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Old 02-09-2010, 08:25   #1
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Thorny Path

I have a chance to sail a boat from Mobile to the BVI. I am planning to sail from Mobile on the rum line to Key West. From there I am not sure. I would love to see the islands in the chain. Especially the Turks. I would also like to see el Moro from the water in San Juan. I have lots of time and patience. I know they call this the thorny path but I don't know why. Could you guys shed some light and some specifics about the best route to take to sail the Thorny Path?
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:35   #2
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I know they call this the thorny path but I don't know why. Could you guys shed some light and some specifics about the best route to take to sail the Thorny Path?
It's called this because you're always going to weather. If you're going to take this route I suggest a copy of Bruce Van Sant's "The Gentleman's Guide To Passages South" would be very useful.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:35   #3
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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Ray.

The "Thorny Path" is over 1000 miles from the East Coast of the United States to the Virgin Islands via the Bahamas, and is mostly against the prevailing tradewinds (east to southeast) and ocean currents.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:40   #4
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it's not bad thru the bahamas, and turks to d.r. mostly day or overnite sailing. but going anywhere east of domincan republic hurts, steady 25-35 easterly tradewinds.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:44   #5
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Dunno your scheduled departure..... BUT this time of year I would not rhumb line sail anywhere in the Gulf or Caribbean if it were going to put me more than 24 hours from a hurricane hole! Just sayin'! I have made the trip to St Thomas in August once.... I'll never do it again.

But if you do go and have the time, there is a lot to see on the West Coast of Florida. Personally, I would go from Mobile to Cedar Key, then Tarpon Springs, Tampa Bay, Sarasota, Boca Grande, Ft Myers Beach, Marco Island, Shark River, Marathon (inside), then Key West. If you still have the time, cruise the Keys to Biscayne Bay, and hop to Bimini. Then either (again time permitting) North to Walker's via Grand Bahama, work your way down the Abacos and island hop to T&C, D.R., Puerto Rico then the Virgins.

I spent 6 weeks from KW to St Thomas on that route and still bypassed a lot of cool stuff.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:50   #6
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Being on a beat in 35 knots true is nasty. I like a challenge and all, but damn.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:51   #7
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I am leaving in January. The pilot chart seems to favor the rum line starting. I have thought about taking time to stop at the dry tortugas. Anyone been there. Then around the tip of FL to Key West if I need to or where? What is the best harbor to plan for the gulf stream crossing?
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:59   #8
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Which harbor in Bimini makes for a good overnight?
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:08   #9
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january is when the trades are most powerful .. also you have cold fronts thrown in to churn up the gulf and atlantic. if you make it to the exumas then slow down and enjoy the trip thru paradise.
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:12   #10
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Which harbor in Bimini makes for a good overnight?

If you're going to take the thorny path and start from KW no use going to Bimini or the Abacos! You're going way out of your way. Get onto the Bahamas Bank at South Riding Rock, then to NW Channel Light, to Nassau, clear in and then head south along the Exumas chain to Georgetown. There you can join all the other boats heading to the Caribbean. They have meetings and buddy up.
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:36   #11
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Great gouge.
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:37   #12
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I would only advise Bruce van Sant if you are a lawyer that can understand completely irrelevant combinations of information. It is chaos!
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:40   #13
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Could you confirm that route?
The rum line is via all the islands. The rumb line is the offshore route.
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Old 05-04-2011, 20:02   #14
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Re: Thorny Path

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it's not bad thru the bahamas, and turks to d.r. mostly day or overnite sailing. but going anywhere east of domincan republic hurts, steady 25-35 easterly tradewinds.
If he could wait until May, my understanding is that you'll get weather windows with light winds. However you have to be prepared to mostly motor sail east, not much sailing. But beats going to windward 25+ knots. NFW.
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Old 05-04-2011, 20:07   #15
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Re: Thorny Path

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I would only advise Bruce van Sant if you are a lawyer that can understand completely irrelevant combinations of information. It is chaos!
I'm not sure it's that bad, I think its best to read the second half first and return back to the random topics as they come up. The second half is more or less a cruising guide. I have 7th edition, not sure if much has change in the new edition(s).
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