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Old 14-03-2019, 17:33   #1
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Key West to Bocas del Toro

Any thoughts on the preferred route in May , 45 ft Ketch. Also a guesstimate of length of time thank you in advance Lee
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Old 14-03-2019, 20:00   #2
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Re: Key West to Bocas del Toro

Typically boats take either the Westerly route via the Yucatan Channel or further East down the Windward Passage.

Do you want to make a cruise out of this or just get there?
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Old 14-03-2019, 20:30   #3
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Re: Key West to Bocas del Toro

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Typically boats take either the Westerly route via the Yucatan Channel or further East down the Windward Passage.

Do you want to make a cruise out of this or just get there?
Just get there not a sightseeing trip / mainly looking at hugging Cuba then towards Cayman down
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Old 16-03-2019, 05:44   #4
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Re: Key West to Bocas del Toro

As you plan, you could sneak around the W end of Cuba, get into the lee of S Cuba and work your way E. Jamaica would give you a better wind angle than the Caymans. This gets you to a similar starting point for the run S as would clawing your way over to the Windward Passage from KW.

From KW I would get across the Florida Current as quickly as possible and hug the N and W coasts of Cuba to avoid current and hopefully pick up a little favorable counter current. Mind your navigation closely, plenty of reefs well off this coast.

You can clear into Cuba on the W tip at Los Morros. I would not recommend sailing in Cuba waters close along the S coast without clearing in, likely to attract attention. Work your way along S Cuba then to either Caymans or Jamaica.

A factor to consider is that as you get into the summer months in the NW Carib, the probability of SE winds increases (not good for your route). This is significantly less the case in the SW Carib, as you get S of 14N.

As you get S of 11N, you will likely get into light and variable winds the rest of the way to Bocas. Typically a motor sail at best, often just motoring. Panama's W Carib coast almost always has light and variable winds (whereas its E Carib coast gets seasonal Trade Winds...its blowing about 20 knots right now in the San Blas).

For the hop from Jamaica/Caymans, Providencia is a popular stop and a great one too.

There have been some security issues on this route around the NE edge of the Nicaraguan Banks. See CSSN for details.

https://safetyandsecuritynet.org

How long is most affected by how often/long you stop or need to wait for weather windows. Otherwise, its just speed-time-distance, on a 45 footer I would assume you can average at least 6 knots for planning purposes.

A snippet of the Pilot Chart for May in this area.





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Old 16-03-2019, 07:12   #5
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Re: Key West to Bocas del Toro

Thanks a bunch, this is spot on with my other input. But as you have noted with winds in May , I am at a toss up thinking that I should go North Cuba and shoot the pass Haiti and Cuba for that better angle. I know its 300 or so miles further but may be well worth it. Thank you belizesailor for your detailed info
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Old 17-03-2019, 10:35   #6
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Re: Key West to Bocas del Toro

To get to the Windward Passage, it is likely to be easier for you if you first cross to the Bahamas and then S to Windward Passage. We ran this route by cruising our way to Acklins, Bahamas then jumping from there, via Windward Passage, to Jamaica.
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