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Old 09-09-2021, 08:06   #1
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Sailing from Charlestone to Carribean in January

Hello we have just put our 42 Halberg-Rassy on hard in Charlestone. We plan to be back in mid January to go South to Carribean, ultimately Grenada.

We are trying to choose between:
A) route via Bermudas
B) direct path via I-65
C) Bahamas (Marsh Harbour) T&C

We are trying to weight risk of winter storms on A) and B) vs. upwind "thorny path" C).

Weather depending does it make sense to try middle ground between B) and C) : i.e. going west from Marsh Harbor or T&C and then turning south?

Thanks.
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Old 09-09-2021, 08:54   #2
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Re: Sailing from Charlestone to Carribean in January

January is a tough time of the year to consider the (A) and (B) options, especially from Charleston. More or less peak winter time. Can be done off course, but timing would be everything. The HR 42 is good ocean boat, if you are bundled up and prepared to take your lumps.

Winter storms can....and do....reach quite south.

Storms/inclement weather are usually of the frontal nature. If you time them right, option (C) may be your best shot, but it requires time (sometimes a lot of time) to wait for optimum weather. A lot of people wait in the WPB or Ft. Lauderdale area or even further south. It's a timing game, to get across the Gulf Stream without a nor-easter. You could get lucky and zip right across or may have to wait a long time. After that, again, with timing, you can ride the fronts south a long ways.

Many people opt for option (C)...make it to George Town in the Exuma's, get involved in the local party scene and go no further..

Your question seems to indicate your experience level, which would make option (A) and (B) questionable.

My 2c......
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Old 09-09-2021, 09:06   #3
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Re: Sailing from Charlestone to Carribean in January

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Originally Posted by MicHughV View Post
January is a tough time of the year to consider the (A) and (B) options, especially from Charleston. More or less peak winter time. Can be done off course, but timing would be everything. The HR 42 is good ocean boat, if you are bundled up and prepared to take your lumps.

Winter storms can....and do....reach quite south.

Storms/inclement weather are usually of the frontal nature. If you time them right, option (C) may be your best shot, but it requires time (sometimes a lot of time) to wait for optimum weather. A lot of people wait in the WPB or Ft. Lauderdale area or even further south. It's a timing game, to get across the Gulf Stream without a nor-easter. You could get lucky and zip right across or may have to wait a long time. After that, again, with timing, you can ride the fronts south a long ways.

Many people opt for option (C)...make it to George Town in the Exuma's, get involved in the local party scene and go no further..

Your question seems to indicate your experience level, which would make option (A) and (B) questionable.

My 2c......
=======================================
As MicHughV raised excellent points

I discussed going south with the Clark's from Jennifer Clark weather services, and they brought up the same caveats, however they have routed sailors on the winter.
I am considering, but not overly optimistic.
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Old 09-09-2021, 10:33   #4
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Re: Sailing from Charlestone to Carribean in January

We went south from Charleston in late Jan, early Feb 3-4 years ago. Freezing temps all the way from Charleston south until we got to Ft. Lauderdale. WE were on the ocean, close to the coast. Waited in Miami for a window and crossed to nassau, rolled outside and got to Turks and Caicos.

Christmas winds were blowing (apparent winds 25 knots+ on the nose) so we ended up sailing close-hauled for 5 days before finally bailing out and making for San Juan (original target - St. Maarten)

Trip is doable, but you will have a rough ride
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Old 09-09-2021, 14:14   #5
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Re: Sailing from Charlestone to Carribean in January

The Gulf Stream can be crossed in a nor'easter.....I've done it, and many delivery skippers have done it.
It will be boisterous for sure, and not for the meek.
You will certainly have to prepare yourself, your crew and your boat for a lumpy ride.
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Old 10-09-2021, 09:00   #6
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Re: Sailing from Charlestone to Carribean in January

There is no easy way unfortunately. If you could get to to Dominican Republic and have someone keep an eye on the weather for you, it might be the easiest way.
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Old 10-09-2021, 11:48   #7
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Re: Sailing from Charlestone to Carribean in January

I’ve done all three pairs. The roof by Bermuda is just too cold to be comfortable that time of the year so while you may like cold I like feeling my fingers.

Route 65 is just fine the first day or so to cross the golf stream is chilly but after that it’s OK. I prefer the island hop on the thorny route because you could pick your weather windows for comfortable sailing and you get to see lots of nice places. If you have the time I would Take Route three.
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Old 10-09-2021, 13:19   #8
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Re: Sailing from Charlestone to Carribean in January

Personally, I would throw out going to Bermuda unless you just want to go see Bermuda for the fun of Bermuda. But from a passage point of view, it adds about 400miles to a 1,400 mile rhum line, so is out of the way even considering that you want to do some Easting before going S.E... but you don't need to go that far East... Now the rhum line brings you within 200 miles of the Bahama/Turks islands and follows along them for much of the trip... So I would ask you, do you have no interest in the Bahamas? Maybe you've been there a dozen times and just want to get to the Caribbean? If not, then I would go the Island route and enjoy... But I don't know how much time you have and how important getting to the Caribbean is. Certainly the boat is capable of any of the routes, but are you?

We sailed straight from Ocean City, MD to St. Martin. No stop in Bermuda because of sea sickness that takes 3-4 days to get over. We used a free online routing service, fastseas.com which will text your garmin in-reach updated routes but only uses GFS weather. You can get better routing by paying for predict wind or a human service provider. FWIW Other than easting across the gulf stream @ hattereas, we weren't far off the direct rhum line. Just a slight elbow where we tacked from starboard to port @ 24N 65W. Never got closer than 300 miles to Bermuda. 12.5 days in late May, so no winter storms
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Old 10-09-2021, 15:50   #9
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Re: Sailing from Charlestone to Carribean in January

If you don't mind getting a bit of wind the direct route is probably doable, but much easier in November. Would be cold until across the Gulfstream, and then again when a Norther comes through, which you are pretty much assured of getting at least twice on the way. If you don't mind some weather can be OK, but not a pleasure cruise by any stretch.


If I had to do it I would pick a window to get across the GS and then just plan on a bouncy ride.
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Old 10-09-2021, 16:00   #10
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Re: Sailing from Charlestone to Carribean in January

I've tried searching on the Internet to find Charlestone but it's not found. I've never heard of it. Where is it?
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Old 10-09-2021, 17:34   #11
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Re: Sailing from Charlestone to Carribean in January

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I've tried searching on the Internet to find Charlestone but it's not found. I've never heard of it. Where is it?
Just north of Bewfort
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Old 10-09-2021, 17:54   #12
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Re: Sailing from Charlestone to Carribean in January

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Just north of Bewfort
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Old 10-09-2021, 18:17   #13
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Re: Sailing from Charlestone to Carribean in January

I thought it was pronounced "Bowfurt".... ???
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Old 10-09-2021, 18:34   #14
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Re: Sailing from Charlestone to Carribean in January

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I thought it was pronounced "Bowfurt".... ???
What? You’ve never heard of ‘Beaufort T Justice’ 😃
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Old 10-09-2021, 18:56   #15
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Re: Sailing from Charlestone to Carribean in January

We’re big chickens. Just do the Bahamas from Florida and back each year. Can confirm what others have said that indeed cold fronts make it into the Exumas through March and even into April some years. The fronts pulse through every 3 to 5 days with winds clocking from northeast to south, then blow hard out of the south west and and harder out of the west and north west and finally back to north east. The weather windows no matter the direction you go are short.
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