Samana to Boqueron you have to beware of a shallow area on the east coast of the DR. It's in Van Sant's book. We ended up taking the route from Samana to Punta Cana and having to wait in Punta Cana for weather. Then we crossed the Mona expecting about 18-10 kt out of the South or Southeast. In fact I doubt if the winds ever got below 20 but at least they were mostly southerly so we could sail and didn't have to motor all the way across.
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Old 03-12-2011, 16:44   #44
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Re: Sailing to Puerto Rico from Florida ?

Bill E,
My earlier reference to Rhumb line was for the "shortest" route from TCI to Samana, not all the way to Boqueron. So I'm wondering where the shallows are that you refer to, and whether they would get in my way. I don't have any charts to refer to, but google earth does show some 'interesting' shadows on my desired route.
BTW, I have studied your postings on your eastward passage along DR's N. Coast. It looks like you did it successfully in short hops, which I found encouraging. But then you said you'd consider the much longer southern route for future trips, which set off warning bells and prompted my investigation of the 'rhumb line route'.
Thanks Bill, Osirissail, and Mark for the great information.
Tom
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Old 03-12-2011, 19:23   #45
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Re: Sailing to Puerto Rico from Florida ?

Definitely check the Silver Banks and stay out of there. It's littered with Spanish wrecks though so in calm weather you can hunt for treasure there :-)
In not so calm weather it can change to one big area filled with huge breakers.

Also, watch the Hourglass Shoal in the Mona Passage. Do not even go near it. We sailed through Tropical Storm Claudette on the Mona Passage in 2003... it was lively.

cheers,
Nick.
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