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Old 29-10-2017, 18:09   #1
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I-65 to BVI from Turks - Caicos

Hi, there has been some discussion (not much) of the "Thornless Path" vs "Out and Down; I-65" to get to the BVI / USVI. Usually, if someone is avoiding the Bahamas, T&C, DR & PR, they go from FL or even NC out roughly 600 miles and head south at roughly 65W longitude for a roughly ten day passage. However, it seems to me that the part of the Thornless Path that sucks, and causes long delays, is waiting for weather in Luperon, and then beating from Luperon to Samana and past PR. Why not do the cruise through the Exumas, to Georgetown and on down to Providenciales, and then do the out and down? You're still going to have to wait for a weather window from Provo, but you only need about 48 hours of winds from SE to S to get east 300 miles before turning south with the trades on the port beam and riding that another 300nm to Tortola. And yet I never hear of anyone doing this; maybe they just haven't posted? Or is there a reason not to that I'm not seeing? It's a 4-5 day passage from Provo vs a 10-11 day passage from FL (at least for my boat), and you avoid the DR & PR. Is there a reason not to do this? When I go south next, I do want to do the Exumas and Concepcion Island anyway, but I'd like to avoid the delay of waiting for weather at Luperon, and all the close-to-shore sailing along the north coast of the DR.

Has anyone done this short, modified I-65?
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Old 29-10-2017, 18:24   #2
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Re: I-65 to BVI from Turks - Caicos

The turks and caicos are already well into the trade wind zone at latitude 21 (more or less). Going east from there is going to be not much better than heading east further south. You have an adverse current too, and no katabatic effects to play with as you do when coasting along HIspaniola or PR. I wouldnt want to do my easting any further south than around 26 degrees
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Old 29-10-2017, 18:29   #3
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Re: I-65 to BVI from Turks - Caicos

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Originally Posted by AJ_n_Audrey View Post
Hi, there has been some discussion (not much) of the "Thornless Path" vs "Out and Down; I-65" to get to the BVI / USVI. Usually, if someone is avoiding the Bahamas, T&C, DR & PR, they go from FL or even NC out roughly 600 miles and head south at roughly 65W longitude for a roughly ten day passage. However, it seems to me that the part of the Thornless Path that sucks, and causes long delays, is waiting for weather in Luperon, and then beating from Luperon to Samana and past PR. Why not do the cruise through the Exumas, to Georgetown and on down to Providenciales, and then do the out and down? You're still going to have to wait for a weather window from Provo, but you only need about 48 hours of winds from SE to S to get east 300 miles before turning south with the trades on the port beam and riding that another 300nm to Tortola. And yet I never hear of anyone doing this; maybe they just haven't posted? Or is there a reason not to that I'm not seeing? It's a 4-5 day passage from Provo vs a 10-11 day passage from FL (at least for my boat), and you avoid the DR & PR. Is there a reason not to do this? When I go south next, I do want to do the Exumas and Concepcion Island anyway, but I'd like to avoid the delay of waiting for weather at Luperon, and all the close-to-shore sailing along the north coast of the DR.

Has anyone done this short, modified I-65?
Last year we did a little bit of what you describe. The "classic" thornless path through the Bahamas, jumped to Mayaguana, T&C, then a long hop to Mayaquez, PR, then along the south coast of PR. We got lucky on a weather window from T&C to PR that worked well for us. No bashing, and just a bit of motoring. It wasn't "good planning" it was luck and being flexible to take advantage.

Track recorded here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?m...8043515626&z=9

Blog postings here: http://fetchinketch.net
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Old 29-10-2017, 19:28   #4
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Re: I-65 to BVI from Turks - Caicos

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The turks and caicos are already well into the trade wind zone at latitude 21 (more or less). Going east from there is going to be not much better than heading east further south. You have an adverse current too, and no katabatic effects to play with as you do when coasting along HIspaniola or PR. I wouldnt want to do my easting any further south than around 26 degrees
I understand you are in the trade wind zone, but if there were a weather window with winds from SE to S that was going to last even 48 hours, that would get you far enough east, I would think to at least make PR, if not the VI. I haven't studied how often said weather window appears, but I'll be watching the wind patterns over the next two months. As for current, I'm not seeing what you're seeing, but I have not spent a lot of time on that piece yet. From what little I can find regarding the Antilles Current, most of the current effect is south of the T&C, except for an area that extends out about 30 miles east of Grand Turk, and even then the current appears to be 1 knot or less. But all that said, I'm at the very beginning of thinking this through.
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Old 29-10-2017, 19:42   #5
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Re: I-65 to BVI from Turks - Caicos

Frankly.. Our run on the north coast of DR was relatively easy.. It was the bash between Turks and DR that sucked BIG TIME.

Every run is different.. Some people get a smooth run.. Others, not so much.. The "Thornless Path" has been followed by tons of people for a reason.. Same with I65.. Cause they work...

As the poster said above.. Trying the I65 south like that means you may get kicked (or maybe not).. However, not worth the risk to me.. I will follow a proven path..

P.S. Don't forget the third route some sailors take on the south of Haiti and DR.
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Old 29-10-2017, 19:42   #6
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Re: I-65 to BVI from Turks - Caicos

Thanks Billknny. That was sort of my thought about grabbing an opportunity. If I was in T&C, and hanging out, and it looked like decent weather for a run east, then even if I only got to Mayaguez, I'm better off. If, after a reasonable period of waiting, no such window occurred with SE to S winds, I could still cross to Luperon.

You have a beautiful boat, btw.
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Old 29-10-2017, 20:23   #7
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Re: I-65 to BVI from Turks - Caicos

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Thanks Billknny. That was sort of my thought about grabbing an opportunity. If I was in T&C, and hanging out, and it looked like decent weather for a run east, then even if I only got to Mayaguez, I'm better off. If, after a reasonable period of waiting, no such window occurred with SE to S winds, I could still cross to Luperon.

You have a beautiful boat, btw.
We do love our boat... she takes good care of us and we try hard to take good care of her.

We enjoyed our transit across the south coast of PR a lot. It was a nice place to visit and was a fairly easy way to move east, if you followed the thornless path principles! At least some of those towns (La Parguera was in the news recently for this) are having at least as much trouble from a lack of their normal tourists as from storm damage.

The worst thing to have on a sailboat is a schedule. It will get you in more trouble than anything else. Just by way of example, we have been waiting most of a week to leave the Chesapeake and head to Florida. Some of the boats that left 3 or 4 days ago got their butts kicked. We'll likely leave tomorrow and the forecast for the next 5 days looks perfect.

When we were in T&C so many people were fixated on the weather to get to the DR that they were not seeing the chance to jump all the way to PR. That's fine if you really want to go to the DR, but it wasn't on our list of "must visit" places, so we were more than happy to give it a pass last year. The year... Who knows?
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Old 30-10-2017, 13:15   #8
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Re: I-65 to BVI from Turks - Caicos

Firstly I have never done either, but hope to one day and have read extensively. One article from a major sailing mag a few years ago suggested that the best southern approach would be to cross to Great Harbor in the Berries, overnight, then head to I-65. Any further south would be in the trades. Perhaps you could google the article.
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Old 30-10-2017, 14:06   #9
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Re: I-65 to BVI from Turks - Caicos

Haven't done that, but have taken the 3rd option - as recommended by Frank Virgintino in his books & articles --- that is, Exumas to the Windward Passage (via Raggeds & Great Inagua), then hugging the south coasts of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. Timing of fronts for 24-48 hour winds from the S-W-N parts of the compass, and use of nighttime calms and katabatic winds off the mountainous coasts made it an easy, if longer distance, trip - and one with interesting and more off the beaten path stopovers and coastlines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ_n_Audrey View Post
Hi, there has been some discussion (not much) of the "Thornless Path" vs "Out and Down; I-65" to get to the BVI / USVI. Usually, if someone is avoiding the Bahamas, T&C, DR & PR, they go from FL or even NC out roughly 600 miles and head south at roughly 65W longitude for a roughly ten day passage. However, it seems to me that the part of the Thornless Path that sucks, and causes long delays, is waiting for weather in Luperon, and then beating from Luperon to Samana and past PR. Why not do the cruise through the Exumas, to Georgetown and on down to Providenciales, and then do the out and down? You're still going to have to wait for a weather window from Provo, but you only need about 48 hours of winds from SE to S to get east 300 miles before turning south with the trades on the port beam and riding that another 300nm to Tortola. And yet I never hear of anyone doing this; maybe they just haven't posted? Or is there a reason not to that I'm not seeing? It's a 4-5 day passage from Provo vs a 10-11 day passage from FL (at least for my boat), and you avoid the DR & PR. Is there a reason not to do this? When I go south next, I do want to do the Exumas and Concepcion Island anyway, but I'd like to avoid the delay of waiting for weather at Luperon, and all the close-to-shore sailing along the north coast of the DR.

Has anyone done this short, modified I-65?
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Old 29-01-2018, 05:08   #10
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Re: I-65 to BVI from Turks - Caicos

AJ did you ever make this trip?
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Old 29-01-2018, 05:21   #11
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Re: I-65 to BVI from Turks - Caicos

Have made the trip a few times, both directions and spent a few years cruising the Bahamas. My observations.

- All of the Bahamas are in the trade winds so trying to make I-65 your options
1. Wait for a shift in the trades to SE. Have never seen S unless there was a front coming through and then usually very briefly. Even the SE is more likely to be ESE.
2. Wait for a front.
3. Beat against the trades to reach I-65 or take a more NE track that adds miles to the trip.
4. I think the best and easiest, make the easting from farther north, departing central FL and sailing north of the Bahamas.

I made the trip on the south side of the Greater Antilles once and liked it. Lots of calms but we were able to sail some and motor in nice flat water.
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Old 29-01-2018, 06:15   #12
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Re: I-65 to BVI from Turks - Caicos

I wonder what the chances are of actually getting a good weather window that would allow someone to leave from T&C and make PR or UsVi?
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Old 29-01-2018, 06:43   #13
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Re: I-65 to BVI from Turks - Caicos

Entry fee to Bahamas is $300 and $50 for T&C for a week then $300 - so if you are waiting for a favorable weather window you could be in T&C for more than week. Total cost would cost $600 vs Nil for I65.
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Old 29-01-2018, 06:52   #14
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Re: I-65 to BVI from Turks - Caicos

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Entry fee to Bahamas is $300 and $50 for T&C for a week then $300 - so if you are waiting for a favorable weather window you could be in T&C for more than week. Total cost would cost $600 vs Nil for I65.
The flip side, 1100 nm and 10-14 days or so non stop FL to the VI or a couple of months island hopping through some beautiful cruising grounds.

Another plus, once south of Georgetown Exuma you will have most anchorages and beaches to yourself.
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Old 29-01-2018, 14:38   #15
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Re: I-65 to BVI from Turks - Caicos

DulceSuenos,

I did not make the trip. I think I will end up going Thornless Path; my ideas about this trip have evolved, and whereas previously I was eager to get to Culebra and points east. I now think I will enjoy the trip, and spend a month or two getting to Luperon. I'm also now thinking about revisiting the Abacos on the way down, even though it's a little out of the way, because I missed a few spots last time. So it will be Abacos, Eleuthera, Exumas, Long Island, Conception, Samana, Mayaguana, T&C, DR, PR, Spanish VI, USVI. And then probably on around the bend to Trinidad.

By the way, this year is a re-fit year with only east coast trips. The big trip was always planned for 2019.
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