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Old 03-12-2011, 20:39   #46
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Re: Sailing to Puerto Rico from Florida ?

I came back from Peurto Rico 2 days ago on a large vessel, in the Keys now at Marathon, it's been blowing 40 knots for 3 days off shore, so don't bother for a bit !
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Old 11-12-2011, 06:43   #47
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Re: Sailing to Puerto Rico from Florida ?

I'm still having chart problems...my Raymarine chartplotter isn't working quite right and I'm afraid that my laptop is headed for a serious rebuild. But, if I'm not mistaken there are several other shoals near the Silver Banks and it'd be like threading a needle to get through there without crossing them. With wind and currents, my understanding is that they are going to be really rough, if not dangerous. If it was like the Caicos Banks, it'd be interesting to dink around and dive...but I've been in Puerto Rico for several years and it seems like the wind always blows around here. It is the Trades, after all.

We ended up navigating inside the Hourglass shoals (see Van Sant's book), which I think is counter to most sailing methods of getting from Samana to Boqueron. But we wanted the shortest time in the Mona and the run from Punta Cana to Boqueron is about as short as you can get. We ended up waiting in a marina in Punta Cana for several days for weather but eventually got SE winds, which allowed us to sail across rather than motoring. But the winds were pretty high...25 kt +

Our friends, who were about 6 hours ahead of us decided to take the more traditional Zig-zag tack across the Mona and hit pretty bad weather. They said it was one of the worst crossings they'd ever done and they had sailed from Europe to the New World. It's really a weather dependent trip!!

As for our successes along the North Coast of the DR...there were a few ports worth seeing, we skipped Luperon, but it was mostly a slog. And we didn't get the kind of katabatic wind that you are supposed to see. There is a problem with Van Sant's technique: You have to check in with the DR Marina de Guerra (Navy) at every place you anchor. They want to check your despacho from the last port and then they have to give you one for the next leg. They don't want to give you a despacho until the day you leave, i.e., after 8:00 AM. So you don't get to leave at 4:00 AM as recommended. But in many anchorages there were no Navy guys to report to so we just snuck in and out. I understand that there is a movement afoot to minimize or eliminate the despachos and accompanying bribes but I don't know what has happened.

Why would I take the Southern Route? Well, there are a few nice anchorages along the North but it's mostly a chore. I really liked Monte Cristi and might consider making an even longer trip by crossing from the TCI to Monte Cristi and then heading around the Windward Passage. My experience in Puerto Rico is that the North (Atlantic) coast is pretty rough while the South (Caribbean) is much mellower. I suspect that the DR will be similar. The weather seems to come out of the North and East. I think it would be a long run from the TCI to Ile a Vache so it'd be useful to have at least three people for the watches. Although there seems to be a bit of paranoia about sailing the coast of Haiti, I've not heard of any piracy if you stay a ways offshore. But, I haven't done a careful check.

Also, the Dominican National Park at Les Haitises (near Samana) is really outstanding. Samana is an interesting town but the port captain and local Navy were a pain in the neck when we were there. Perhaps they've been rotated out and new people are running things.

I guess I have an opinion that the southern coast would be more fun...no data though!

If you are in a hurry, then the offshore route to Fajardo, PR or the USVI is the way to go. But you'd better leave from the Central Bahamas or farther North or you're going to find it difficult to get the weather to sail East.

Just to reinforce what ausaviator noted. The winds and weather are everything on this trip. In the winter it tends to blow pretty hard so you need to pay attention to weather and be prepared for weeks of sitting and waiting. We waited in the TCI, then in Puerto Plata, then in Samana, and finally in Punta Cana.

I strongly recommend getting some weather service either internet or SSB.

Bill
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:26   #48
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Re: Sailing to Puerto Rico from Florida ?

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Would like to attempt this in Jan/Feb 2011 but don't seem much written about journeys to PR. The route guides are not very specific but it seems possible if not optimal but again the text is sparse and rather vague. Comments, advice, previous experiences sailing to PR?

(I did find one fascinating account of a double-handed voyage to PR from FL in 1978 in a home-built proa .....)

Thanks,
Some friends of ours took their boat from Tampa, to Puerto Rico, to the VI last Spring. Their story appears at Ocean Angel's Caribbean Adventure
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Old 11-12-2011, 09:30   #49
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Re: Sailing to Puerto Rico from Florida ?

Hello...I have completed this trip plus many more. I am a 100t captain with many nautical miles of experience. Please feel free to review my experience at captainpatty.com. Cheers and fair weather.
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Old 11-12-2011, 20:11   #50
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Wondering about security issues sailing near Haitian coast. Haiti's obviously not the most stable of countries, but that's nothing new.

Have there been specific sailing related issues reported lately, or just people being prudent and avoiding the unknown?

DH
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:55   #51
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Re: Sailing to Puerto Rico from Florida ?

To the best of my knowledge, there haven't been any reports of any issues sailing off the coast of Haiti, as a matter of fact I have a friend who has sailed there several times since the latest disaster and she has not had any problems. However, as sailors we frequently come into waters or sail the coastlines of countries in economical and political crises where people are starving and desperate, knowing this we need to be prudent in the perception we give off and just utilize common sense and either avoid these areas or proceed with caution sailing in tandem etc. Also, you can avoid the coast of Haiti completely en route to the Turks and Caicos from Puerto Rico or the DR
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:25   #52
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Re: Sailing to Puerto Rico from Florida ?

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. . . We ended up navigating inside the Hourglass shoals (see Van Sant's book), which I think is counter to most sailing methods of getting from Samana to Boqueron. But we wanted the shortest time in the Mona and the run from Punta Cana to Boqueron is about as short as you can get. We ended up waiting in a marina in Punta Cana for several days for weather but eventually got SE winds, which allowed us to sail across rather than motoring. But the winds were pretty high...25 kt + . . . Bill
There are two routes from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico - the sailboat direct crossing of the Mona Passage via a waypoint northeast of the Hourglass Shoals then southeast to Mayaguez/Boqueron. This usually involves an overnight passage. From Samana or Cabo Cabron it is about 140 nm or 24 hours at sea.

The other route is commonly known as the "power boat" route which runs the shoreline of the D.R. down to Cabo Engano and then south to Punta Cana resort/marina. From Punta Cana it is about 35 nm to Isla Mona and another 40 nm to Boqueron. Many powerboats and those who would rather avoid night crossings do the Punta Cana - Isla Mona - Boqueron route which can be done in daylight.
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Old 13-12-2011, 04:45   #53
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Re: Sailing to Puerto Rico from Florida ?

I did a quick check of piracy in the Caribbean and it seems there are no reports of problems off Haiti in the last year or so. But I also think that very few people cruise through that area. Fank Virgintino points out that you aren't that far from Guantanamo so in principle the US Navy is close by. It looks like, right now, the biggest problems are in St. Vincent.

I agree with Patty, even though I've spent a lot of time in Latin America, speak fluent Spanish, and I think I understand the culture, even in my funkiest T shirt and shorts I would not be mistaken for a native Caribbean islander on any of the islands. So, be tolerant and understanding (appreciative) of cultural differences. I've had great luck and found great people about 95% of the time...there are a few jerks everywhere.

Regarding crossing the Mona. We did it overnight from Cap Cana to Boqueron. As Osirissail points out it's about 75 nautical miles across but we weren't going to count on making perfect time because of currents and unfavorable winds. And I hate arriving at dusk or later and having to worry about holding etc. Boqueron is a pretty easy anchorage to get into and is pretty well protected. We'd never sailed in so we thought a morning arrival was a lot better. And...the Dominican Navy wasn't going to let us clear everything at 4:00 PM and leave at 4:00 AM so we left at about 1:00 PM and sailed overnight.

The departure from Cap Cana was the worst current I've sailed in (not that I have a huge amount of experience). We headed just about East, for Boqueron, and found our course over ground on the chart plotter was more like SE. At first I thought my gps/chart plotter was on the blink so we pulled out a couple of other gps's and sure enough, it was a fierce current heading south along the east coast of the DR. If we had just headed east, and if the current had continued we'd have missed Puerto Rico and ended up in St. Croix. It gave me a different respect for my gps and for having backup gps aboard. Fortunately the current only lasted for an hour and a half (7 or 8 miles) or so.
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Old 19-12-2011, 13:31   #54
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Re: Sailing to Puerto Rico from Florida ?

Hello,

I hold a 100 ton Master license and am available for deliveries. Please feel free to visit my website for more information about me and my experience. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call.

Fair Winds,
Captain Patty
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