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Old 11-12-2007, 18:04   #1
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FL to Venezuela Direct

I am considering runnig away from the Huricannes and spending the sumer in Venezuela> Is there any advantage to the "direct" route (not following all the Carebean islands). What speed of adverse currents are experienced in this season. Your experince is welcomed.
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Old 11-12-2007, 18:48   #2
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Originally Posted by fourgeau View Post
I am considering runnig away from the Huricannes and spending the sumer in Venezuela> Is there any advantage to the "direct" route (not following all the Carebean islands). What speed of adverse currents are experienced in this season. Your experince is welcomed.
If I were going to Venezuela, I would go direct. No big deal. Current isn't a problem in the Caribbean.

I don't like to go to places where I'm not wanted. From my experience, the people in the Caribbean hate Americans. I'd never go back. The only islands that I would even consider would be the BVIs. The only exception might be St Lucia but that would only be if I needed something.

Now, having said all that, I would go to the BVIs first then go along the Windward Islands and keep my Easting. If you try to just cut a rumline straight across the Caribbean to Venezuela and you get too far West, you may regret it. You can't go too far East....only too far West, so err to the East. Just my $.02
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Old 18-12-2008, 19:51   #3
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Venezuelans are Americans. South Americans. Why , what continent did you think that was? How bad is your navigation?
Brent
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Old 18-12-2008, 19:58   #4
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to answer your question without the rhetoric, doing a straight run from Floriduh does present some problems. The winds and currents will be against you either down the Florida Passage or the Yucatan Passage. A run through the Bahamas, T&C and through the Mona Passage and then a straight run to Venezuela might be your best bet. Does not mean you have to stop along the way if you don't want to, but why not?
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Old 19-12-2008, 06:23   #5
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...I don't like to go to places where I'm not wanted. From my experience, the people in the Caribbean hate Americans. I'd never go back. The only islands that I would even consider would be the BVIs. The only exception might be St Lucia but that would only be if I needed something...
What!?? Kanani, I can't let this one go unchallenged!

We've cruised to all the major islands of the Lesser Antilles but three (Anguilla, Barbados and Montserrat), and have had not a single unpleasant experience with the local population. None, nada, zip. The worst we've experienced is indifference from a few sales clerks in the BVI who spent all day dealing with tourists, and were understandably jaded. We found Nevis to be so friendly and welcoming, that we sold our home in the States and moved here permanently.

The islands of the eastern Caribbean are wonderful, friendly places to visit if you approach them with the right attitude and expectations.
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Old 19-12-2008, 07:10   #6
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We also cruised the caribe for 2 1/2 years and found the people almost every where we went helpful, friendly, and pleaseant without asking for anything in return. We also found the BVI's very touristy and our experince is that though not horrible but we will never go back as a destination.

On going direct to Ven, as noted it can be done, but i would recommend visiting some of the islands along the way. It can make the trip easier by breaking it up and by possibly exposing you to places that are fun and exciting. We visited many places and found tons that we enjoyed and still talk about. The best thing about cruising is the lack of schedule. We went to Bonaire for 2 weeks, after all it is a little island and stayed for 3 months and then went back a few more times you just never know.

Enjoy the trip!
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Old 19-12-2008, 08:57   #7
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I too am mystified by Kanani’s claims. I have no reason to doubt his experience, but it is extremely unusual. It’s been awhile now, but in 2 ½ years of cruising the Bahamas and Eastern Caribbean all the way to VZ, the worst we encountered was some aggressive street vendors and boat boys; trouble communicating in Dominica and Martinique; and a stolen bag of tee shirts in St. Maarten. Mostly, we felt far more welcome just about everywhere than we ever did in Florida. There are parts of some islands that should be avoided, but you will miss way too many good times if you skip the whole Leeward/Windward chain because of that.
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Old 19-12-2008, 09:51   #8
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Perhaps Kanani's attitude provokes those he meets along the way. But could we get back to the original posters question.
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Old 19-12-2008, 10:34   #9
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I have been cruising in the Caribe since 2002. Before that I chartered boats for about 20 years. The worst that has ever happened was that a pick-pocket got about $20.00 once. I have had a lot of worse experiences with invited guests (mainly of the female variety) on the boat -- I could probably write a best selling book detailing

I cannot think of an island that I would not like to revisit in the future. Every island in the entire Caribe has been a great experience. I have never once experienced any first hand anti-American jingoism. Probably the only anti-America sloganeering was in Isla Margarita a couple of years ago, and this was around the open air market many, many miles from the anchorage or the marina.

I am moving to the Bahamas within the next month, and I am sure that the people there will be just as friendly, outgoing and helpful as the peoples of the Caribe have been for these past many years. Just my luck, after years of being single, I get married, and then my new bride takes a job offer in the Bahamas.
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Old 19-12-2008, 11:32   #10
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The original poster asked about routes and current. A couple of posts tried to address those questions, but we somehow got sidetracked into a "friendliness" discussion. Obviously, Kanani's experience is WAY different from virtually every sailor who knows the Eastern Caribbean.

Re: routes and currents....

You're gonna have a tough time with any direct route from Florida to Venezuela in a Beneteau 47. A full-powered trawler like a Nordhaven 62 might do it just fine, though :-)

Venezuela is way EAST of Florida. You've got to make easting, and that's not easy once you get to the latitude of the tradewinds. These are not gentle breezes. Typically, they blow between 15 and 25 knots in mid-Caribbean, building up big seas rolling all the way from Africa. And, yes, there IS a current to contend with. Usually this is an easterly current running between .5 and 1.5 knots, with the seas. This means that you need to point higher than the rhumb line course in order not to get moved down to leeward too much by the combination of seas and current.

I once sailed a direct (rhumb line) from Tortola to Grenada at Christmas time. Let me tell you, that was one of the roughest ocean passages I've ever had, with 35-45 knot winds forward of the beam most of the time and 18-20 foot seas. Thank heavens for out stout vessel -- a 42 footer -- and a tireless Aires windvane which did most of the work while we just hung on. While these conditions are not necessarily typical, very strong winds regularly occur to the west of the line of Leeward and Windward islands, particularly as you reach lower latitudes.

Can it be done (FL to Venezuela direct)? Sure, but as others have opined it's probably better to plan a few stops along the way and plenty of time to avoid difficult weather conditions.

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Old 19-12-2008, 12:00   #11
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Bill is correct about the currents. They are generally from the East or Southeast and get stronger as you travel South. The chain is a convenient and fun way to island hop your way through the Trades and currents. See:

The Caribbean Current
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Old 19-12-2008, 13:25   #12
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Fourgeau—

I’m not sure what you mean when you say “direct” given you’re located in Ft.Myers. If you mean directly across the Caribbean, the “shortest route” would be from the Mona Passage to somewhere like Cumana, about 580 (statute) miles. As pointed out by prior the respondents, however, that course will be, essentially, up-wind and up-current. Never-the-less, assuming you can average 6-1/2 knots (in your 473), that shouldn’t take more than about 3-1/2 daze (assuming the weather cooperates), which is long enough to exhaust a small family crew (IMHO).

A more salient issue is getting from Ft.Myers, at (call it) 82° West, to the Mona Passage, at about 67° West. That will be a major slog to weather through the Bahamas and east if you intend to go “direct”. Roughly 1,100 (statute) miles from Moser Channel by the shortest direct route, and more like 1,300 to 1,400 miles taking into account tacking angles. That would be, roughly, 9 daze of travel assuming you have ideal weather the entire time. If Venezuela’s your goal, it might be wise to invest in a copy of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Passages South” and give the recommendations careful consideration before planning a trip. However, if avoiding Hurricanes is your goal and where is less important, it might be worth considering a trip to the Rio Dulce which is will be a far easier trek for you and you are likely to be somewhat more warmly welcomed. For information on that alternative see "Sailing with Ocean Angel", which has an excellant series on the trip from southwest Florida to the Rio.

In whatever event, good luck.

s/v HyLyte
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