Originally Posted by Salty East
I will be sailing this fall from Maine
to USVI with my husband and four children age 7-17. I read that Donald Street suggests sailing from Little Creek, NC to St Thomas. Is there a reason why I keep reading that most people sail in November?
Can this be done in late September early October? Or is the threat of hurricanes too big during that time? Any other reasons? Or thoughts about that trip?
On the way down island, we made it from Georgetown Bahamas
to PR, nonstop, in 5 days, by just going out for 3 days, turning south, and going down for 2 more. It was a rough passage
at first, hard to windward for much of it, but far preferable to the painstaking Van Sant way. I think it was safer too, at least for us... The motion to windward is brutal on our little tri, but we CAN seriously go to windward when needs be.
Almost a year later:
With the help of a weather router... My wife and I made a trip the other direction, from Trinidad to the Beaufort
NC inlet, in just 12 sea days. We left during hurricane season on Oct 4th, (my birthday), and my present to myself, was getting the hell out of Trinidad!
We had run very low on money
, and getting back to the US to get jobs was now the point, not casually touring the islands on the way up.
We sailed 2 days to Domonica, spent the night, and then two more days to Culebra
PR. Then waited for two weeks, looking for our best weather window to take us home. While waiting, with the last of our cash... we toured PR, and went to Aricibo, which I had missed on the way down.
When we got the go ahead, we headed out for a straight line sail to the Beaufort
NC inlet. It took 8 uneventful days.
Before deciding on this hurricane season passage
, and being a bit concerned, I had a long phone
conversation about it with Chris Parker, (the weather router). He convinced me that it was totally doable, in relative safety
. This would be the first time we actually PAID for his services, and we would check in with him daily, by radio
. (Ours was a really cheep radio
, but with occasional "relays", we sucessfully made contact daily).
While still in the island chain, hurricane hidey holes for our shallow draft Searunner
were fairly abundant, so this was less of a concern.
When we headed out for the 8 day leg to NC, he had us dodging big weather systems so close, that we saw the lightning
on the horizon! We never got more than 30 knots in a short blow, during the entire trip!
IF a "low" had formed close by, he assured us that he could give us a 4 day heads up, and 3 days on the formation of a hurricane. Unless it formed right on top of us, that gave us some running time to get out of the way.
A hurricane would have been VERY unlikely to just "form over us", without his seeing the correct conditions for it, so we would already be on a different course if it did.
Chris Parker assured me that he helps people make hurricane season passages regularly, and with an abundance of caution, on a fairly fast boat, it can be made safe due to daily weather checkins with him. After our very civilized passage, I believe this to be true. It was the best $150.00 I ever spent!
Have a safe trip,
PS: The last day, we had VERY narrowly averted being at sea IN THE GULF STREAM
, riding out the gale that was coming the following day...
An hour after making landfall, (in the dark), after the owner of a local Morehead City restaurant loaned us his truck to search for fuel
, we sat down in his restaurant for the best grouper dinner we ever had. Then, being EXHAUSTED, we enjoyed the free dockage that came with the meal. WOW!
It was our most magical passage... Hurricane season or not.