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Old 03-10-2017, 13:51   #1
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Non-stop to Bahamas from Halifax, Canada - in late fall: Suicide? Advice please.

Ahoy forum of cruisers! We've found ourselves exiled in Halifax, Nova Scotia - stripped of documents, until now, and made inadmissible to USA, by Canadian Immigration and Citizenship. These things happen... cry me a river, I know...

Point is, we're on a pretty, little, fiberglass, Beneteau 46 footer, with no insulation, no heat and a coffee-grinder motor, that we don't want to freeze into the ice like Shackleton. So we gotta get it south of winter, and the closest land we're allowed onto is Bahamas.

Is a run like this even doable in a boat like that? We sailed it up here, from Charleston, SC, non-stop, in fact... all downwind (or no wind) and it was the middle of summer! Walk in the proverbial park. I don't imagine the reverse, at this time of year will be quite as pleasant.

Oh yeah, and it's just the two of us chicks (just putting that in so you know how big and tough we are). We're pretty experienced sailors, and we've got the swearing down, pat... in several languages. So we're good to go, but any advice would be most appreciated.
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Old 03-10-2017, 14:32   #2
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Re: Non-stop to Bahamas from Halifax, Canada - in late fall: Suicide? Advice please.

Can you stop in Bermuda? Either for a rest/weather-window or to stay?
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Old 03-10-2017, 14:45   #3
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Re: Non-stop to Bahamas from Halifax, Canada - in late fall: Suicide? Advice please.

Water and weather are the main issues. It's a fairly long trip so you'll need plenty of drinking water. Weather particularly at Hatteras can be ugly but I've sailed outside to Florida starting from the Chesapeake as late as Thanksgiving.
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Old 03-10-2017, 15:10   #4
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Re: Non-stop to Bahamas from Halifax, Canada - in late fall: Suicide? Advice please.

It looks like we're admissible to Bermuda for the usual six months. Thanks for pointing that out! I just kind of forgot it was there. What's the implications for getting there from Halifax?

The boat has a 30 liter/hour watermaker, so we good for H2O, and we're piling on the groceries. We're good with long passages, as long as the weather doesn't kill us or the boat.
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Old 03-10-2017, 15:21   #5
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Re: Non-stop to Bahamas from Halifax, Canada - in late fall: Suicide? Advice please.

You are still in high hurricane season. The later in the year you go the closer to fall/winter storms you will be. It's a delicate trade-off. If you get to the Bahamas or the Eastern Caribbean prior to December then you will also need a plan on where to head if a named storm shows up. Bermuda then eastern Carib might be a good way to breakup the passage.
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Old 03-10-2017, 15:26   #6
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Re: Non-stop to Bahamas from Halifax, Canada - in late fall: Suicide? Advice please.

It's less than 700 miles. With weather luck, your boat will get you there in five days. Don't leave Halifax until you have wind aft of the beam.It's a long slog upwind. Obviously, no hurricanes.

If you get going soon, there's nothing unusually difficult about going to Bermuda in mid October. November get's a lot tougher.

Be sure to have a way to get weather forecasts. It's possible to get a first winter storm in October. Especially watch for something forming around Hatteras and marching out to you. Get north or south of it before it gets to you (preferably south). Consider getting an InReach ($300). You can get weather and also text friends ashore who can give advice.

Bermuda's a fun place for two sailor gals who can curse. It's also far enough south that you can continue onto the Bahamas anytime after hurricane season. Check Hatteras too but most of those storms track well north of Bermuda.
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Old 03-10-2017, 15:35   #7
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Re: Non-stop to Bahamas from Halifax, Canada - in late fall: Suicide? Advice please.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgan Stone View Post
and made inadmissible to USA, by Canadian Immigration and Citizenship.
Canada cannot make you inadmissible to the US. Only the US can do that.
Please explain.
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Old 03-10-2017, 15:43   #8
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Re: Non-stop to Bahamas from Halifax, Canada - in late fall: Suicide? Advice please.

The run to Bermuda is probably doable, but you will be at risk for some off weather. Actually Windy is predicting a reasonable window now through 12 Oct., but that can change.

Still think it might be better to hug the coast with some longer coastal runs, so you can duck inside if needed. What happens if you theoretically never get off your boat and stepped on to land??

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Old 03-10-2017, 15:54   #9
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Re: Non-stop to Bahamas from Halifax, Canada - in late fall: Suicide? Advice please.

Go to Bermuda, it is lovely warm and nice you will want to stay and have a Dark and Stormy for me fair winds
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Old 03-10-2017, 15:59   #10
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Re: Non-stop to Bahamas from Halifax, Canada - in late fall: Suicide? Advice please.

Hi there. I did the Halifax - Bermuda trip last year and will be doing it again later this month. It's best to wait until later in October (I've left as late as Nov 11 but that's pushing it a bit). The prevailing winds start to shift from SW to W or NW. Much nicer ride. It's about 740NM from here to St. Georges. That should only be 5 or 6 days on your boat.
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Old 03-10-2017, 16:04   #11
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Re: Non-stop to Bahamas from Halifax, Canada - in late fall: Suicide? Advice please.

Heya- totally doable. It's all about picking your weather window. Grant has it about right- as do others. Pm me and I may be able to help you with picking a window. Can certainly show you how we do it anyway. Done that run a fair number of times now... lost track to be honest. Where are you in halifax?
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Old 04-10-2017, 08:43   #12
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Re: Non-stop to Bahamas from Halifax, Canada - in late fall: Suicide? Advice please.

The problem sailing south from anywhere in the NE and more so from Nova Scotia is that you squeezed between two potential weather problems.

Hurricanes. Leave too early or a late season hurricane develops and you can get hammered. Odds decrease towards late Oct but the risk is still significant into Dec.

Nor'easters also called low pressure systems, cold fronts, Canada Clippers, northers, etc. Leave too late and the risk of a cold front increases. The odds for fronts increases late Oct but can happen almost anytime, especially if you are farther north.

The other problem is the route from Nova Scotia to the Bahamas leaves you far offshore with no where to bail out if one of these systems heads your way. You can track the weather and try to route around it but at the end of the day you're out there.

Lots of people do it and arrive safe and sound. A few people get hammered but still arrive safe but a little worse for wear. Every year or two an early or late system hits the southbound boats and someone is lost. Remember the movie The Perfect Storm?
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Old 04-10-2017, 08:47   #13
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Re: Non-stop to Bahamas from Halifax, Canada - in late fall: Suicide? Advice please.

10 years ago in early Nov sailed on a freighter down the Saint Lawrence to Halifax.
several times i would go out on deck to have a smoke and i'll tell you it was snotty weather --i quit smoking after that trip
Pick your window of travel and plan deakin spots should it get bad
I have a 90 " power boat and here on the west coast of Canada i always have backup holes that i can slide into and sit it out especially in the winter months
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Old 04-10-2017, 09:00   #14
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Re: Non-stop to Bahamas from Halifax, Canada - in late fall: Suicide? Advice please.

Weather window and 100 miles from coast max. I have been associated with two traditional large sail vessels, each went down on October 29, off Hatteras. Perfect storm and Sandy. Longer but safer.
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Old 04-10-2017, 09:00   #15
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Re: Non-stop to Bahamas from Halifax, Canada - in late fall: Suicide? Advice please.

Let me stir up a hornets nest here. I've done all the legs of that trip, and to sail by Bermuda without stopping seems worse than a shame. It's been my understanding that a ship may stop in any port as necessary for safety, including respite from weather, need for necessary repairs, need to replenish exhausted provisions or water, etc. The process falls under entry "under protest". At this point, my betters, maritime lawyers, armchair lawyers and the like, can jump in to educate us all on that process, clarifying whether it's the maritime equivalent of urban myth or legitimate.
If you were to enter Bermuda at St. Georges using that process, they would want to see what the emergency was, which in your case would most likely have to do with provisions or weather, and your stay would probably be limited to the time necessary to set things right. It might also be that Elena could not leave the boat, but it would give you at least a couple of nights of rest at anchor, and the chance to replenish food, fuel, and water, as needed.
Now let me duck, as folks launch their assaults.
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