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Old 15-04-2007, 17:25   #1
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Too late to hit the carrib?

My boat has taken MUCH longer than expected to get finished for this cruising season.
I would like to know the opinion of the board as to when it is too late to head off to the Carrib, onto Aruba and then over to Guatemala for Hurricane season.
The boat is a Gemini Cat 30 feet completely retrofitted with all of the latest techy gadgets, new sails etc.
I am also looking to make contact with some long term cruisers in the Tampa /St Petes area to assists with my sail plan
Thanks
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Old 15-04-2007, 17:32   #2
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Not too late... The Caribe boats are heading north... you have keep a watch on the bow mate. Go for it! You have plenty of time... but since the weird hurricane season is predicted.... you never know.

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Old 15-04-2007, 18:27   #3
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Not too late at all . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ativa
My boat has taken MUCH longer than expected to get finished for this cruising season.
I would like to know the opinion of the board as to when it is too late to head off to the Carrib, onto Aruba and then over to Guatemala for Hurricane season.
The boat is a Gemini Cat 30 feet completely retrofitted with all of the latest techy gadgets, new sails etc.
I am also looking to make contact with some long term cruisers in the Tampa /St Petes area to assists with my sail plan
Thanks
. . . but a lot more information is necessary to make a meaningful recommendation to you.

For example:
- Are you planning a leisurely, meandering cruise down through the islands with no real target date for getting south of the hurricane belt?

- Or, do you plan to head for Aruba and not stop anywhere along the way?

- Do you carry insurance, or are you self-insured?

- If you get caught out in bad weather, are you confident that that is the vessel you want to be aboard when it catches you?

Assuming that you don't intend to just race to Aruba - which you could easily reach before hurricane season - but would like to cruise a bit as you make your way down there, you can do that. You just can't do a lot of it, or as much as you might like.

And if it were me, and I had made it to Aruba safely, I wouldn't come back up into harm's way by continuing on to Guatemala before the end of hurricane season. If you want to go to Central America, I would suggest you sit out hurricane season in Panama.

If you do carry insurance, your policy probably states that by some date certain (typically, June 1st) you must have the boat north of Cape Hatteras or south of a given line of lattitude. And if you're insured, does your insurance company know you intend to take the vessel that far outside of US waters, and have you gotten the additional coverage they will require to do so?

If you are self-insured, you're free to go where and when you want, but you should plan to be south of the hurricane belt well before you probably "need" to. Itineraries and sailing are pretty casual acquaintances, generally, since s**t happens, and the best laid plans can blow up in your face. If you suffer some major breaddown before you get far enough south, your vessel could be a sitting duck if the wait for repairs is inordinately long.

It sounds like your vessel has just come through some extensive refitting. If so, how confident are you that everything is shipshape and won't require additional "tweaking" before you're really ready to go?

And finally, while the small Gemini is an acceptable boat for coastal cruising, and island-hopping, it wouldn't be my first choice for a blue-water passage. If you are confident that it will satisfy your sailing needs safely, and can stand up to harsh conditions if you should get caught out, then don't let the calendar stop you. At least, not quite yet.

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Old 15-04-2007, 18:32   #4
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Ativa, We left Floriduh in April and headed for Mexico. Then south to Belize and Guatemala where we sat out the balance of the hurricane season and absolutely loved the place. Read the post from the link on my signature line to follow our progress. As long as you are south by the end of June you will probably be OK although there are no guarantees.
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Old 16-04-2007, 02:58   #5
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Oranjestad, Aruba is far enough South (12.31N x 70.02W) of the usual Hurricane Belt (12.40N) to be considered “safe” enough.
Given the distance (? 1500nm ?) & time-frame (? <30 days ?), I’d consider the sail South to be more like a delivery than a cruise.
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Old 16-04-2007, 09:57   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taojones
. . . but a lot more information is necessary to make a meaningful recommendation to you.

For example:
- Are you planning a leisurely, meandering cruise down through the islands with no real target date for getting south of the hurricane belt?

- Or, do you plan to head for Aruba and not stop anywhere along the way?

- Do you carry insurance, or are you self-insured?

- If you get caught out in bad weather, are you confident that that is the vessel you want to be aboard when it catches you?

TaoJones

Thank you for the response. The boat is insured and I have absolutly no schedule. I have the next nine months to cruise before I head back to work.
Like most sailors I do not go out in rough seas/bad weather, however I have been caught up in a few tough storms in a Gemini during the last hurrican season. I am by no means the most knowledgeable sailor in the world but I learn a little bit more every day.
I hope to get out in a week or less.
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Old 16-04-2007, 11:01   #7
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Your boat?

How familiar are you with your boat and all the new systems? Have fun and be SAFE!
Wilverine
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Old 16-04-2007, 11:46   #8
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Weather happens . . .

. . . and it happens everywhere. So while getting as far south as Aruba is generally considered pretty safe, hurricanes can track that far south, and have done so in the past: .Aruba - Island Projection - Climatology of Caribbean Hurricanes - 1851-2006

I would not even consider Guatemala as a safe place to idle through hurricane season. Sure, there may not be a single day where the wind blows over 15 kph there at any time in the upcoming hurricane season, but I wouldn't bet my life or my boat on it.

To my way of thinking, the tiny coastal area of Guatemala that abuts the Caribbean is like the small end of a funnel. Who wants to be trapped on a lee shore with a hurricane gathering strength somewhere in the Carribean and tracking west? It may not score a direct hit on Guatemala, but as it tracks closer, where are you going to run?

The old adage, in terms of hurricane season, is: "June, too soon. October, all over." Insurance companies, and the National Hurricane Center, tack on a margin of safety to that, and consider it to be the period from June 1 through November 30, but rough weather happens when it happens, where it happens, and rarely consults a calendar.

I'm curious as to what your insurance policy states in regard to where they do not cover your vessel during hurricane season. In other words, what do they define as the hurricane belt?

If you are confident you can get south of their defined southern limit, and you've gotten the additional insurance rider to cover you en route to and in that area, go for it! It sounds like a fun cruise to me, and with so many sailing north as you head south, it should be less crowded, as well.

Good luck!

TaoJones
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Old 17-04-2007, 05:25   #9
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No to late

We left the Chesapeake Middle bay area at the end of March and made it comfortablly to Bonaire before H season started. We motored down through the the ICW to Cape Fear and then popped out to go to charleston and then out again to Daytona. Through the Bahamas to PR and then to Bonaire.

We watched the weather and only moved when we were confident the weather was safe with a reasonable window. We never rushed but always were preapred to depart and planned many different fallouts. So if we had 2-3 days of good weather we would plan for a 2 day max trip. No matter where we were at we watched and planned the next leg and took advantage where possible. If the weather was good for the next week we looked to make 4-5 day jumps.

We did get to do some sight seeing, but not as much as most cruisers who have more time to linger. The other advantage was down the ICW we were the only boat. In the bahamas we passed a few headed the other way, but for the most part we rarely shared an anchorage as it didn't take long to pass the north bound boats.

We never went iffy weather, we didn't linger but we tried not to do anything stupid either. Always looked to maximize the jump to to get us closer to our goal not worrying if there was a town near by just a good anchorage.
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Old 18-04-2007, 10:08   #10
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We are headed that way. In georgetown at the moment. After the family islands regata we are off to luperon.
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