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Old 05-08-2014, 22:39   #1
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Seeking advice for voyage to BVIs

Hi, I live in Miami, FL and am looking to take a trip from Miami to the British Virgin Islands. I own a 1983 Cruiser Beachcomber 20 ft with a relatively new Mercruiser 260 hp engine. If I picked the correct weather window and had all the necessary equipment, do you think I could make it to the British Virgin Islands and how would you suggest I do it? I would have a few other guys on board and we are all aware of the risks. Thanks!
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Old 06-08-2014, 06:03   #2
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Re: Seeking advice for voyage to BVIs

Yes you could do it. Nearly anything is possible. Your profile indicates you're an accountant. If so, you would soon realize that the time, wear and fuel cost is greater than putting your vessel on a cargo ship and sending it down here.

When are you considering attempting this voyage?


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Old 07-08-2014, 15:28   #3
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Seeking advice for voyage to BVIs

I agree. Its 1117 statute miles as the crow flies. How much will that be in fuel? If you went slow and there were floating gas stations on the way so you could travel directly, you could probably spend only $8,000 in gasoline etc. You can have it shipped on the Dockwise boat for about that. Furthermore, its too long of a journey for a weather window. They don't last that long


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Old 08-08-2014, 05:19   #4
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Re: Seeking advice for voyage to BVIs

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, adventurist.
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Old 08-08-2014, 05:59   #5
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Re: Seeking advice for voyage to BVIs

If you got real lucky and could average 10 kts, it would take 4 and a half days?
If your fuel burn was 3 gl an hour, you have to have 330 gl of fuel with no reserve,
Can you carry that much fuel on a 20' boat? Your going to have a few others with you, on a 20 ft boat?
What's the back-up plan for when the fuel pump or God knows what else quits?
Don't even think about Wx.

Sorry, I'm not trying to be mean, just when I read about this in the news, I don't want to think I was one of the guys that told you to it was do-able, because while it may be, it would be luck if you got away with it, and what's the benefit?
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:10   #6
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Re: Seeking advice for voyage to BVIs

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If you got real lucky and could average 10 kts, it would take 4 and a half days?
If your fuel burn was 3 gl an hour, you have to have 330 gl of fuel with no reserve,
Can you carry that much fuel on a 20' boat?
Based on friends with similar boats, this is way under estimating the fuel usage. I think he would be closer to 8-12 gallons per our but would cruise closer to 14-18 kts.

That being said, I would think the limited fuel capacity and storage space on a 20 foot power boat would mean you would have to travel like a sailboat. Hopping from island to island and planning weather windows for each major passage. So I would think that Bruce Van Sant's book, Passages South, the Thronless Path to Windward would be the place to start researching.
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Old 08-08-2014, 13:30   #7
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Re: Seeking advice for voyage to BVIs

I pulled the numbers out of my arse, point being now way can you carry that much fuel.
But 14 to 18 kts is based on sea state, a 20 ft boat isn't going to plane in anything over 2 ft, unless of course really long period.
My 21 ft boat burned 8 gl an hour at 20 kts, with it waves permitting of course you would run 20 kts, but waves no permitting, you were at 5 or so, hence the 10 kt average guess as I think there would be significant time you just couldn't plane without beating to boat to death.
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Old 08-08-2014, 14:04   #8
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Re: Seeking advice for voyage to BVIs

I suggest you island hop. Plan your route extensively based on fuel depots. As mentioned you wont be cruising at 30-35 all the time, but there will be periods if you pick your weather that you can I suppose. At your speeds your planning is different than most the sailors on this forum are used to. Often, in a good weather window, mornings are pretty flat. So if you plan on leaving at daybreak you can easily be to the next stop by noon. In 4 hours at even 25 mph can make 100 miles. You may burn 50 gallons in that time.
The travelers worst enemy is schedule... so if you don't have a set schedule I imagine it could be done... not that I'm encouraging it. Have a way of watching for the weather future, and have a set plan for distances, fuel stops, backup stops and plenty of spares for engine etc.
How much of a seaman are you? Fl.>Bahamas>Turks>DR>PR. etc
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Old 08-08-2014, 14:54   #9
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Re: Seeking advice for voyage to BVIs

I've never heard of a small power boat going out on the ocean a great distance without two engines and not have someone question their sanity. What happens if you have engine problems in 6' seas? You will probably be swamped. In fact, there is a high probability that will happen even under way.

I'll bet, if the Coast Guard got wind of this, they would stop you.

Having said all that, the only way to do this and have a fighting chance of success is to hop down the Bahamas, DR, PR and then the VI's.
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Old 08-08-2014, 17:16   #10
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Re: Seeking advice for voyage to BVIs

You should really think about all the things that could go wrong.
Boats sink. The seas can come up despite your"weather windows"
Are you taking a life raft?
You will either be really lucky or you will be met with tragedy.
Go down and charter a boat.
The open ocean is no place for a boat such as yours.
I am only saying this because their are some on this forum who live vicariously through others and may just tell you to follow your dream.
I am concerned that it may turn into a nightmare.


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Old 08-08-2014, 22:54   #11
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Re: Seeking advice for voyage to BVIs

Also consider living condtions on a small open boat. Where can you sleep, get out of the weather, cook, etc. Do you have a head? Can you take enough water, fuel, clothing, and all the other things you will need? Do you know what an EPIRB is?
Don't do it. But if you do, can I take a life insurance policy on you?
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:09   #12
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Re: Seeking advice for voyage to BVIs

A bit of checking will show you this guy is a pretty serious adventurer (on the deranged side of serious imho)
He has skateboarded across Australia, swum down some river in the USA for 1,000 miles and other irrelevant to life crap.

So I dont think he is going to listen to safety advice from a mob like us.

Further, no one here has Googled what a Beachcomber 22 foot is... So I supply the photo of a boat that goes by that name that looks fine to do the trip.



Also the logistics of the trip are just that, logistics. If I remember rightly Key West to Cuba is 65nms and theres a string of unfloating gas stations in a direct path to the BVIs.

Its not the "Thorny Path", its a fair run in a small boat by a goose who has survived swimming 1000 miles down the Missouri River in amongst a myriad of other adventures.




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Old 09-08-2014, 08:46   #13
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Re: Seeking advice for voyage to BVIs

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A bit of checking will show you this guy is a pretty serious adventurer (on the deranged side of serious imho)

Also the logistics of the trip are just that, logistics. If I remember rightly Key West to Cuba is 65nms and theres a string of unfloating gas stations in a direct path to the BVIs.
Your are right. I, at least, did not check out the boat or person. Thank you for correcting that error. My opinion has still not changed. All I see on that boat are big windows on a small boat. Anyone who has ever been caught in a storm or large seas will not have to ask, "What's with the concern over big windows?"

Going through the Old Bahama Channel is not a good idea. I've been through there before a number of times. The wind blows from the east/southeast and there is a current not to mention a lot of traffic. The coast of Cuba is not too inviting and the last time I checked, American citizens can't visit Cuba without some kind of special permission/license. So, if you go down the Old Bahama Channel your first stop might be Haiti. Good luck with that.

I still think going through the Bahamas and island hopping down to Great Inagua or the Turks and Caicos Islands for the jump to the Dominican Republic would be the best way to go if one is hell bent on doing this crazy stunt.
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:28   #14
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Re: Seeking advice for voyage to BVIs

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I still think going through the Bahamas and island hopping down to Great Inagua or the Turks and Caicos Islands for the jump to the Dominican Republic would be the best way to go if one is hell bent on doing this crazy stunt.
The windows can be fixed with good storm shutters, just screw some thick starboard sheets into the fibreglass.

Yes, you are provably right about the route, the longest deepwater passage is from T&C to Luperon at 135nms by my very quick look.
Fuel and administration would be much much easier too. And a better chance of getting internet to wait for a weather window.

Re: crazy stunt. Yes, I agree, if its just a matter of waiting for months in each location for a day in dead flat calm water what is the risk? Very low. But whats the value? Mind you, what was the value of skateboarding across Australia?
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Old 10-08-2014, 17:31   #15
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Re: Seeking advice for voyage to BVIs

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Hi, I live in Miami, FL and am looking to take a trip from Miami to the British Virgin Islands. I own a 1983 Cruiser Beachcomber 20 ft with a relatively new Mercruiser 260 hp engine. If I picked the correct weather window and had all the necessary equipment, do you think I could make it to the British Virgin Islands and how would you suggest I do it? I would have a few other guys on board and we are all aware of the risks. Thanks!

Ans :No
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