> Assuming that BigBliss is still in the loop and leaving in November - which is an excellent month for going down island as there is a window of 2-3 weeks when the winds are reversed - blowing from the west - or are zero'ed out.
> I accompanied and assisted a pair of Nordic
Tug 42 footers down island a few years ago. The optimum power boat route
is from Miami
non-stop to Nassau
via Gun Cay (Triangle Rocks wpt - Explorer Charts) then Northwest Channel Lite to Nassau
which is about 160 nm and after crossing the Gulfstream you can run at optimum cruising speed across the banks. Nassau has a large power
yacht community and it is the last place to get a decent fuel
> From Nassau it is a fast run halfway down the west side and then down the east side of the Exumas
, Great Exumas
- about 130 nm. No bargains on fuel
although there is a marina at Georgetown
> From Georgetown it is 200 nm to Mayaguana (the last Bahamas
island and no fuel) and if you can do the range another 60 nm to Provo in the Caicos Islands. This leg can be smooth or rough so speeds might be limited. They have good power
yacht facilities at Caicos although the fuel is not cheap
> From here you need to decide if the weather
is good enough to head
for Puerto Plata (Ocean World Marina - a power yacht marina) at 150 nm or continue on to Samana - on the east coast
of the Dominican Republic
- 270 nm from Provo or continue to Punta Cana (power yacht marina) at 330 nm from Provo.
> Luperon is not set up for Power Yachts, especially for refueling - although it can be done.
> From the departure from Long Cay, Caicos Island all the way to the east coast
of Puerto Rico
you are going to encounter the strong trades and head-on seas as previously mentioned by others. Normal is 20-25 knots (+your boat
speed) and 6 to 10 foot seas. The 42' Nordic
Tugs could only manage 9.5 kts and still be safely comfortable. Higher speeds were too hard on the crew and hull
and the fuel burn increased drastically. Slower speeds and the boats rolled too much.
> Samana is not set up for Power Yachts although there is a fuel pump
on the government dock
. Punta Cana, further down the eastern side of the D.R. is a mainly Power Yacht facility - - and - it positions you below the Hourglass Shoal for the narrowest crossing of the Mona Passage
to Puerto Rico
. It is 35 nm to Isla Mona and another 45 nm to Boqueron, Puerto Rico. You can stop at Isla Mona to break the crossing into 2 daylight runs. The Mona Passage
is not known for benign conditions so you will be speed limited by the waves and winds. Boqueron does have a yacht club for refueling if necessary. The big reason to stopping in Boqueron is to clear back into USA
by taking a taxi service
to the Customs/Immigration at Mayaguez. The officials there are consistently polite and low key and the process is quick and painless. (At Ponce there are a few individual officials that can make your day a nightmare if they are on-duty that day.)
> It is only 45 nm from Boqueron to Ponce where there is an excellent Power Yacht facility (Ponce Fishing
and Yacht Club). This is your only full service
refueling until you get to the northern side of eastern Puerto Rico.
> Another 75-80 nm takes you to the Fajardo area and lots of power yacht marinas
. From there to the US Virgins is very fast and only 40 nm.
> Fast running (considering normal winds and waves) is only available on the Grand Bahamas
Banks, the Exumas Banks, inside the Caicos Banks and the Fajardo to St Thomas run. Elsewhere you will be speed limited by winds and waves, especially if you do not have stablizers under the boat.
Like I said above the Nordic Tugs had to throttle back to 8 kts to 9.5 kts to keep from pounding themselves to death. ** If you can afford to wait for up to a month at each major stopping point you can find weather
windows that will allow full cruising speeds, but they are few and far between. There is no lack of things to do and explore while waiting and there is the danger
of not wanting to leave even when a weather window appears because you are having too much fun.
> So that describes the normal Power Yacht route
. Some smaller power yachts purchase
55 gal plastic drums, put them on the aft deck
and increase their diesel
fuel (or gasoline) range significantly, especially when they want to run fast and hot.