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Old 17-07-2023, 07:12   #1
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Passage from Annapolis MD to Tortola BVI's

Hi All,

I am planning to passage from Annapolis MD to Tortola BVI's in mid to late October 2023. I am looking for some route options/itinerary/timelines.. etc.

Cheers
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Old 17-07-2023, 18:48   #2
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Re: Passage from Annapolis MD to Tortola BVI's

Try to avoid Hurricanes. Might be tricky. Would earlier be better?
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Old 17-07-2023, 19:15   #3
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Re: Passage from Annapolis MD to Tortola BVI's

I assume you are on a sailboat, although you do not say.

I have done this, or similar, trips many times. From Annapolis, sail to Norfolk, and hang there at anchor or marina--as you prefer--for the right weather to continue.

At that time of year there is a remote chance of a hurricane. Watch for them and plan accordingly. They do not pop up as surprises. This being a strong el Nino year, the Atlantic hurricane season is likely to be mild, but that is just an educated guess.

From Norfolk, you want to make easting as far and fast as you can. Heck, sail to Bermuda if that is of interest to you. Close to the coast the prevailing winds are from the southeast, and once you get further offshore, they tend more to the east/northeast.

The traditional advice is to sail east until you get to about 65 degrees west, then tack and reach to your destination in the Caribbean. That traditional advice is still the best. That route will be 8 to 10 days.

If you are not comfortable with open ocean sailing, and insist on a coastal route, you will end up beating your brains out in an upwind slog. Some people prefer that. We do not. If you leave the coast from further south than Charleston, the trip gets a lot less pleasant as you will spend almost all of your time hard on the wind.

I hope you have done some of your own research on this as well...
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Old 17-07-2023, 19:29   #4
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Re: Passage from Annapolis MD to Tortola BVI's

There is the Sawlty Dog Rally if you want company https://www.saltydawgsailing.org/caribbean-rally


Many sail direct from Virgina but you need a nice weather window and absence of northern storms particularly crossing the gulf stream and of course late season hurricanes.



We did the mostly 1-2 day hops down to Florida then Abacos then due east for 500 miles (approx) and then south to BVI - about 8 -10 nights at sea. This section was based on north winds for the first few days before they clock NE- E and become can be quite boisterous on a tight reach to the BVI especially if the northern wind system also delivers a big northern swell against a E, hopefully not SE trade wind.
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Old 17-07-2023, 21:04   #5
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Re: Passage from Annapolis MD to Tortola BVI's

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingHarmonie View Post
I This being a strong el Nino year, the Atlantic hurricane season is likely to be mild
It been a light el nino and many meteorologists have already revised their Hurricane prediction UP.

Plus the sand from Africa is slowing down and the Atlantic is as hot as its ever been (hot tub level) which is favoring easier development.

Be careful in October. Thats when they also seem to track more northerly and toward the NE coast of the US.
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Old 17-07-2023, 21:09   #6
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Re: Passage from Annapolis MD to Tortola BVI's

Head toward Bermuda. When you get to 66°W, turn south. It's around ten days Chesapeake to Tortola.
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Old 18-07-2023, 04:35   #7
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Re: Passage from Annapolis MD to Tortola BVI's

I've done this trip a couple of times as well. I take my time sailing down the Chesapeake and then clear out of the USA in Norfolk. As with what @SailingHarmonie wrote, wait there until the right weather window comes. I've done this twice in December, which is far too late (due to inclement weather). In addition to doing my own weather planning, I have used the services of Chris Parker before, with great success. The old "Route 66" adage of getting easting before turning south hasn't worked for me. I usually have weather systems making Bermuda uninteresting but going on pretty much a straight course, keeping as far to the east as possible, has been best. But that's using 6-8 knots speed, which allows for good routing between the weather systems. A slower boat might need to use different tactics.

As to TRS (tropical revolving storms) it is a difficult time of year for long-range planning. The waves come off Africa about every two week and each of them has the potential to start revolving. Remember that a tropical storm can have winds just 1MPH lower than a hurricane - there's no discernible difference in destructive power at that level. The last hurricane of the year, during the weather pattern change, can meander all over the place and even head east. Hence the need for good weather routing.

I've now got a StarLink and that is a game changer when offshore. While I previously had my SSB and Pactor modem for digital GRIB files, I can now get a semi-live Satellite video feed of my location, while offshore! This high-speed and reliable communication system makes it much easier to adapt to changing conditions at sea. Yet I still like using a weather professional, making logic-based decisions on routing. Aboard, at sea, it is easy to rationalize and choose badly.
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