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Old 23-08-2009, 16:52   #1
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St. Maarten > Europe

I found a very interesting vessel located at St Maarten. We are now in the first stage of getting information regarding this boat (45' Nicholson). The main obstacle is the long haul to Europe.
I have no experience with the weather and weather conditions in the W.I. but would like to profit from the advise of colleague-sailors who sail those waters.
What would be the best time to plan such an expedition? I have only North Atlantic pilots.
According experience, I sail on a regular basis from UK to South of France / Med area, passing gulf of Biscaya, Portugal and Spain.
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Old 23-08-2009, 17:07   #2
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(45' Nicholson) I sail on a regular basis from UK to South of France / Med area, passing gulf of Biscaya, Portugal and Spain.
Can a Nicholson 45 go up wind? Is it any good in light wind?
If so have a look at laying a course direct for Madera and Gibralter. That takes you south of the mid atlantic high.

If its UK you prolly want to go via Azores. That goes north of the high

April May June best months.

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Old 23-08-2009, 17:26   #3
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The Nicholson 45 is one of the last racing designs of Charles Nicholson, Camper & Nicholson. She is an early '70 s cold moulded sloop, with I believe very good upwind capacities.
I am not going to the UK but to France, so Madeira - Gibraltar will have my preference.

Thanks Mark
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Old 23-08-2009, 18:30   #4
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The Nicholson 45 is one of the last racing designs of Charles Nicholson, Camper & Nicholson. She is an early '70 s cold moulded sloop, with I believe very good upwind capacities.
I am not going to the UK but to France, so Madeira - Gibraltar will have my preference.

Thanks Mark
Then have a look at going direct. No one does it! I did a plot for it last year and assisted by a forum member here we worked out it is quite sailable.
Its one of those ones that people shy away from because the ages old route goes further north, but was designed for only square riggers.

If I remember correctly the milage saving from St Martin was about 900 nms! So quite a shorter route.

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Old 23-08-2009, 19:13   #5
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I was planning already to look into this possibility but I need just some pilot's to check the feasibility.
I still have plenty of time. The boat is on the hard stand and I am just starting the initial procedures. Luckily the agent of the owner is very cooperative. I have no idea if there is a big boat market for such maintainance-sensitive boats.
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Old 24-08-2009, 07:33   #6
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MacG,

The Pilot Charts are available here: Maritime Safety Information

Click on "Publications" in the menu and you'll find "Atlas of Pilot Charts" for the whole world.
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Old 24-08-2009, 08:11   #7
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Quite helpful, thank you. I got the already but somewhere hidden in my files.
Let'see now how proceedings will go and maybe L'll be off St Maarten sometime ....
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Old 24-08-2009, 12:25   #8
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@Phil

Phil please check your inbox - it is completely used and I tried now 2 times to send you a pm.
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Old 24-08-2009, 14:47   #9
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Sailed this route (via the Azores) 2007.

Timing - end of May, beginning of June.

1) it is not good enough to 'believe' she goes upwind (in both heavy and light airs) - you need to know if she does or does not, otherwise take some fuel, I say some but I mean a lot - you will re-fuell in the Azores, too,

2) it can be done direct - beware the pilot charts are statistics and they help you plan, but just do not stick to the plan - you will have to sail by whatever the weather in a particular year brings you,

3) if the High sits very, very S, then you will have to sail to the N of it,

4) but otherwise it is generally possible to start beating until the wind gets lighter, then tack below the High towards the Azores (actually S of the group) and then you catch up with the wind from the other half of the system and continue to Europe (N. Spain or Gibraltar),

5) but if you aim for England then you go N of the High pressure system,

We sailed a 26ft long keel design 30 days from the Guadeloupe to the Azores, on to Cascais (Portugal). All very easy except the first couple of days a bit on the windy side (beating into 20-25 knots of wind). Engine used only to charge the batteries. In a !good! 45 footer if the winds are OK you will have no problem going, direct or not.

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Old 28-08-2009, 17:04   #10
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- - A couple of years ago I was in St Maarten in April and there were quite a few boats getting ready to head back to Europe. It is 2250nm to the Azores and then another 800 to 1000nm to Europe depending upon where you want to coast in.
- - Some British friends made it to the Azores in 21 days which seems average but can vary a lot depending upon weather. That year that I was there in St Maarten the boats were buying up all the diesel gerry cans on the island. One boat had 37 gerry cans full of diesel lined up and down both sides of the sailboat. This particular year there was virtually no winds or seas on the direct route so folks were planning for having to motor the whole way once they cleared the trades.
- - In other years folks have headed almost due north up to the eastbound Gulfstream then east to the Azores. That may add a few days to a week to the trip. Key to the whole thing is having good weather routing enroute via SSB or access to fax charts and/or GRIB files underway so you can "chase the wind".
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Old 29-08-2009, 04:41   #11
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Grace to NOAA we have that sort of possibilities. I have a program called METEO 6 that covers the whole world and gives all the necessary info regarding windspeed, winddirection, waveheights etc.
It is operable through SSB and/or Internet.
Longest distance I sailed was 2000 nm with 3 stops in between.
This will be an entire new experience and probably the last long distance trip I will make.
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Old 13-10-2009, 08:50   #12
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Hi Mark,
I noticed that the Nicholson 45 is still offered for sale in St Maarten on yachtworld.com... any specific reason that you did not proceed buying it, and making the crossing?
Maarten
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Old 13-10-2009, 09:11   #13
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ARC Europe leaves in the Spring for Europe. They have a crew list which would help you finding experienced crew and you would travel as a fleet.The window is closed for an Eastern passage until next year.
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Old 13-10-2009, 09:21   #14
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The problem is that I have no further news from the owner's agents. The ship is nowhere to be found, according to there latest message.
There is no apparent contact with the owner, so I bide my time.
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Old 13-10-2009, 09:22   #15
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ARC Europe leaves in the Spring for Europe. They have a crew list which would help you finding experienced crew and you would travel as a fleet.The window is closed for an Eastern passage until next year.
Therefore I am not in a hurry......
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