We always tend to err on the side of caution, so please read this and take the advice as you see fit. Many people we have met/encountered over the last six + years at on and off at sea have had qualifications ranging from professionally rated seamen/women with years of experience at sea all the way down to basic self-taught sailing and navigation
over a few weekends. Surprisingly, not all the most qualified have been the best sailors and vice versa.........however a good strong knowledge base is always 'the best tool in the box' when the 'merde frappe le ventilateur" as can often be the case when at sea. In Grenada
a few years back, we met a family
with 3 small children
sailing on a semi-restored 80 year old, 22 foot, sailing ketch
......and they made it safely from the UK through the Panama Canal
back home to New Zealand
Both my wife and I have RYA Yachtmaster
qualifications (which has requirement just 'a smidgeon' above the quals for the US ASA108 exam), which we both managed to gain in just a little under a year of step-up training through the lower qualifications in an intensive environment
and it has been well worth it; you can see the syllabus here: Yachtmaster Ocean | Exams | Learning | Courses & Training | RYA
. We both now have well over 25,000 Nm behind us, including 3 Atlantic crossings, and we're still learning
My point here, and I am being far from patronising, is really that what you don't mention is whether you have any offshore passage
making experience/qualifications? Does your 1500 Nm consist of short hops/day sails
? Etc etc.
I just want you, and every other sailor, to be safe at sea. That's paramount and the first priority; enjoying it is a very close second, but will never be fully realized if there are any doubts in your mind about the first!
So your question...... we get around a lot and have sailed from Ft Lauderdale to George Town on Bahamas
to Cockburn Harbour on South Caicos to Fajardo/Culebra on Puerto Rico
Bay on St John USVI to Virgin Gorda/Anegheda BVI to Blowing Point, Anguilla
to then down through the islands to Grenada
.......'cause we like the route
and the islands. We've done this route
(of about 1650 Nm one way) back and forth six times; slowest timescale of 18 months (much more enjoyable and some great layovers!), with a fastest timescale of just under 28 days, the latter being with max weather
planning, missing out a few stops, a great resilient crew and a lot of good luck ;-).
So you could, experience dependent of course, quite easily sail from FL to DR (following the first part of our route or) best create your own that you are comfortable with!
As for safety
in the islands, it's all subjective as you will have read in these blog pages, and even on this thread. On occasion we've reported serious safety
incidents to Noonsite that they have failed to report onwards (what we call sheer negligence, but that's just our opinion;-)) as they have clearly been sponsored by those particular marinas/companies. Let's get real here, do you believe half of what to read on trip advisor reviews
? Amazon reviews
? It's all either way too much big money
involved or individuals with personal axes to grind; sure you can sift through the chaff to get an idea, but it's still best to go check it all out for yourself.
We've seen BIG trouble around in places that others haven't and enjoyed perfect peace in places that many would not go.
So, to close and if you do set sail, take your best smile and optimism with you and always keep your lookout on the land as you should at sea.