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Old 16-11-2011, 09:55   #1
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Thornless Path - Is it Possible ?

Our boat is in The Bahamas and we are considering taking her to Grenada this winter where we will store her over the summer. We were in Luperon three winters ago but were not ready to go further at that time so returned to The Bahamas. The first mate is concerned about the sailing and distance to Grenada. Can the sail to Grenada be thornless so to speak? The Bahamas is so safe it is hard to leave? How busy is the eastern Caribbean? The captain wants the challenge and excitement; however the first mate wants a thornless path? We do have Bruce Van Sant's book The Gentleman's Guide.
Thanks for your insight.
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Old 16-11-2011, 10:26   #2
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Re: Thornless Path - Is it Possible ?

Once you get to Puerto Rico from Samana DR, it's pretty much daysails. Overnight from grenada to Trini if you go there. So from Turks to Luperon and Samana to PR are the only overnighters that I remember. Piece of cake! You can go from no wind in the lee to 40 in the gaps between the islands!
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Old 16-11-2011, 10:53   #3
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Re: Thornless Path - Is it Possible ?

Along the north coast of the DR, they will all be night sails if you follow Bruce´s advice, ie. anchor up during the day while the trades roar through, and use those land breezes each night while hugging the coast. The authorities don´t want you leaving after 6 pm while Bruce wants you departing at about 11 pm. Nice little challenge for you there along with the bribes at each port.

If you ignore Bruce and just daysail, be prepared to head bang it all the way, baby!

We mostly followed Bruce´s advice earlier this year and always regretted it when we didn´t. The funniest thing is that he writes like an arrogant prick but he was always right! Ha ha!

Overnighter across the Mona, daysails through both Virgins. BVI to Sint Maarten is 90 odd miles to windward, not a daysail. (Last place I ever got seasick was that stretch to windward while delivering a cat to Sint Maarten about 12 years ago.)

A decade ago, we waited for a northerly to do our easting along the north coast of Cuba. Leaving the Abacos this year, we did the same with a northerly until the longtitude of Turks and Caicos and then as the wind went back to east, we turned and headed south. Next time I would like to try using the northerlies along the southern coast of Hispaniola - I suspect it would be better with the weather shore, more anchorages, less waves, etc. There is an online cruising guide somewhere about going east along the south coast of Haiti and the DR.

Good luck!
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Old 16-11-2011, 11:41   #4
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Re: Thornless Path - Is it Possible ?

A more precise reply:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
Can the sail to Grenada be thornless so to speak? The Bahamas is so safe it is hard to leave? How busy is the eastern Caribbean? The captain wants the challenge and excitement; however the first mate wants a thornless path? We do have Bruce Van Sant's book The Gentleman's Guide.
Thanks for your insight.
1. In practice, so to speak, it is not really thornless unless you have LOTS of patience and time. For us, it was worth it twice, but never again east of the BVIs. But we would do the BVIs again.

2. That is true for many cruisers. Not called Chicken Town for nothing!

3. "BUSY" is relative. I found it crazy pre-June this year, but others said it was quiet compared to pre-2008. There was ALWAYS space somewhere in each anchorage.

4. Those are the internal issues. Are they mutually exclusive? It seems so, but maybe the Captain would relish the intellectual navigational challenge of truly achieving the Thornless Path rather than the perceived "excitement" of a windward headbang?

5. All hail Bruce the Gentleman King! Ignore his advice at your peril and be prepared to suffer the consequences!

6. You´re welcome.
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Old 16-11-2011, 15:28   #5
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Re: Thornless Path - Is it Possible ?

After having dinner with Bruce on his boat the night before we left, we departed Luperon about 5pm (much to his consternation!) It was lumpy that night, but nothing huge, just heavy chop. After turning the East end of the island we started making good time. We just barely made it into Samana right after dark next day. (42 ft Catamaran) So I suppose in a smaller boat leaving pretty late would be appropriate so as to get there at daybreak or after.....10 hours later?
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Old 16-11-2011, 16:04   #6
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Re: Thornless Path - Is it Possible ?

"but never again east of the BVIs...."
Seems like the easy part to me!... the long hauls from Georgetown Bahama to Turks, Luperon, Samana, PR seemed like the hard part! To each his own perception I guess. At any rate, it's very doable.... nothing near as severe as sailing down either US coast!
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Old 16-11-2011, 20:40   #7
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Yeah, never again, but it is because we are over it, speaking culturally, not because of the windward bash!
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Old 16-11-2011, 21:53   #8
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Re: Thornless Path - Is it Possible ?

Yeah, the bahamas are my favorite, but I love the wild areas and snorkeling etc Culturally, further south was interesting to us. french isls, trini music, etc. great memories.
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Old 18-11-2011, 07:29   #9
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Suggesf you read "thinking man's guide to voyages south". You can get it free at www.freecruisingguide.com or through Amazon in Kindle form for a small fee.
Good sailing
Frank
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Old 19-11-2011, 14:12   #10
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Re: Thornless Path - Is it Possible ?

It is possible. We met Bruce at Boot Key and talked about his book, etc. Then we hopped to Georgetown and hung out, enjoying the friendship and waited for the weather. When a northly was forecast we sailed away, close reaching at a comfortable angle, (about 150 NM @ 24 hrs.) until the trades started filling in, then we beam reached into the west coast of PR.

We could have close reached to St. Maartens, but wanted to visit kinfolks in PR. After hanging out in Boqueron a while, we again waited a favorable forecast and left about midnight eastbound down the south coast of PR. Since we are a motor sailer and have 400 gallons of diesel fuel on board, we are willing to motor at 6.2 K regardless.

Then we did daysails all the way to the windwards, enjoying all the islands had to offer. After that windward work, it is mostly beam ream reaching each day to Grenada. Based on Ham Nets, we avoided St. Vincent, staying 5 miles off and crossing at night.

Grenada was pleasant. Try the callalou soup. Is Mr. Nimrod still greeting cruisers at the "Chin Up Tree"?

Wonderful memories!!! That is why our planned one year Caribbean cruise took three years.

Enjoy!

Tom & Bobbie aboard Satori.
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