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Old 29-03-2012, 14:41   #1
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pirate St.Augustine to St.Martin

We just finished a major refit on our Whitby 42 and our plan is to sail her from St.Augustine Fl. to St. Martin (straight route).
Route will be to 31 degrees 35.14N and 65 degrees 39.14W and from there down to St.Martin. We will be ready to go in the next month (april).
Does anybody have experience with this route (approx.) and sailing down this time of the year??
Any input will be appreciated!!

The thornless path is out off the question due to passport issues.

Looking forward to your responses.
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Old 29-03-2012, 14:46   #2
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Re: St.Augustine to St.Martin

Wow. I wish I could say I've done this. Love the boat and where you are going. Have chartered and been to SXM so many times I can't count.

Fair winds on your journey.
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Old 29-03-2012, 14:52   #3
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Re: St.Augustine to St.Martin

Well......don't think you would like the refit part (3 years on the hard......) but yeah we hope (and our bodyparts) to forget that part from now on..
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:53   #4
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Re: St.Augustine to St.Martin

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, lunacy.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:07   #5
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Re: St.Augustine to St.Martin

Hi, lunacy, and welcome to CF.

The idea is to get in your easting while sailing as little to the north as feasible, before "turning right" and heading for the Tradewinds. Your proposed route takes you just about to Bermuda. Everything depends on the weather that you actually experience out there, but I don't think you'll have to go that far north before setting course for St Martin.

My preference would be to get safely across the Gulf Stream just prior to a frontal passage and then ride the front as far east as possible, watching the 3-day GRIBs to decide if you can work some southing into your course. Be prepared with fuel for a day or two of motor-sailing to keep making progress on your easting.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:17   #6
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Re: St.Augustine to St.Martin

We sailed from Titusville to St. Martin a few years back (we're still here in St. Martin). As mentioned, make the crossing of the gulf stream in best conditions possible. We found it was better to go along the coast of Florida and jump into the stream nearer to Ft. Lauderdale. The stream will take you north somewhat anyway and you can ease in and back out. Depending on winds head to the Bahamas and drop down to Turks and Caicos. From there we sailed 5 days to Virgin Gourda and then made the crossing to St. Martin. Winds will generally always be from the East or Northeast.

When you get to St. Martin, check in on the FRENCH side, not the Dutch side. Will cost you about $5 instead of what we paid on the Dutch side ($1200) not knowing any better the first year. In Port Royale visit the Capitanerie for easiest check in. You just fill out a form on a computer, turn it in and pay your fee. Very Easy. They didn't ask to see our passports, we just had to put the # on the form. No questions asked.

Good luck,
CaptJ
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:43   #7
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Re: St.Augustine to St.Martin

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Originally Posted by captjeanette View Post

When you get to St. Martin, check in on the FRENCH side, not the Dutch side. Will cost you about $5 instead of what we paid on the Dutch side ($1200) not knowing any better the first year. In Port Royale visit the Capitanerie for easiest check in. You just fill out a form on a computer, turn it in and pay your fee. Very Easy. They didn't ask to see our passports, we just had to put the # on the form. No questions asked.

Good luck,
CaptJ

TOTALLY AGREE Re Checking in on the French side DONT check in at the C&I office at the ferry terminal in Marigot Bay.....EVER!!!
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:44   #8
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Re: St.Augustine to St.Martin

Thanks for your input Hud,
I have to say we are rookies to navigating (offshore), we did spend 3 years on the hard and know every inch of Lunacy but still have to learn how she sails and what she can handle. So, a lot off training and preparation and we have to finish up a few things to get her insured before we take off.
But quick question, how far east would you go after crossing the gulfstream? Or does it all depends on the weather?
Thanks again, Janet
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:39   #9
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Re: St.Augustine to St.Martin

Janet,

First let me say that I'm basing my advice on having sailed from Virginia to the BVI three times and from St Thomas to the Bahamas & Virginia once, and St Thomas to Florida once. But even though we departed from a more northern port, I believe that some general principles apply if departing from the SE U.S. coast...

1. Watch the weather to see when the next frontal passage will occur.
2. Get safely across the Gulf Stream in the light SE to S winds that precede the front, motor-sailing due East, if necessary.
3. Ride the W/NW/N/NE winds that accompany and follow the front. Even if the winds are strong and gusty (35-45 kts) you'll be OK since they'll be behind the beam.
4.Watch the GRIBs and WEFax charts to plan how much southing you can get while you're getting in as much easting as possible. Do this and adjust twice a day if possible. Have someone aboard dedicated to accumulating and analyzing the weather data and applying it to routing decisions.
5. Motorsail when the front blows out, unless you're lucky enough to have it blow you through the Horse Latitudes into the Tradewind belt.

Your proposed aiming point close to Bermuda before turning south (the yellow line, below) is the "conventional wisdom", but in recent years most of the hundreds of boats in the Caribbean 1500 and many non-participants have sailed close to or just above the Rhumbline from Virginia to the BVI (the red line). That has been our experience as well, and we experienced the frontal passages described above and were able to take advantage of them.

The point I'm trying to make is that if you can ride a front/motor-sail out to about 29.7N 68.7W (the green line), you can lay a course to St Martin and make it on a close reach, if the weather is "typical". Of course, Mother Nature is famous for throwing curve balls in the weather department, so you could see some weather that might force a different plan (better or worse), but that's why you need to have reliable access to weather forecasts throughout your passage. Note that sailing the green line vs. the yellow would save you a couple of days.

Another possibility is to link up with Herb Hilgenberg via SSB or hire a professional weather router to create a plan for you and to send updates via email or sat phone.

Hope this makes sense...
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Old 02-04-2012, 13:13   #10
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Re: St.Augustine to St.Martin

1200 dollars - they saw you coming ( unless your boat is 200+ feet. There is a bridge fee + a weekly charge in the Lagoon. I don't think I ever paaid more than $85 for a 60 foot boat. We check-in on the French side in Oyster Pond. The French are fairly laid back. You can cruise the French side and go to Sint Bart's (except Gustavia), Marigot, Tintimare, etc. without a check-in or out.

The trades will begin to diminish after the beginning of May so you might not get a right turn on to route 66 that you would get in the Fall months. Right now the winds are about 7kts here in Sint Maarten; the least I've seen since arrival in November.
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Old 04-04-2012, 05:59   #11
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Re: St.Augustine to St.Martin

Janet,

If you pick a few of the buoys in the Atlantic east of Florida, and study the historical wind data, you will get a good idea of what to expect out there as a front approaches and passes over. There's wave data, also. Should give you a feel for how you might plan a strategy for getting your easting and southing in.

Here's the website...

National Data Buoy Center

The first page for each buoy only has 24 hours worth of data, but you can click on the "Historical Data..." link at the bottom of the page to see a lot more.
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Old 04-04-2012, 13:43   #12
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Re: St.Augustine to St.Martin

Hi Bud,

Just been checking on the NOAA site, very helpfull. I will check the history on some and gonna keep daily reports. Very handy that Dial-A-Buoy, specially without internet on board..

Have a great day.

Janet
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Old 05-04-2012, 13:43   #13
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Re: St.Augustine to St.Martin

We recently did Bahamas to Puerto Rico via the route you're looking at - the so-called 'I-65'. We chose this over the Thornless Path because we prefer making long passages to island hopping unless we have a specific need to be in some island. It went very well. We enjoyed E and ESE winds for the first 72 hrs before hitting 65' 30"W and tacking south. Just choose your departure carefully with an eye on the weather. Be sure to have enough diesel on board to get you through any potential calm. We are in the BVI this week but heading to SXM on or around April 18. I'll look out for you there - our boat is PASSEPARTOUT and we always listen in to the cruisers net in the morning at SXM on VHF 72
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Old 05-04-2012, 18:22   #14
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Re: St.Augustine to St.Martin

Quote:
Originally Posted by psp2 View Post
We recently did Bahamas to Puerto Rico via the route you're looking at - the so-called 'I-65'. We chose this over the Thornless Path because we prefer making long passages to island hopping unless we have a specific need to be in some island. It went very well. We enjoyed E and ESE winds for the first 72 hrs before hitting 65' 30"W and tacking south. Just choose your departure carefully with an eye on the weather. Be sure to have enough diesel on board to get you through any potential calm. We are in the BVI this week but heading to SXM on or around April 18. I'll look out for you there - our boat is PASSEPARTOUT and we always listen in to the cruisers net in the morning at SXM on VHF 72

SXM Cruiser net is on Ch 14 07:30
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Old 06-04-2012, 14:52   #15
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Re: St.Augustine to St.Martin

I'VE GOT IT!!!

Bear with me a moment. Just read how the Sheraton's of the hotel chain have given heaps to the Romney campaign so he will legalize all there workers. Romney officially supports "self deportation"

You, Janet, can be the poster girl for self deportation an likely get paid millions by the super pacs!

Can't you imagine? Mitt Romney at the debates saying that all the illegals just need to get aboard there yachts and sail off!

Priceless!!!!
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