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Old 07-09-2011, 17:27   #1
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Best Choice for Three-Month Cruise

My wife and i and our two young boys plan on taking a three month sabaticle next febuary on our recently purchased fountaine pajot mahe. We like to get some advise as to our itineary. We originally planned on sailing from our north florida panhandle home to miami then on to bimini and down the not so thorny psth to puerto rico us and british virgin islands and then when our time is up have the boat transported back for us. But then after reading other posts im not so sure if we have enough time to do this length of a trip or if febuary is a goo time to head in the direction we planned. Would it be better tonhave the boat transported to bvis and do the trip in reverse? Should we shorten the distance and have the boat transported twice? One thing we know is that we really want to see bvis and dont know when we will be able to make a longer trip like this again. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 07-09-2011, 17:46   #2
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Re: Best choice for three month cruise

Three months, relax, just do the Bahamas. No use beating your brains out to get to the BVI.

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Old 07-09-2011, 17:54   #3
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Re: Best choice for three month cruise

I have sailed with my kids since they were toddlers and now one about to head to college. We have been as far north as Juneau/Sitka and as far south as the Sea of Cortes. It has remained consistently the case that they prefer bite sized journeys. Multi day offshore trips are interesting to us but in my experience hold little interest for kids. They like to get off the boat. I agree with the above post. Go to the Bahamas. It seems like less of an adventure to the adults involved but the kids will be much happier. The Exumas are great then, pigs on an island, a cave to snorkel into, short trips, fun.
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Old 07-09-2011, 17:58   #4
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Re: Best choice for three month cruise

I agree. We used three months in 2009 to sail from NC to the Exuma chain in the Bahamas and it was relaxing and unhurried. We were able to spend time at each island without the need to rush to the next. From the Panhandle, it will be easy for you guys to sail down/across enjoy the islands and sail home. What an adventure! The BVI's will always be there, and after this cruise, you will work even harder to arrange your life to include that cruise at a future date!
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Old 07-09-2011, 18:39   #5
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Re: Best choice for three month cruise

I would second or third the Bahamas recommendation for the time frame, but since the OP says they really want to see the BVI...

We did this trip several years back, from Lauderdale in December down to San Juan, then over to the VI and that general end of the Caribbean, then back up in May. The trip over was earlier in the season than you are estimating, the return probably about the same.

For the trip over I think we took 8 days from Nassua to San Juan. Close hauled and lumpy the whole way. Not terrible, but not the most pleasant sailing. Whenever the wind comes north of east use it to make a little extra easting. That way when it comes back around more easterly you can fall off a little bit. From San Juan it's upwind to the VI, but not that far and you can pretty much daysail it.

The trip back was a sleigh ride. Quite a blast. If I were having someone deliver one way I would probably have them deliver to the islands, then bring the boat back. You can make your way back through the Turks and Caicos, then the Keys (bypassing Miami) then on up to the panhandle. Off the wind, and with the current I would hope your Mahe could do 150 mile days on a pretty regular basis. That should give you about a 3 week return with a little bit of leisure time on the way.

Which leaves you with two months in the islands if you get the boat delivered that direction. The question I would ask is whether you want to do passagemaking as part of the vacation, or if you do it just as a necessity? If it is a necessity then consider either delivery both ways, or just doing the Bahamas. Personally, I love passages. Nothing quite like a week or so with nothing but the boat and the ocean. Different strokes...

BTW, my parents started me down this road when I was a kid. Has led to a pretty interesting life (at least as far as I am concerned) although I don't fit in to "civilization" too well. Can't think of a better way to teach some responsibility and real-world smarts. Would strongly recommend you involve the boys in running the boat as much as possible (some of that will depend on their interest level). I started standing watches on my own at about 9, progressed to night watches on my own at about 13. Your kids may battle it from time to time (I sure did), but my perspective looking back is pretty darned positive.
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Old 07-09-2011, 21:57   #6
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Re: Best choice for three month cruise

Have to agree on the short hops. I have two kids currently 13 and 14 and they were sailing before they were born. The short hops and getting off the boat are what they like. Spent three weeks in Italy and did a total of 68 nm. Everyone loved it.
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:51   #7
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Re: Best choice for three month cruise

The BVI is a nice place, but I would fly there for that vacation. I would make the best use of your short time in the Bahamas. Many boats with kids. All kind of pretty, and isolated places to see. You can go to Georgetown, and have a sailing community. Gin clear water, and many, many short sails too the next anchorage. To me the Bahamas is an easy ten where the BVI is not even close. By coming around the Keys you could actually start in the Jumentos, and slowly work your way into civilization. Whichever way you choose have a wonderful time........i2f

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