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Old 18-08-2009, 07:56   #1
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St Croix to St Maarten Passage

We are planning on sailing from St Croix to St Maarten the first week in September and other then watching out for tropical storms and the "H" word, I was hoping to get some advice on this trek.
We have sailed to the BVIs and St John from St Croix, but have never made the passage to St Maarten. We have been told that it is best to sail to Anegada or Virgin Gorda and then sail down to St Maarten to try to get more of a reach out of NE winds. However, I looked at windforecasts for September and it indicates that winds typically come from the SE for that time of year, which would mean that we would be better off sailing directly from St Croix to St Marteen.
Has anyone made this passage or can anyone provide some advice and point me in the right direction (literally)
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Old 18-08-2009, 08:15   #2
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I have always done the Anegada Passage from Virgin Gorda and ended up having to fall off south to hold the wind. A couple of years ago while visiting friends in St. Croix we all decided to go direct to St Martin (French side). I was pleasantly surprised to find I could hold a wind line and make better time. Whole passage was only an hour more than my previous passages despite the route being 17nm longer. The rhumb line is 32 degrees less than the Virgin Gorda rhumb line. The difference meant I could sail at maximum speed versus having to fall off all the time at a much lower speed.
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Old 19-08-2009, 06:18   #3
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Thanks, for the info. Was it a rough trip (waves & wind), and about how long was the trip?
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Old 19-08-2009, 06:32   #4
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Just sail the best course to windward that points nearest to St Martin. There is usually a 1/2+ knot current from east to west. Had 5-6 ft seas last time we sailed to St Martin.

Since you are doing it in hurricane season you need to decide what you would do in St Martin if a storm came while you were there. I have 3 big anchors and lots of chain, rode and anti-chafe gear. Simpson Lagoon is more famous for the loss of 800+ boats in one storm than it is for its holding. I suspect that if you were anchored safely that all the semi-derelicts would break loose and destroy your boat

Hurricane Holes
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Old 19-08-2009, 07:55   #5
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From St Croix to Marigot, St Martin was 14 hours actual time. Here are some screen capture photos of the actual tracks including one from Virgin Gorda. The winds were from the southeast 10-15 kts and seas where virtually flat, maybe 1 to 3 feet. I always am willing to wait for a "perfect window" and then head out.
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Old 19-08-2009, 08:32   #6
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I've travelled from the BVIs to St. Maarten many times but never been able to lay the island on one tack. It usually takes us about 12 hours. At night, in season, there will be mutiple cruise ships and tankers along the route, going both ways to watch out for. The cruise ships are easy to see as they are all lit up. The current is slightly against you. I usually look for a good weather window with the wind more North than usual to make the trip. It can be rough particulary if the wind is more South.
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Old 19-08-2009, 09:34   #7
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If you are not in a time sensitive passage you will get a good wind and weather wind of 2 days at least once per month this time of year.
It usually comes the day after we arrive!!
More often it is just easier to motor into the wind and waves, soul destroying for your selves and your sails but it is either that or sail as close to the wind and put in a few tacks like real sailors(those without engine, or plenty of time to spare) do.
Good luck and say hi to Tamara at Ricks Place, by the Dutch bridge for us.
Mark n Lee SV Manatee
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Old 12-03-2011, 05:42   #8
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Re: St Croix to St Maarten Passage

I would like to do this passage, begining of April 2011 from virgin gorda, any advice or buddy boats welcome.
kat
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:01   #9
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Re: St Croix to St Maarten Passage

Last time we went from BVI to Sint Maarten, there was some north in the wind. We sailed north of Anegada, tacked and managed to sail the whole trip and lay the island.
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:03   #10
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Re: St Croix to St Maarten Passage

Usually a motor sail unless you are a purist. If you have time wait for the trades to get some north in them or at least wait for lighter winds.

If you start watching PassageWeather - Sailing Weather - Marine Weather Forecasts for Sailors and Adventurers you will see how the trades vary from advantageous to 'in your face'.

Enjoy
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:36   #11
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Re: St Croix to St Maarten Passage

Generally the trade winds drop off the last week of August.. although this has been fairly random the last two or three years.... However September is one of the calmest wind timeframes of the year... so you should be able to find a great weather window. Of course watch your Hurricane forecasts but there will be plenty of beautiful sailing days in Sept.
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:46   #12
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Re: St Croix to St Maarten Passage

september sounds great, but I've to be in trinadad before 1st June for insurance. Is it still safe there??????????????/
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:52   #13
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Re: St Croix to St Maarten Passage

Kat... they call the passage there the "I'm never gonna get there passage" instead of the Annegada passage.... If the trades are blowing and theres swell it can be some of the nastiest passages in the islands...... However.. if you can wait till theres a little north in the wind and not too much swell it can also be a beautiful sail.......I've had it go both was.. most beautiful sail and most scary..... If you are headding for trini.. just point off on a comfortable [point of sail down island and off you go.... Guadeloupe or MArtinique..... then south. I Wouldn't let my friends walk around Trini on their own.... Not too sure if I'd call it " safe".....!
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:58   #14
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Re: St Croix to St Maarten Passage

Trinidad is a place of mixed blessings. Safe from hurricanes but security is getting worse. Be sure to takes Jessie James's tours he is great. The turtle beach tour was one of our most marvelous experiences in 3 yrs of cruising!

The Caribbean Safety Net most recent

Shows 33 incidents in an 8 month period of 2010, mostly dinghies and engines.

We spent 3 months and Crews Inn 2-3 yrs ago and felt safe but the above report shows 5 incidents there with 2 forced entries.

There have been boat invasions at sea between Grenada and Trinidad. We did the trip well to the east of Venezuela and I am told by friends that they are now buddy boating for that leg.

We will NEVER return and we now pay an extra insurance premium and spend hurricane season in the ABC's. The extra $900 is money well spent.
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Old 12-03-2011, 07:01   #15
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Re: St Croix to St Maarten Passage

Did you mean safe like.... your boat wont get thrashed by hurricanes? Or safe like you wont get thrashed by muggers?
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