After a rather uncomfortable experience on the first part of the thornless/thorny path and a long summer totally landlocked, I'm preparing for the run from the Turks and Caicos
to Puerto Rico.
We tried to go offshore
from Provo to the east coast
of PR about 5 months ago and were totally beat up by weather! My advice: Don't do it! If you want to go offshore start east in Florida
; no farther south than that. I ended up putting my sloop on the hard
in Provo and spending the summer (a pretty wimpy hurricane
season) in the Rockies.
Now some comments on the questions in this thread:
I found Chris Parker's book much easier to read but Van Sant still has a wealth of information. I was (more or less) planning to follow his route
until I read Frank's free guide. Now I'm seriously thinking of heading back west through the Windward Passage
and along the south coast of the DR. I have no personal experience in the DR but I know that the south coast of PR is a lot mellower than the north coast. I'm looking forward to better beaches and anchorages
I've spent hours and hours listening to Chris on the SSB
and he saved my butt when we were trying to beat East and hit squalls. (not literally, we weren't in real danger
but the discomfort factor was close to my limit) I agree, you need as much weather information as you can possibly get and you'll still make some mistakes
. But I'm going to subscribe to Chris' services...no question!
I'd be really interested in any reports from anyone who has sailed along the south coast of the DR. Not that I don't trust Frank, just that more information is always nice.
I'm not sure if I'll raise some ire with this comment, but noonsite has information on the new (now rescinded) laws on entering the DR and a few stories from other sailors.
While plugging various internet
sites here are a few weather sites...of course they don't work when you are offshore!
Storm Carib Caribbean Hurricane Network - stormCARIB.com - Local Reports on Tropical Systems threatening the Caribbean Islands
Wunderblog Wunder Blog : Weather Underground
Windfinder (a little harder to use but lots of information once you get used to it) Windfinder - Wind forecast maps
weather PassageWeather - Sailing Weather - Marine Weather Forecasts for Sailors and Adventurers
NWS (The standby!!) National Weather Service Marine Forecasts
I guess that's verbose enough for now! I'm just making up for months of not reading or writing here!