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Old 12-09-2018, 14:02   #1
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Where to Wait

Hope to start our boat search in the next year and a half, getting closer to retirement. Question: After you buy your boat where is it safe to sit waiting for the November crossing of the Gulf.

This goes into the decision to purchase in the U.S. or buy already down in the islands somewhere. I always have felt that a big part of the adventure would be getting down thru the Bahamas for the first season, then shoot quickly down to Grenada, sit out the hurricane season, then enjoy the lower caribbean next season and possibly go to ABC Islands second hurricane season, just a rough plan. Didn't really like the idea of buying already half way down. However, with all these hurricane's it doesn't seem that anyplace on the East coast is safe to be before you would leave. Yet you have to be someplace getting sailing experience and preparing the boat. Is it any safer to sit in Texas? What have others done to stay safe before going South?

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Old 12-09-2018, 16:50   #2
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Re: Where to Wait

Buy your boat in the Chesapeake region. Sail the Chesapeake and make a run or two up or down the coast for the experience. Then join the ARC or Salty Dog rally in early November to get to the Windward Islands. Catch the Bahamas on the way north at the end of the season.

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Old 12-09-2018, 17:41   #3
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Location: Bumping around the Caribbean
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Where to Wait

The November date is not related to the gulfstream. You can cross that anytime with favorable wind and even not depending on your point of sail.

The November date is related to the end of hurricane season. So you can keep your boat pretty much anywhere on the east coast although your insurance will vary depending on location: itís cheaper in season to be in or north if the Chesapeake.

That said, a whole slew of boats depart the Bay starting in November. Some go down the ICW, some go offshore.

The problem with your plan of working your way down through the islands is the prevailing SE winds. I know more than a few people who have gotten stuck in the southern Bahamas or DR because all the windward work got to be too much. Once you get to the Virgins it gets easier. Itís getting there that can be a real chore.

Thatís the point of the rallies that Sparkx mentioned: get all your easting in up north where the winds for it are more favorable, then dive south.
"Having a yacht is reason for being more cheerful than most." -Kurt Vonnegut
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Old 13-09-2018, 01:10   #4
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Re: Where to Wait

We did what you write of doing...bought a boat in the Islands, one hurricane season in Grenada and Trinidad and three in the ABC's...sailing back to the US just before hurricane season is just hard work. That plan allows you to get experience without the hard work and risk of 'getting down island.'

You should develop criteria for your 'ideal' boat and start looking in the US but if the ideal boat is in the islands, like our's was, then buy in the islands.

Getting down island from the Chesapeake is not a benign proposition, two of the most experienced circumnavigators I know argue strongly against the trip. I have done the trip 5 times, however, 4 of the 5 trips were from much further south than the Chesapeake and in the Spring having wintered in Florida and the Bahamas. The trip is based on the false proposition that

'there is a weather window between the last TS and the first winter storm on or about the 1st of November.'

Several boats and at least one life have been lost in early winter storms and it is only a matter of time before a TS/ hurricane catches the fleet off-shore.

The 'Thornless path' of Van Sant was just too much windward work, the off-shore route is much easier providing you start south of Hatteras. More motoring but less chance of getting caught by a winter storm in the Gulf Stream.

Enjoy, we spent 6 years in the Caribbean and loved every minute.

"Remember, experience only means that you screw-up less often."
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Old 13-09-2018, 06:25   #5
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Re: Where to Wait

Thanks for the advice. May be better to buy in the virgin island area, get experience sailing there for a season, then drop to Grenada or over to Bonaire. We both enjoy diving but have very little experience sailing larger boats, only 1 week to date. Sounds like that would be the safer route with the minimal sailing experience we have.
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