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Old 04-11-2013, 10:46   #1
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USVI to Dominica

Good day all,

Is it feasible to sail directly to Dominica from the USVI? I assume Dominica to USVI is not a problem and can be done with almost any seasonal variation of the trade wind's direction. What would be the best island to leave from, St. Thomas or St. Croix? What is a ballpark estimate of the time required to make this passage? Anything to be particularly concerned about other than avoiding passage during hurricane season?

The reason I ask is because I am at a point in life where I need to make some serious decisions. I am really torn between buying a boat capable of circumnavigations and setting out for 3-5 years with my wife and son to see the world. Or buying some land in Dominica and building a small bed breakfast/organic farm. Th latter option would mean spending most of our time on Dominica. But also would have a sailboat capable of going back and forth from USVI to boost the kitty as well as explore, surf, kite, dive other Caribbean islands. I am aware that Dominica is not the ideal place to keep a boat during hurricane season so would need to consider relocating to ABC islands or hurricane holes on Guadeloupe or Martinique.

Its really a tough choice. I want to see all the places I haven't been to yet- preferably by boat, and give my three year old son the ultimate nautical experience. We would be surfing, kiteboarding, freediving, and paddleboarding around the world which combined with sailing, would be an awesome adventure. But there is also a part of me that wants a little slice of paradise somewhere on this earth to call home and build something like is seen on Unfortunately being only 32, my finances are such that I cannot do both.

Any input on these ideas is greatly appreciated and will be taken with an open mind.

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Old 04-11-2013, 11:24   #2
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Re: USVI to Dominica

There is The rive Sale' in Guadeloupe and English harbor in Antigua in between.

Maybe a Trailerable Catamaran?

Good luck.

Frimi Captain
Tom Bodine
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Old 04-11-2013, 14:20   #3
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Re: USVI to Dominica

Sailing south to Dominica (and islands beyond) is a very common and enjoyable cruising route that I have done many times. If you island hopped down the chain of islands to reach Dominica, you would have a trip of approx. 300 nm. With a young child you could take the trip in enjoyable day sails all the way, except for an overnighter to start your trip from the Virgins to St Martin (approx 80 nm from the North Sound in the BVI). Then you could reach St Kitts in another 54 nm; Nevis, 12nm; Antigua another 49nm; Guadeloupe, 48 nm; Iles des Saintes, 30 nm and then on to Dominica (Rosseau) in 35 nm. Once you wait for a decent weather window to get to St Martin (as you are heading s.e.), the remainder of the trip is all easy day sails with pretty dependable trade winds.
Btw, the mileages I provided are to my selected anchorages on the islands that I mentioned above that I visited earlier this year. You would be able to shorten the distance by sailing directly to Dominica but that would defeat the purpose of enjoying all that the intervening islands offer.

Hope that helps.
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Old 04-11-2013, 18:51   #4
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There is a piece of dirt in Dominica with an ocean view for sale, price about $8,000. It is one
You should look at it.
To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
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Old 04-11-2013, 23:25   #5
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Re: USVI to Dominica

Dominica is one of my favorite islands, but it is off the beaten path for land visitors and only the hardy eco-adventurers tend to go there (plus the several thousand med students). Making a living or breaking even on a B&B is going to be tough. I have an acquaintance with a chrter cat who is building the same thing right now, plus owns rights to one of the waterfalls there. If you wish, I can put you in contact with him.
The sail from the USVI to Dominica in one straight shot is doable on one tack in just about any set of the trade winds, although it will better with a northerly component. The seas are going to be against you and the trip won't be a smooth ride, but perhaps a bit better on a cat.
Call it 260nm from Charlotte Amalie to Portsmouth - a good sized cat against wind and waves could make 5 knots, that means 52 hours of sailing - just over 2 full days.
I usually take a more leisurely approach as Teej has outlined (my average is 6-8 knots on a relatively fast boat:

North Sound BVI to Marigot, St. Martin to clear in, then on to Grand Case
Grand Case to Ile Fourchue or Anse Columbier, St. Barths (clear out of St. Martin)
St. Barths to Pinney Beach, Nevis (arrive dusk, depart dawn)
Nevis to Deshaies, Guadeloupe
Deshaies to Anse de Bourg, Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe (usually calm to Vieux Fort so one needs to motor, then get hit with 25 knots for the hop across)
Finally, the short hop from the Saintes to Portsmouth.

Much more relaxing when not on a schedule.
-Zanshin (SV Zanshin)
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Old 14-11-2013, 18:12   #6
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Re: USVI to Dominica

Wait until the kid is old enough to participate in what you're doing. Cruising with kids is great - I've done it- but at three years old it'll be you on the surfboard, not him. And he'll forget the whole thing very quickly.

Wait until he's 8 to 10.

My $0.02

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Old 22-11-2013, 14:34   #7
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Re: USVI to Dominica

Make it easy on you and your crew, head east up the Channel to Round Rock Passage or North Sound. Wait for YOUR conditions, jump off from there on a reach SE to towards which ever island you can lay in maximum comfort for the wind and wave conditions; my favs: Northern Monserrat, Deshaies, Bourg des Saintes, or Prince Rupert Bay.

Unless it is very calm, VG to SXM can be VERY ugly with wind and waves right on your nose. If it's really calm Saba would be a treat.
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Old 23-11-2013, 09:25   #8
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Re: USVI to Dominica

The crossing from USVI's is not always nice and must of time it is pretty rough.
Trust me i have done that 1000 time the best thing for you i think because if your wife never sailed before, that will be a nightmare for her if it's rough.

I think it will be great for you guys.
anyway, the thing is: You should star from there Anguilla or st maarten than you and your family will enjoy to sail to Dominica .
I love this place by the way.
If you want, i will help you and give you some travel guide for est caribbean
Kind regard


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