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Old 18-05-2024, 13:31   #1
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avoiding hurricane season in the carib/bahamas?

Super newb question, but I'm a little confused as how to avoid hurricane season if you want to live on your boat and spend a year or two in the bahamas/carribean/central america. Say anywhere between florida/bahamas and venezuela to the east, and along the central american coastline to the west.

As I understand it, bahamas and carribean is risky June - Oct, so where do you go then if you're a full-time liveaboard without desire to cross the atlantic or go through the panama canal?
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Old 18-05-2024, 14:08   #2
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pirate Re: avoiding hurricane season in the carib/bahamas?

Grenada, Trinidad.. Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao..
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Old 19-05-2024, 04:10   #3
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Re: avoiding hurricane season in the carib/bahamas?

I'm going to go a different route than @boatman61. I believe that it isn't necessary to stay south of the hurricane zone for the whole season. Modern weather reporting has gotten much more accurate and timelier.

Avoiding hurricanes during the season is much easier when you are aboard the boat and mobile. Staying in the windward/leeward chain during season is a matter of remaining wary and cognizant of the weather. Once a tropical wave (every two weeks) looks like it might form and come close, you will have a lot of time to avoid the storm. Assuming you are in St. Martin you would only need 3-4 days to get all the way south to Grenada.

If you are in Guadeloupe or points south the "escape distance" is much lower and many of the storms will have already tracked to the north and thus are no longer a direct problem. The danger is rationalization and procrastination. If you think "that won't become a problem" and postpone your plans, then you might find yourself in a bind without enough time to safely flee south and then things get hairy.
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Old 19-05-2024, 04:16   #4
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Re: avoiding hurricane season in the carib/bahamas?

Personally, I get north of Norfolk by June 1 or south to Panama and the San Blas by then. Some people hole up in the Rio Dulce, but I don't like to be trapped, and they get an occasional bad storm there too. There are many "snowbirds" who do the north-south thing up and down the East Coast, ending up in the Bahamas for the winter. If you haven't done so, there is tremendous cruising from the Chesapeake north and it is much more comfortable in New England or Canada in the summer!
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Old 19-05-2024, 04:39   #5
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pirate Re: avoiding hurricane season in the carib/bahamas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post
I'm going to go a different route than @boatman61. I believe that it isn't necessary to stay south of the hurricane zone for the whole season. Modern weather reporting has gotten much more accurate and timelier.

Avoiding hurricanes during the season is much easier when you are aboard the boat and mobile. Staying in the windward/leeward chain during season is a matter of remaining wary and cognizant of the weather. Once a tropical wave (every two weeks) looks like it might form and come close, you will have a lot of time to avoid the storm. Assuming you are in St. Martin you would only need 3-4 days to get all the way south to Grenada.

If you are in Guadeloupe or points south the "escape distance" is much lower and many of the storms will have already tracked to the north and thus are no longer a direct problem. The danger is rationalization and procrastination. If you think "that won't become a problem" and postpone your plans, then you might find yourself in a bind without enough time to safely flee south and then things get hairy.
I agree with Zanshin, personally I would do the same but it all boils down to an individual's risk capacity and willingness to move around or just sit and 'hang out'..
Many don't like Aruba, Bonaire because it involves a beat to weather or a 3-4 day run N to say the BVI's to get back to the chain.
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Old 19-05-2024, 05:59   #6
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Re: avoiding hurricane season in the carib/bahamas?

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I'm going to go a different route than @boatman61.... Modern weather reporting has gotten much more accurate and timelier.....Avoiding hurricanes during the season is much easier when you are aboard the boat and mobile.....Once a tropical wave (every two weeks) looks like it might form and come close, you will have a lot of time to avoid the storm......
All can say is 'wow.' Really? A lot of time to make a decision? Do you really think you'll know what direction to evacuate? Gotta wonder how long you've been in hurricane areas, but maybe the lower Caribbean is more consistent. Hurricanes are surprisingly unredictable. I live along the central Gulf Coast of Florida and I've evacuated a handful of times - twice I ended up getting hit with more storm (inland) than if I'd stayed home. Hurricane Irma (2017) being the most notable as I thought my house was a goner when I left with as much stuff as I could carry.

Two very recent boatingexamples also suggest it's not that easy.......

1. Hurricane Ian (Cat 5 Fort Myers FL 2022). Was forecast for days to head north and make landfall near Clearwater Fl. A good friend of mine in Clearwater seriously thought about moving his boat south to Cayo Costa 125 miles south. A few days before, the forecast started to drift north, then within 48 of landfall, Ian made a hard right turn and hit Cayo Costa as a Cat 5 - the exact place he would have evacuated his boat to.

2. Hurricane Otis last October. Think you have time to make a decision? So did the poor folks in Acapulco. Otis wasn't even a named storm until just a few days before it struck, and even then it was a tropical depression. At 7AM on October 24th 2023, Otis was declared a Hurricane. "Rapidly intensifying" is an understatement. By noon the next day, it was estimated at Cat 3. It hit Acapulco that night as a strong Cat 5 - meaning in about 40-hours, it went from a Tropical Depression to a Cat 5.

There's a reason Insurance Companies won't insure you......
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Old 19-05-2024, 06:26   #7
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pirate Re: avoiding hurricane season in the carib/bahamas?

Well Zanshin sails a 57ftr so he could likely do the 420nm from St Martin to Grenada in a couple of days and a bit..
On the other hand my preference <35ft boat could take upto 4 days to do the trip..
As I said above, it all boils down to personal risk tolerance..
https://www.worlddata.info/america/a...ate%20November.
https://www.worlddata.info/america/g...2%BBBret%C2%AB.
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Old 19-05-2024, 06:26   #8
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Re: avoiding hurricane season in the carib/bahamas?

If you are staying full time on board I feel like you can stay.

You’ll be there if a storm starts heading your way. In that event just sail to a port that isn’t going to get hit.

Return after storm passes.
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Old 19-05-2024, 06:43   #9
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Re: avoiding hurricane season in the carib/bahamas?

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Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
All can say is 'wow.' Really? A lot of time to make a decision? Do you really think you'll know what direction to evacuate? Gotta wonder how long you've been in hurricane areas, but maybe the lower Caribbean is more consistent...
There's a reason Insurance Companies won't insure you......
There is only one safe direction to go in the Caribbean chain - south. I've been cruising here in the Caribbean for over 20 years. Anyone who waits until a weather system that could form into a named storm is only 2-3 days away has not been paying attention to the weather. Approximately every 2 weeks a system comes off Africa and has the potential to grow. Once the system has reached your latitude (and is far enough eastwards) you can relax. If the system looks like it might go south of your location, then it is time to make a decision and to not change it. Northwards is always dangerous, they don't call the NW zone of a named storm the "death quadrant" without cause.

As to insurance - Insurers will insure a boat in the hurricane zone when a there's a storm plan. @mvweebles I don't know why you make the assumption that I can't get insurance?
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Old 19-05-2024, 09:23   #10
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Re: avoiding hurricane season in the carib/bahamas?

So if your hurricane plan is to sail south and the track changes and you end up getting damaged by the hurricane, will your insurer cover the loss?
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Old 19-05-2024, 09:55   #11
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Re: avoiding hurricane season in the carib/bahamas?

@mvweebles - yes, the insurer will cover losses if you have a hurricane evacuation plan and stick to it. But your question is moot, since Caribbean hurricanes don't go south and not to my escape destination in Grenada. The reason that these storms don't track south is called Coriolis force and is also the reason why there are no hurricanes as you get closer to the equator.
Here's a challenge - Use NOAA Hurricane tracking tool and find one that went south while still in the Atlantic and made landfall in Caribbean chain. The URL is NOAA Hurricane Tracking Tool
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Old 19-05-2024, 10:43   #12
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Re: avoiding hurricane season in the carib/bahamas?

I spent the hurricane season in Antigua in 2001. It is less crowded. The restaurants are easier to get into. The winds were Flukey, so Club races could be slow or canceled altogether so we could get to the Bar sooner.

We were lucky that year in that all the hurricanes went north or south of Antigua.
There was a drought on the island, which made the local produce hard to find.
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Old 19-05-2024, 11:32   #13
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Re: avoiding hurricane season in the carib/bahamas?

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Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post
@mvweebles - yes, the insurer will cover losses if you have a hurricane evacuation plan and stick to it. But your question is moot, since Caribbean hurricanes don't go south and not to my escape destination in Grenada. The reason that these storms don't track south is called Coriolis force and is also the reason why there are no hurricanes as you get closer to the equator.
Here's a challenge - Use NOAA Hurricane tracking tool and find one that went south while still in the Atlantic and made landfall in Caribbean chain. The URL is NOAA Hurricane Tracking Tool
Sounds like you have it figured out. Best of luck.
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Old 19-05-2024, 14:33   #14
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Re: avoiding hurricane season in the carib/bahamas?

The hurricanes don't read the NHC book. Read The Ship and the Storm and the El Faro NTSB report. The common thread was that both storms went south in spite of their forecast track. Net result was 65 lives were lost.
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Old 19-05-2024, 17:21   #15
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Re: avoiding hurricane season in the carib/bahamas?

Hurricane Ivan in 2004 decimated Grenada.
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