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Old 23-01-2015, 09:06   #1
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BVI to VA

BVI to Norfork Va
Would this trip be advisable in Mid March?
What would be your concerns?
No concerns about the boat, it has crossed the Atlantic twice and is
In good fit.
Possible routes:
Head north towards Bermuda and then swing west in a big arc
Go through the Bahama channel to Fla and then north more or less along the coast, duck into Morehead City and wait for a good window
To go around Cape Hatteras ( maybe ICW )
What would Cape Hatteras be like in mid to late March?
Thanx All
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Old 23-01-2015, 09:25   #2
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Re: BVI to VA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Time2Go View Post
BVI to Norfork Va
Would this trip be advisable in Mid March?
What would be your concerns?
No concerns about the boat, it has crossed the Atlantic twice and is
In good fit.
Possible routes:
Head north towards Bermuda and then swing west in a big arc
Go through the Bahama channel to Fla and then north more or less along the coast, duck into Morehead City and wait for a good window
To go around Cape Hatteras ( maybe ICW )
What would Cape Hatteras be like in mid to late March?
Thanx All
If I were gonna do it, I'd head towards the Bahamas/Florida, maybe linger a bit around West End to see if a good window develops to shoot for Cape Fear or Morehead/Beaufort... That's generally about the best you can hope for, that time of the year, and I think you definitely want to keep the ability to exit the Stream quickly, or duck back inshore to a place like Charleston within 24 hours in play...

In my opinion, March is probably the single worst/most volatile month of the year to be in the vicinity of Hatteras... It can often require keeping a very close eye on what's happening weather-wise in Texas, and Arkansas... At the first report of a tornado tearing up a trailer park outside of Texarkana, either hunker down in Beaufort, or start heading up the Ditch... :-) Because those systems are typically drawing a bead on Hatteras, and if they happen to mix it up with a front coming down from the plains or Great Lakes, all hell can break loose very quickly, and such events are notoriously difficult to forecast..
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Old 23-01-2015, 09:29   #3
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Re: BVI to VA

I've done that trip only once, but studied it pretty carefully before going. If you go to Bermuda, you will be traversing the mid-Atlantic high with it's light and variable winds, so you'll likely motor quite a bit. I decided to head WNW from St Thomas and gradually turn to a more northerly course as we moved out of the Trades, ending up in the Abacos. We spent a week there just to break up the trip, but you could pass north of the Abacos and pick up a ride on the Gulf Stream in the Cape Canaveral area. The alternative is to stick closer to the rhumb line to Cape Hatteras, missing the Gulf Stream altogether, which is shorter, but you miss the 3-4 knot lift from the Stream.

It pays to carefully track weather developments very carefully that time of year. I remember once seeing hurricane force winds reported off the Virginia Capes in March. The fronts that produce nasty weather offshore come through every 5-7 days. Even as late as May you can have really strong storms off the East Coast, so you won't be able to avoid them altogether. You really need a source of good, current weather info and forecasts. You can do it yourself if you have weather knowledge and real-time access to weather data sources, or your could hire a weather routing service and stay in regular contact with them.

Taking a more southerly route to the US (Old Bahama Channel) is longer, distance-wise, but it will allow you to enjoy Tradewinds sailing conditions until your reach the Keys. Then you can ride the Gulf Stream north. Any frontal passage will create horrible conditions in the Stream, however, so you'll need to decide how to deal with the inevitable cold fronts, e.g. head into an inlet before they arrive, or get out of the Stream and take your licks offshore.
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Old 24-01-2015, 09:54   #4
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Re: BVI to VA

Thanx Jon & Hud3
It seems to me that there are only two choices here
1. Go up the Old Bahama channel till the Florida coast turn north
And ride the Gulf Stream north and then tuck into the ICW
at Morehead City
I have done this trip southbound in October from NJ to Cape Canaveral
ICW from Norfork to Morehead City then outside with a stop in
Brunswick GA. We were more or less coast hugging and were west of the
Gulf Stream the whole way.

Hud3, you mention going outside of the GS if things get gnarly
Would it be feasible to go inside of the GS which would make it much
More easy to duck inside somewhere if things really went to badly.
In other words, any problems or issues with staying between the
GS and shore this time of year?
( personally I've been taught the more seaway the better)

2. Delay the trip for two months and go in Mid May

Don 't know if #2 is an option I'm not the owner
But will suggest it. I'm thinking to myself that I will decline the
trip (I'm crew, building miles and experience) if we don't go via the ICW
North of Morehead City.
I like adventure as much as the next guy but
Stupid is Stupid and I never want to become a statistic
I've been on the Albarmarle in a blow and can't imagine what it must
Be like on the outside at the same time
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Old 24-01-2015, 10:05   #5
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Re: BVI to VA

Option 2 sounds remarkably smart.

It still IS winter, ya know.
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Old 24-01-2015, 10:14   #6
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Re: BVI to VA

First let me also caution about the weather in March. Ever heard the old saying "in like a lion, out like a lamb"? Very common for storms to form in the states and head south that time of year. The worst scenario is getting caught in the Gulf Stream in strong north winds.

I would suggest another route to consider. Leave the VI and head towards the eastern side of the Bahamas and run up the outside. You won't get as much current assist as you do in the Old Bahamas Channel but you have a lot more options for places to stop if weather gets bad, something breaks or you just want a rest. When you reach the northern end of the Bahamas you can evaluate and decide to stop, go right on to Beaufort or Charleston, or cross directly to FL and run up the coast and/or ICW. If you head north to SC or NC you can curve a bit west and still pick up a good kick from the Gulf Stream since it is further offshore from north FL until you reach NC.

Two cautionz. If you are running up the east side of the Bahamas and bad weather hits be aware that a lot of the passes will be breaking and inaccessible. If you need to stop in these conditions enter one of the wide openings like the NE Providence Channel and circle around behind an island for refuge.


Also, make sure to give a wide berth to the banks north of DR. They are unlit, shallow and hard to spot in the dark.
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Old 02-02-2015, 22:35   #7
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Re: BVI to VA

Head to Florida from the Bahamas channel then do the ICW from Miami to Jacksonville. when the winds turn to the east head off shore stay close to duck in if needed. when you reach S.C do the ICW the rest of the way.IF
you want to get beat up do the west end rout like others said.
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Old 03-02-2015, 06:52   #8
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Re: BVI to VA

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Head to Florida from the Bahamas channel then do the ICW from Miami to Jacksonville. when the winds turn to the east head off shore stay close to duck in if needed. when you reach S.C do the ICW the rest of the way.IF
you want to get beat up do the west end rout like others said.
Not exactly sure what you mean by getting beat up on the West End route. Are you saying that going on the outside (east or north of) of the Bahamas and crossing the Gulf Stream to FL from West End area is a guarantee of getting beat up?

I've taken a beating approaching Florida from the Old Bahamas Channel before. If a norther blows in you will have the winds directly against the current and it can get very nasty. And on that route you have no where to go to get out of it except Cuba and that option is problematic for now.

Going outside of the Bahamas gives lots of options to get in out of the weather if it gets bad Once you get to the northern Bahamas IE West End you have protected harbors where you can wait for a good weather window to cross to FL. If the weather is bad enough to hammer you crossing from West End I can guarantee that it will be just as bad further south where the Old Bahamas Channel route passes the Cay Sal Banks.
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:44   #9
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Re: BVI to VA

Thanx to all for replies
I'll be meeting up with the captain this weekend
And will post an update
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:08   #10
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Re: BVI to VA

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Originally Posted by Time2Go View Post
2. Delay the trip for two months and go in Mid May
DING, DING, DING, DING, DING!!!

Right answer!!! - if you have that option.

I've done it three times in May - once thru the TCI & Bahamas to FL, then riding the elevator to SE of Hatteras; and twice direct offshore pretty much a rumb line route to SE of Hatteras. (And two returns from the Bahamas, one coastwise and one direct offshore.)

I agree with the others about March. Too much of a crap shoot for me. You could get lucky, unless you aren't....

Dave
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Old 03-02-2015, 13:55   #11
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Re: BVI to VA

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Not exactly sure what you mean by getting beat up on the West End route. Are you saying that going on the outside (east or north of) of the Bahamas and crossing the Gulf Stream to FL from West End area is a guarantee of getting beat up?

I've taken a beating approaching Florida from the Old Bahamas Channel before. If a norther blows in you will have the winds directly against the current and it can get very nasty. And on that route you have no where to go to get out of it except Cuba and that option is problematic for now.

Going outside of the Bahamas gives lots of options to get in out of the weather if it gets bad Once you get to the northern Bahamas IE West End you have protected harbors where you can wait for a good weather window to cross to FL. If the weather is bad enough to hammer you crossing from West End I can guarantee that it will be just as bad further south where the Old Bahamas Channel route passes the Cay Sal Banks.
OH yeah,What month was that? Cuba is open to cruisers provided you get an ok from the USCG or Cuba for emergency's. I suggest you read up on that one.

why is it you people argue over suggestions? did I even say "a guarantee beat" north of the west end? So why put words in my mouth. the skipper if he is one will know weather windows and account for such. Fronts stall near Florida in March not all but most, you got that? I'm not going to argue with you about this. here is a link for the unknowing like you http://www.forcuba.com/f_amer.htm
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Old 15-02-2015, 22:13   #12
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Re: BVI to VA

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Originally Posted by 2Hulls View Post
DING, DING, DING, DING, DING!!!

Right answer!!! - if you have that option.

I've done it three times in May - once thru the TCI & Bahamas to FL, then riding the elevator to SE of Hatteras; and twice direct offshore pretty much a rumb line route to SE of Hatteras. (And two returns from the Bahamas, one coastwise and one direct offshore.)

I agree with the others about March. Too much of a crap shoot for me. You could get lucky, unless you aren't....

Dave
Owner still going
Im Not,
Thanx all for taking the time to reply
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Old 16-02-2015, 05:15   #13
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Re: BVI to VA

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OH yeah,What month was that?

As far as what month I took a beating in the Old Bahamas Channel. It's been a few years and I've made that passage three times so don't recall for certain. I can tell you that I have canceled trips to the Bahamas twice due to late season fronts that had waves 10-12' in the Gulf Stream. One was early June. It wasn't actually cold but it was a low pressure system from the north with cooler temps and strong, north winds. That particular front made it at least as far as the Exumas so probably impacted the OBC as well.


Cuba is open to cruisers provided you get an ok from the USCG or Cuba for emergency's. I suggest you read up on that one.

I am well aware that Cuba has been open for years for an emergency. But tired and wet doesn't really count. Suggest you read up on that.

Of course one could claim an emergency due to a hangnail or something but I don't really support that kind of thing.


why is it you people argue over suggestions? did I even say "a guarantee beat" north of the west end? So why put words in my mouth. the skipper if he is one will know weather windows and account for such.

I put no words in your mouth. You're doing a pretty good job of that all on your own. I sincerely did not understand your exact meaning and asked a question for clarification.

Fronts stall near Florida in March not all but most, you got that? I'm not going to argue with you about this. here is a link for the unknowing like you ForCuba.com - For American Customers Traveling to Cuba
I have lived full time in Florida for thirty years. Have been boating and cruising Florida since 1974. I have lost count but have about a dozen Gulf Stream crossings in various power boats and sailboats from 25-65'. I have spent cumulatively over two years in the Bahamas covering every month of the year. Counting deliveries between the US and Caribbean I have somewhere around 20,000 sea miles, all but one as skipper.

I'm pretty sure by now that I am somewhat "knowing" about weather patterns in this part of the world.
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Old 16-02-2015, 05:18   #14
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Re: BVI to VA

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Owner still going
Im Not,
Thanx all for taking the time to reply
Considering how the weather has been on the east coast lately I think staying home would be my choice. There's always a next time.

Might work out just fine for the owner but at the least I think it's going to be cold, wet and bumpy, at least on the tail end of the trip.
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