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Old 29-06-2014, 07:32   #16
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Re: Advice For Sailing From Florida To Puerto Rico On A 29' Sailboat.

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Originally Posted by gah964 View Post
No one owns international waters so fish away ,but once in a given territory get a permit for that country simple really.
i know you can fish international water no problem. sorry, im trying to be less vague here. i see videos of people going from country to country definitely in international water sometimes, but mostly in someones territory. my question is i guess, do all these people have enough money theyve already bought licenses? or do they just kinda risk it which seems like a hooorible idea to me. is it possible to obtain a license online or something prior to entry?
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Old 29-06-2014, 08:12   #17
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Re: Advice For Sailing From Florida To Puerto Rico On A 29' Sailboat.

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These are the kind of questions that pilot charts answer. A lot depends on the time of year. Nevertheless, when you get down to the lower lattitudes, the predominate wind direction is easterly - a little to the north in winter months and a little to the south in summer months but predominately east.

Can you imagine the slog you will have going east? And I would not consider under any circumstances going southeast through the Old Bahamas Channel.

Check out this site for weather information. They also have links to pilot charts.
Sailing Weather - Marine Weather Forecasts for Sailors and Adventurers - PassageWeather
I have traveled the Old Bahamas Channel a few times, in both directions. It can be quite a nasty slog against the wind when the trades are booming but not horrible when they are max 10-12 kts and from ENE to NE. Still a beat no matter what. Motor sailing was my preferred method to make the best time eastward.

Have made the trip from FL to PR and VI a couple of times. Same experience.

I think it all comes down to timing. If you can take your time and do the trip over a couple of months or more then you can time your hops from island to island for the calmer periods or when the wind shifts more to the NE. However if you have a limited time and are trying to get there on a schedule it could be a real pain.

Surprised no one has mentioned Cuba. US citizens are not allowed to travel to Cuba without special permits for education or whatever which are almost impossible to get unless you go through a sponsored group. Sure lots of people go and nothing happens but you are potentially subject to fines, possible confiscation of your boat and other dire consequences.

If you have plenty of time then I would just island hop through the Bahamas. Assuming starting point in Miami or keys:

FL - Bimini
Bimini cross the banks to Berrys or North Andros
Nassau
Exuma Islands
Long Island east coast
Crooked Island
Turks and Caicos
DR
PR
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Old 29-06-2014, 08:16   #18
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Re: Advice For Sailing From Florida To Puerto Rico On A 29' Sailboat.

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
I have traveled the Old Bahamas Channel a few times, in both directions. It can be quite a nasty slog against the wind when the trades are booming but not horrible when they are max 10-12 kts and from ENE to NE. Still a beat no matter what. Motor sailing was my preferred method to make the best time eastward.

Have made the trip from FL to PR and VI a couple of times. Same experience.

I think it all comes down to timing. If you can take your time and do the trip over a couple of months or more then you can time your hops from island to island for the calmer periods or when the wind shifts more to the NE. However if you have a limited time and are trying to get there on a schedule it could be a real pain.

Surprised no one has mentioned Cuba. US citizens are not allowed to travel to Cuba without special permits for education or whatever which are almost impossible to get unless you go through a sponsored group. Sure lots of people go and nothing happens but you are potentially subject to fines, possible confiscation of your boat and other dire consequences.

If you have plenty of time then I would just island hop through the Bahamas. Assuming starting point in Miami or keys:

FL - Bimini
Bimini cross the banks to Berrys or North Andros
Nassau
Exuma Islands
Long Island east coast
Crooked Island
Turks and Caicos
DR
PR
Good advice from Skipmac. Just add one more item - plan to do a lot of motor sailing to make your 900 miles to weather.
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Old 29-06-2014, 08:40   #19
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Re: Advice For Sailing From Florida To Puerto Rico On A 29' Sailboat.

you probably would not make it from cuba to puerto rico in one piece. read van sant's book. time to leave is dependant on hurricanes and winter storms. late fall or early spring.
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Old 29-06-2014, 09:11   #20
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Re: Advice For Sailing From Florida To Puerto Rico On A 29' Sailboat.

Thanks skipmac! Totally island hoping. .no real time frame..leaving from south Florida across. .

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Old 29-06-2014, 09:13   #21
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Re: Advice For Sailing From Florida To Puerto Rico On A 29' Sailboat.

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
Good advice from Skipmac. Just add one more item - plan to do a lot of motor sailing to make your 900 miles to weather.
Absolutely. It has been a few years so the details are getting fuzzy but as I recall I motor-sailed about 75% of the time.

I'm sure I didn't invent this but from trial and error (lots of trial and plenty of error) I evolved what we called the M&M technique, Main & Motor. The main up, set flat and sheeted in very tight kept the roll down a lot and added a knot or so to the speed but I could still point very close to the wind. Would only have to run the engine about half throttle under this rig to keep close to hull speed.

This would cut my full consumption by at least 1/3 so extended the range and was much more comfortable and made much, much better time to windward than beating and tacking into the wind under sail alone.
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Old 29-06-2014, 09:20   #22
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Re: Advice For Sailing From Florida To Puerto Rico On A 29' Sailboat.

Chicasurfer , Getting to P.R. from Florida , Get as far east as you can in gentle stages , Bahamas , Turks . Then an overnite to the Dom. Rep.
That is where it starts to get tough . The guide books will tell you that you can sail at nite with the gentle winds coming off the hills of Dom. Rep.

I have never found that so . I usually take a long tack Northerly all nite and then a long tack southerly in the day . With better navigation instruments you could short tack easterly up the coast of the D.R. Once you bust out into the Mona passage I would fall onto a course to the south coast of P.R.. Remember for this whole trip the wind will be on the nose and at some point the Christmas Trades will start blowing like stink .
I would start a leisurely trip in mid- October or a fast trip no later than the first week in November.
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Old 29-06-2014, 09:27   #23
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Re: Advice For Sailing From Florida To Puerto Rico On A 29' Sailboat.

As far as a fishing license goes , I have never had one , when you see a fast boat coming up bring the lines in . In actual fact you will catch very few fish when off soundings on a passage . Fish are more readily found on structure or bottom in shorter water . Offshore you might catch a small tuna or if sailing in weeds maybe a dolphin . I believe sailing in deep water up and down the Carib that I caught three fish in deep water in over ten years .
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Old 29-06-2014, 09:30   #24
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Re: Advice For Sailing From Florida To Puerto Rico On A 29' Sailboat.

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Chicasurfer , Getting to P.R. from Florida , Get as far east as you can in gentle stages , Bahamas , Turks . Then an overnite to the Dom. Rep.
That is where it starts to get tough . The guide books will tell you that you can sail at nite with the gentle winds coming off the hills of Dom. Rep.

I have never found that so . I usually take a long tack Northerly all nite and then a long tack southerly in the day . With better navigation instruments you could short tack easterly up the coast of the D.R. Once you bust out into the Mona passage I would fall onto a course to the south coast of P.R.. Remember for this whole trip the wind will be on the nose and at some point the Christmas Trades will start blowing like stink .
I would start a leisurely trip in mid- October or a fast trip no later than the first week in November.
I read the book I just cant believe the trades lay down at night and give you a magical south wind to get you past the DR I have never done it so idk but has anyone here experienced this? I can see it may happen a few times a month but he acts like its a regular event.
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Old 29-06-2014, 09:38   #25
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Re: Advice For Sailing From Florida To Puerto Rico On A 29' Sailboat.

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i know you can fish international water no problem. sorry, im trying to be less vague here. i see videos of people going from country to country definitely in international water sometimes, but mostly in someones territory. my question is i guess, do all these people have enough money theyve already bought licenses? or do they just kinda risk it which seems like a hooorible idea to me. is it possible to obtain a license online or something prior to entry?
Well if I was out at sea running Low on food you bet your ask I would risk it .its not like anyone is around 100 miles off shore. just eat up before you hit a port.
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Old 29-06-2014, 10:38   #26
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Re: Advice For Sailing From Florida To Puerto Rico On A 29' Sailboat.

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I read the book I just cant believe the trades lay down at night and give you a magical south wind to get you past the DR I have never done it so idk but has anyone here experienced this? I can see it may happen a few times a month but he acts like its a regular event.
I only tried it once. Along the north coast of the DR very close in, there was some mountain air coming down at night that seemed to push the trades further offshore. Still motoring and this was only for a small part of the trip.
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Old 29-06-2014, 10:48   #27
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Re: Advice For Sailing From Florida To Puerto Rico On A 29' Sailboat.

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Originally Posted by pistarckle View Post
As far as a fishing license goes , I have never had one , when you see a fast boat coming up bring the lines in . In actual fact you will catch very few fish when off soundings on a passage . Fish are more readily found on structure or bottom in shorter water . Offshore you might catch a small tuna or if sailing in weeds maybe a dolphin . I believe sailing in deep water up and down the Carib that I caught three fish in deep water in over ten years .
The only country that I know of in the Lesser Antilles that requires a fishing license for trolling a line behind your boat is the BVI. They put some poor fellow in jail a few years ago for fishing without one. I think he ended up with a multi-thousand dollar fine.

We fished between islands sometimes, and caught a bonito, barracuda and little tuny. Much better fishing during the passage from the US to the islands--lots of mahi mahi.
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Old 29-06-2014, 11:54   #28
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Re: Advice For Sailing From Florida To Puerto Rico On A 29' Sailboat.

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Originally Posted by gah964 View Post
I read the book I just cant believe the trades lay down at night and give you a magical south wind to get you past the DR I have never done it so idk but has anyone here experienced this? I can see it may happen a few times a month but he acts like its a regular event.
In my limited experience there the wind loses strength and changes direction enough to make for a more comfortable trip. You may still be motorsailing but you won't be beating your brains out into the full force of the daytime trades.
Bear in mind this method keeps you in quite close to shore. Some people don't like that, some people don't like sailing at night and stopping during the day, but it works.
I think the most valuable parts of Bruce's book are the sections dealing with weather forecasts and waiting for weather windows. This book is not designed for folks that are in a hurry. If you can't or won't wait for a window you might want to try a different plan. The "Thornless Path" is for sailors that want to be safe and comfortable and who don't worry too much about fast.
Even if you don't want to utilize his methods, the book is full of useful info about ports/anchorages along the way.
Not to mention a brief Spanish/English dictionary designed for boaters, and a low tech method of figuring costs dubbed "Beeronomy" lol.
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Old 29-06-2014, 12:01   #29
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Re: Advice For Sailing From Florida To Puerto Rico On A 29' Sailboat.

Chicasurfer -

By the way, I believe the title of the book comes from the old adage that "Gentlemen do not sail to windward".
Enjoy it.
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Old 29-06-2014, 12:13   #30
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Re: Advice For Sailing From Florida To Puerto Rico On A 29' Sailboat.

From the Keys to Cuba...OK, not to get political but Uncle Sam tends to get real upset about US citizens or vessels stopping in Cuba, so forgive me for saying you want to check out that situation (both the official and unofficial responses) before casually even considering that stop. Especially in any direct connection to or from a US port.
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