Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 09-02-2015, 15:36   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 2
Westbound on the Thorny Path

My husband and I are considering sailing a 39 foot Jeanneau westbound from The VIs the straight up the coast of Florida, jumping to the intracoastal around Jacksonville.

I see many post on sailing down, however very little about heading up.

We would like to depart St. Thomas in March. Can anyone provide expected sea and wind conditions at that time of year? I know it's a little earlier than the preferred window, but is it doable?

Any other experiences, deatils or advice would be appreciated.

We are fairly experienced sailors (5 years plus).

Thanks!
__________________

__________________
Santa Lucia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2015, 16:52   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Winters cruising; summers Chesapeake Bay
Boat: Catana 471
Posts: 1,239
Re: Westbound on the Thorny Path

Quote:
Originally Posted by Santa Lucia View Post
I see many post on sailing down, however very little about heading up.
That's because it's not really "heading up". It's all downhill, for the most part going west/north west.

March is getting better, but not yet the easiest. I've done it several times in May which was quite peaceful. But it shouldn't be at all thorny in March. Worse as you get north because the continental fronts will still be pre-spring and can reach well SE.

Suggest you decide whether you'll head north of the Silver Bank and cruise thru the TCI and Bahamas vs PR and DR. Working with the weather you should be able to move between any remaining fronts and hop-scotch your way home. A non-stop seems less viable.

2 Hulls Dave
__________________

__________________
2Hulls is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2015, 18:31   #3
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Re: Westbound on the Thorny Path

Santa Lucia,
A quick glance at your Pilot Charts will show you why it's called the "Thorny Path" when heading East / South....but when heading West / North, it's not "thorny" at all!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Santa Lucia View Post
My husband and I are considering sailing a 39 foot Jeanneau westbound from The VIs the straight up the coast of Florida, jumping to the intracoastal around Jacksonville.

I see many post on sailing down, however very little about heading up.
You'll see that in March the easterly trades are still statistically dominant up to about 25* N....and up to 28* N in April....
And, areas north of that latitude are heavily effected by continental Lows and the Fronts, as they move off the coast!!
BUT...

But, you need to be aware that at that time of year (March and April), these Lows and Fronts can still be very strong, and most would not want to be caught out in that weather!!

In addition to enjoying the wonders of the Bahamas, this is one more reason why those not doing a straight "delivery" will usually head thru the islands.....allowing them have fun sailing/gunkholing thru the T&C, and most wonderously The Bahamas, all the while watching the weather coming off the US East Coast...

You should have some way of getting weather info / forecasts when offshore and/or in remote areas (where you don't have internet connection), so that you can better assess your route planning after you leave the Virgin Islands....
{a simple portable HF-SW radio to allow you to receive the USCG broadcasts of the NWS/NOAA Offshore Marine Weather for the SW N. Atl., etc. would do fine....}






As I wrote above, looking at the Pilot Charts will show you both the historic wind and sea conditions (for every month of the year), and they are FREE to download...and as Dave wrote, March is pretty early for heading North from the VI's...but making your way to//thru the Bahamas in March is VERY "do-able"!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Santa Lucia View Post
We would like to depart St. Thomas in March. Can anyone provide expected sea and wind conditions at that time of year?
Look at the Pilot Charts....
I know it's a little earlier than the preferred window, but is it doable?
Yes, it's do-able!

Any other experiences, deatils or advice would be appreciated.
I've done this passage many times....usually in late April, May, and June...but also in November!

In March (and even in April) once you get to the Central Bahamas, the continental weather WILL effect you, but only somewhat...so hanging out there is usually fine, nice 'n warm, etc. when the guys in Jacksonville are still lamenting the "cold fronts"....

But, if you're prepared for some rough weather and cool evenings, and have good on-board weather info, then you CAN make a go of it without hanging out in the Bahamas!


We are fairly experienced sailors (5 years plus).
Please forgive me, but if you were experienced for this you'd likely not be asking these questions...
Thanks!

I mean no offense here, but my overall recommendation for you is:
a) make sure you have looked over the Pilot Charts...

b) make sure you have good offshore weather available on-board....(a simple portable HF-SW radio to allow you to receive the USCG broadcasts of the NWS/NOAA Offshore Marine Weather for the SW N. Atl., etc. would do fine...and cost you less than $150, and the forecasts sent every 6 hours are FREE...)
For details on weather info/forecasts, please have a look here...
Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts
And, then ask for any clarifications, specifics, etc..

c) make sure you are prepared for some weather, especially once north of 25* N....

Do all the above, and it's "do-able"!


Fair winds....

John
s/v Annie Laurie
__________________
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2015, 06:02   #4
Moderator Emeritus
 
GordMay's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 31,577
Images: 240
Re: Westbound on the Thorny Path

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Santa Lucia.
__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2015, 17:39   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Oviedo Florida
Boat: 55 fleming
Posts: 102
Re: Westbound on the Thorny Path

Depends on the year. Different years have different weather patterns. You will want to hole up during front passages. Just reverse the tactics.
__________________
wesevans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2015, 06:35   #6
Registered User
 
denverd0n's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 3,949
Images: 6
Re: Westbound on the Thorny Path

Just to be completely clear about this...

When going east you are going AGAINST the prevailing winds and currents. Going west you are going WITH the prevailing winds and currents. While you do have to watch out for weather systems, as mentioned above, in general it is always going to be easier and more comfortable going with the winds and currents.
__________________
denverd0n is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 14-02-2015, 21:20   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 2
Re: Westbound on the Thorny Path

Thank you all. This has been incredibly helpful.

It seems like a good plan to make our way back watching the weather closely and moving in the favorable windows.

What are your preferred methods of getting good weather info when you are away from Internet service? Anything in addition to the USCG broadcasts?

Secondly, once we reach the northern are of the Bahamas, we are hoping to keep offshore to somewhere around Beaufort NC. This will probably be mid to late March. I'm assuming the same principle goes - simply make sure you have a good weather window...?

Any other tips or suggestions are much appreciated.
__________________
Santa Lucia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-02-2015, 21:35   #8
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29° 49.16’ N 82° 25.82’ W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,374
Re: Westbound on the Thorny Path

Quote:
Originally Posted by Santa Lucia View Post
Thank you all. This has been incredibly helpful.

It seems like a good plan to make our way back watching the weather closely and moving in the favorable windows.

What are your preferred methods of getting good weather info when you are away from Internet service? Anything in addition to the USCG broadcasts?

Secondly, once we reach the northern are of the Bahamas, we are hoping to keep offshore to somewhere around Beaufort NC. This will probably be mid to late March. I'm assuming the same principle goes - simply make sure you have a good weather window...?

Any other tips or suggestions are much appreciated.
For weather a receiver that picks up Ham and marine SSB bands IE HF or shortwave radio.

Regarding offshore direct from the northern Bahamas to NC, as several have pointed out, this is pretty early to be heading north and the odds of catching a cold front and associated strong winds are very high. The further north you go the higher the odds AND if you have been following the weather lately this has been one of the worst winters on record for the NE USA.

The reason these weather fronts could be so bad for your plan is you will be in the Gulf Stream or other related currents that flow towards the west. These fronts bring strong winds that will blow against the currents and this can generate large, breaking waves or at the very least very uncomfortable conditions.

I would stick close to the Bahamas and be prepared to duck in if a strong front approached. Once I reached the NW Bahamas unless the weather patterns have changed a lot in the next few weeks I would prefer crossing the stream more directly and either hugging the US coast or take the ICW north.
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-02-2015, 03:41   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Underway in the Med -
Boat: Jeanneau 40 DS SoulMates
Posts: 1,904
Images: 1
Re: Westbound on the Thorny Path

Just a suggestion, but we have not done it but gone the other way a bit.

Think about going to the west side of the DR instead of the top and then a crossing through the windward to the either the Bahamas or the old channel if you want a really long sail.

If SSB would suggest you subscibe to Chris Parker for the trip.
__________________
just our thoughts and opinions
chuck and svsoulmates
In Marmaris Turkey for the winter
chuckr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-02-2015, 16:38   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Oviedo Florida
Boat: 55 fleming
Posts: 102
Re: Westbound on the Thorny Path

If at all possible when going from the Bahamas to Beaufort NC avoid being caught in the Gulf Stream during a frontal passage or if wind is out of the north or north east. Be on one side or the other of the Gulf Stream and West side is usually better as you can run for shelter.
__________________
wesevans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-02-2015, 12:11   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Arnold MD
Boat: Cape Dory 300 MS 30'
Posts: 22
Re: Westbound on the Thorny Path

In your original message you mentioned going into the ICW at Jacksonville. If I were planning to go north in March from the VIs I would go over to Fajardo, PR, then to Provo (Turks and Caicos),then to Georgetown, Bahamas, across to Fort Pierce FL and stay inside the rest of the way. March is too early to be outside in a norther.
__________________

__________________
Captain Fred is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Thorny vs Thornless Path Janice Atlantic & the Caribbean 76 22-10-2017 18:35
Multihulls on the Thorny Path gbanker Multihull Sailboats 23 13-08-2015 18:42
Thorny Path-Westbound jkilpatrick Atlantic & the Caribbean 16 02-04-2012 20:49
Annapolis to Florida to Bahamas via the Thorny Path Rhosyn Mor Crew Archives 36 15-08-2009 11:57



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:28.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.