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Old 01-04-2017, 11:18   #1
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Florida to Aruba in June

I'm looking to set sail in June from Florida to Aruba. I'd like to do this as quickly as possible. Departure points would be the St. Pete area or the Fort Lauderdale area. I'm aware of some substantial factors like hurricane season, trade winds and currents. Not the best timing, I know. But it's what I have to work with. I've done plenty of research into routes. Most of the departures I've seen occur during the winter months. Does anyone have any experience cruising south during the summer months? Any advice would be helpful. Thank you
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Old 01-04-2017, 11:42   #2
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Re: Florida to Aruba in June

If you look at the tropical cyclone climatology for the month of June, most storms form in the Gulf of Mexico, the western Caribbean, and in the Bahamas. You'd be smart to get through the Bahamas and southeast of Hispanola as quickly as possible.

Here's a link: Tropical Cyclone Climatology
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:03   #3
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Re: Florida to Aruba in June

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If you look at the tropical cyclone climatology for the month of June, most storms form in the Gulf of Mexico, the western Caribbean, and in the Bahamas. You'd be smart to get through the Bahamas and southeast of Hispanola as quickly as possible.



Here's a link: Tropical Cyclone Climatology


Excellent source of info. Thank you.
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:03   #4
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Re: Florida to Aruba in June

Make your easting in the lee of the northern Caribbean islands...it is hard bashing into the trades in the open Caribbean. Then it is a glorious 3-4 day reach south.

While I like Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao are better places to spend hurricane season than Aruba especially if you scuba dive.
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:19   #5
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Re: Florida to Aruba in June

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Make your easting in the lee of the northern Caribbean islands...it is hard bashing into the trades in the open Caribbean. Then it is a glorious 3-4 day reach south.

While I like Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao are better places to spend hurricane season than Aruba especially if you scuba dive.


Thank you! I'm looking to live in the area for bit and try to find work as captain. I'd love to do some diving in Bonaire though.
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:25   #6
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Re: Florida to Aruba in June

Before you try working you need to check local immigration/work rules. Cruisers trying to spend time in the ABC's time out on one island and go to the next. You usually only get 3 month stays.
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:28   #7
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Re: Florida to Aruba in June

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Before you try working you need to check local immigration/work rules. Cruisers trying to spend time in the ABC's time out on one island and go to the next. You usually only get 3 month stays.


Okay thanks. I'll look into it.
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:32   #8
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Re: Florida to Aruba in June

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Make your easting in the lee of the northern Caribbean islands...it is hard bashing into the trades in the open Caribbean.
Very good advise but one comment. By far the shortest, most direct route is through the Windward Passage. Summer trades tend to me more E or SE so the lee of the islands if any, would be the north coast of Cuba. That puts you in the Old Bahamas Channel which presents two problems. One you will be fighting a stronger current where the Gulf Stream is channeled into a narrower area. Second, few options on a place to stop if you need repairs, a rest or whatever.

From St Pete one could consider the Yucatan Channel but that gives up some of your easting and gives up the reach south from the Windward.

Depending on time available for the trip I would work my way through the Bahamas, enjoy the trip and hope for an occasional wind shift to help the trip.
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:50   #9
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Re: Florida to Aruba in June

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Very good advise but one comment. By far the shortest, most direct route is through the Windward Passage. Summer trades tend to me more E or SE so the lee of the islands if any, would be the north coast of Cuba. That puts you in the Old Bahamas Channel which presents two problems. One you will be fighting a stronger current where the Gulf Stream is channeled into a narrower area. Second, few options on a place to stop if you need repairs, a rest or whatever.



From St Pete one could consider the Yucatan Channel but that gives up some of your easting and gives up the reach south from the Windward.



Depending on time available for the trip I would work my way through the Bahamas, enjoy the trip and hope for an occasional wind shift to help the trip.


Thank you for the info.
There'll be 4 people on board 2 of them will have no sailing experience. I really wanted to take the Windward Passage via the Old Bahamas Channel and experience the south coast of Hispaniola. But knowing the experience level of my crew I've figured maybe just ride the Gulf stream north, tack east through the NW Providence Channel, continue east out into the Atlantic and you know the rest.
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Old 01-04-2017, 13:19   #10
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Re: Florida to Aruba in June

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Thank you for the info.
There'll be 4 people on board 2 of them will have no sailing experience. I really wanted to take the Windward Passage via the Old Bahamas Channel and experience the south coast of Hispaniola. But knowing the experience level of my crew I've figured maybe just ride the Gulf stream north, tack east through the NW Providence Channel, continue east out into the Atlantic and you know the rest.
With a less experienced crew I would avoid the NW P Channel and I-65. That route takes you far out into the ocean and to me I would consider that would require better crew than island hopping the Bahamas or the OB Channel. Also, in my experience you will be beating to go east from NW P Channel anyway. To get truly out of the trades and make easier easting you would need to leave from more or less Jacksonville.

I've made the trip east through the OB Channel twice and it wasn't that bad. Summer trades are usually lighter so you probably won't get beat up as much. If you can carry enough fuel you can make the trip in half the time and half the work by motorsailing. Run the engine a bit faster than idle, hoist the main to give you a little drive and stability and go for it.
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Old 01-04-2017, 13:32   #11
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Re: Florida to Aruba in June

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With a less experienced crew I would avoid the NW P Channel and I-65. That route takes you far out into the ocean and to me I would consider that would require better crew than island hopping the Bahamas or the OB Channel. Also, in my experience you will be beating to go east from NW P Channel anyway. To get truly out of the trades and make easier easting you would need to leave from more or less Jacksonville.



I've made the trip east through the OB Channel twice and it wasn't that bad. Summer trades are usually lighter so you probably won't get beat up as much. If you can carry enough fuel you can make the trip in half the time and half the work by motorsailing. Run the engine a bit faster than idle, hoist the main to give you a little drive and stability and go for it.


Right on! Thanks Skipmac. I appreciate the help.
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Old 01-04-2017, 14:16   #12
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Re: Florida to Aruba in June

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With a less experienced crew I would avoid the NW P Channel and I-65. That route takes you far out into the ocean and to me I would consider that would require better crew than island hopping the Bahamas or the OB Channel. Also, in my experience you will be beating to go east from NW P Channel anyway. To get truly out of the trades and make easier easting you would need to leave from more or less Jacksonville.



I've made the trip east through the OB Channel twice and it wasn't that bad. Summer trades are usually lighter so you probably won't get beat up as much. If you can carry enough fuel you can make the trip in half the time and half the work by motorsailing. Run the engine a bit faster than idle, hoist the main to give you a little drive and stability and go for it.


What about traffic while taking the OB Channel? I was thinking it would be pretty congested. Going north of the Bahamas and heading out into the Atlantic I figured my route could be a little more forgiving. But in the OB Channel, not so much. Your thoughts please. Or anyone else please contribute.
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Old 01-04-2017, 14:51   #13
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Re: Florida to Aruba in June

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What about traffic while taking the OB Channel? I was thinking it would be pretty congested. Going north of the Bahamas and heading out into the Atlantic I figured my route could be a little more forgiving. But in the OB Channel, not so much. Your thoughts please. Or anyone else please contribute.
Leaving south Florida headed SE to the OB Channel it was common to have several ships within 2-3 miles. In spots along the OB Channel and Windward Passage sometimes a few more. I think the most I recall in sight (call it 8-10 miles) were maybe a dozen. The couple of times I've been through the NW P Channel I saw plenty of ships there as well. That is the shipping route from Europe and the Med to Houston and NO which are two of the busiest ports in the US.

But always plenty of room, never had the slightest concern about a collision. Just don't fall asleep at the wheel.

This may be unpopular to say, but I have never had concerns about collisions with a ship. As long as you keep a proper lookout you can see them for miles and miles and have lots and lots of time to get out of the way (if you need to, most of them see you and adjust course).

Just to look at a totally stupid, worst case, never happen, never do this in the real world I ran the calculations on how much time it would take to avoid a collision if you decided, at the very last second to cross all the way across the bow of a large ship headed directly towards you. I forget the exact numbers but it was way less than a minute. If you can cross all the way in front of a ship doing 15-20 kts in 20-30 seconds then you could certainly gybe, tack or otherwise dodge any kind of collision in the same or less time IF you were asleep at the wheel and let a ship sneak up on you.

This does assume you keep a good lookout. Don't forget to look behind you and under the jib if it's blocking the view forward.
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Old 02-04-2017, 09:28   #14
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Re: Florida to Aruba in June

Curaceau whilst maybe not the most scenic of the ABCs is particularly yacht friendly. Free and safe dinghy access, local supermarket provides a bus for shopping to its well supplied and (especially after the other Caribbean islands) quite cheap store, gives you free coffe and tea after and a free return journey, possibly 4 miles each way! Having said that for the hurricane season if you are going further west after is to spend the season in Colombia, particularly Cartagena.......plenty to do and see for months at a time along with a safe friendly yacht club
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Old 02-04-2017, 16:18   #15
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Re: Florida to Aruba in June

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Leaving south Florida headed SE to the OB Channel it was common to have several ships within 2-3 miles. In spots along the OB Channel and Windward Passage sometimes a few more. I think the most I recall in sight (call it 8-10 miles) were maybe a dozen. The couple of times I've been through the NW P Channel I saw plenty of ships there as well. That is the shipping route from Europe and the Med to Houston and NO which are two of the busiest ports in the US.



But always plenty of room, never had the slightest concern about a collision. Just don't fall asleep at the wheel.



This may be unpopular to say, but I have never had concerns about collisions with a ship. As long as you keep a proper lookout you can see them for miles and miles and have lots and lots of time to get out of the way (if you need to, most of them see you and adjust course).



Just to look at a totally stupid, worst case, never happen, never do this in the real world I ran the calculations on how much time it would take to avoid a collision if you decided, at the very last second to cross all the way across the bow of a large ship headed directly towards you. I forget the exact numbers but it was way less than a minute. If you can cross all the way in front of a ship doing 15-20 kts in 20-30 seconds then you could certainly gybe, tack or otherwise dodge any kind of collision in the same or less time IF you were asleep at the wheel and let a ship sneak up on you.



This does assume you keep a good lookout. Don't forget to look behind you and under the jib if it's blocking the view forward.


That's interesting. Thanks for getting back to me Skipmac. I appreciate the advice. I most definitely will always have a proper lookout.
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