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Old 02-12-2011, 12:34   #1
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BVI to Chesapeake Offshore

I did the Caribbgean 1500 and survived. I am planning and reading on making the return trip in late May. I am looking for any information from those of you that are more experienced and done the trip? Give me your wise advice.
I do have a blue water boat, GPS, chartplotter, radar, SSB and VHF. On the trip down I could get good weather information daily.
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Old 02-12-2011, 18:41   #2
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Re: BVI to Chesapeake off shore

We decided to make it a fun trip back north. We sailed up to the Abacos from St Thomas. It was a five day passage and pretty relaxed, other than a few squalls as a front came through as we neared the Bahamas. We spent a week enjoying the Abacos, and then headed out to the Gulf Stream for a nice ride up to Cape Hatteras, around and up to the Chesapeake.

I hired Commanders Weather to give us updates from the Bahamas to Hatteras. It was a pretty calm trip for us, but boats that came north a week later got hammered hard. I'm fairly confident in my ability to read the weather sources, but hiring a competent weather routing service is good insurance.
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Old 02-12-2011, 20:04   #3
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Re: BVI to Chesapeake Offshore

we came back via the abacos also. St. Maarten to Marsh Harbour took about a week and then 4 days from there to Beaufort. Really nice sailing - you can wait for a good weather window - they arent that hard to find in May
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Old 02-12-2011, 20:12   #4
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Re: BVI to Chesapeake Offshore

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Originally Posted by sck5 View Post
Really nice sailing - you can wait for a good weather window - they arent that hard to find in May
We have always done it non-stop, and we usually stay out of the gulf stream as long as we can (just to avoid any funny eddies) but I agree, this is one of the worlds best passages if you are just a little patient with the weather.
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Old 02-12-2011, 22:31   #5
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Re: BVI to Chesapeake Offshore

The weather in May 08 was one front after another until after Memorial Day, but that was a strange year.
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Old 03-12-2011, 03:24   #6
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Re: BVI to Chesapeake Offshore

Yes, it can be bad in May.

A friend of mine was bringing his boat back from the Bahamas to the Chesapeake in May, 2002. They were off the coast of Georgia, east of the Gulf Stream when a front rolled over them. The front had three Lows embedded in it, and they combined forces over the Stream. He tried heaving to and fore-reaching, but his main got shredded, so he had to lie ahull for two days, taking knock-downs. They finally were able to limp into Georgetown, SC. As I recall, two or three other sailboats were lost in that storm, with some loss of life.

May can be gentle as a lamb or a total bitch in the area SE of Cape Hatteras.
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Old 03-12-2011, 04:14   #7
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Re: BVI to Chesapeake Offshore

This is a regular non-stop run for me. I leave the VI (usually from St Thomas as crew flights are cheaper and easier) and head North to the East of the Bahamas. I pick up the Gulf Stream northwest of the Bahamas - the boost is worth the diversion. The South edge of the Stream is pretty gentle and you can slide in and out as the weather dictates. Sea water temperature is the best indicator of where you are vis a vis the Gulf Stream.

If you have an SSB and a laptop you have weather fax - you should be your own best router. JVCOMM32 and a $2 patch cable and you will be up and running.

If you want to see the T&Cs and/or the Bahamas this is a good time.
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Old 11-12-2011, 20:26   #8
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Re: BVI to Chesapeake Offshore

We sailed in June from Tortola to Bermuda, and then up to Long Island Sound - a bit north of your destination. Fine weather most of the way, though we did use the engine some. Spent several days in Bermuda, so the whole trip took about two weeks. We didn't use any weather/router on that trip, but on another BDA-NYC voyage in 2008 (returning from the Newport-Bermuda Race) we found a very helpful volunteer on the SSB radio who was coordinating reports from the NOAA weather service and from boats in passage. Boats checked in at about 14h00 LT IIRC. He helped us avoid a 500 mile front that three other boats thought they were tough enough to punch through. They ended up with crew helicoptered back to Bermuda with injuries.
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