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Old 13-01-2009, 13:30   #1
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Suggested route and stops from Pensacola to Tortola

Hello friends. I'm new to the forum. Thanks for letting me join.
My wife and I enjoy bareboat chartering in the Caribbean, and after two more one-way charters, we will have covered all the major islands except for Barbados and Barbuda.
Our dream is to retire in 3 years and move to the Florida panhandle. We hope to be able to buy a larger boat and cruise the Caribbean. For some time now I have been trying to figure out the best route to take to get down to the Virgins. From there it's relatively easy.
I have done one 96 hour passage across the Gulf, but that was with 3 other guys. I don't think my wife and I would be comfortable setting out on a 600 mile run, at least at first. I'm trying to figure out a route that would allow us to anchor most every night, and limit our passages to 24 hours or less.
I would appreciate getting your advice.
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Old 13-01-2009, 13:41   #2
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The Florida panhandle is one of the worst places to jump off from for a trip to Tortola! No joking. The only practical way is to make your way across the Gulf to the West Coast of Florida, then down to Key West, then over to the Bahamas, then the "Thorny Path" down the island chain to the DR, Puerto Rico, the USVI, then the BVI. Under the best of circumstances, this can be a real challenge.

Not that it can't be done. It's just not easy, and you'll need a LOT of time and no fixed schedule in order to pick your weather windows.

A gentle suggestion from someone who's sailed the Eastern Caribbean since the late '60s: go ahead with your move to the panhandle if you will, then fly to the BVI and look for a boat there. There are lots of boats for sale in Tortola and elsewhere in the Eastern Caribbean, and some darned good deals. See, e.g., BVI Yacht Sales: BVI Yacht Sales Ltd.

Chris and Karen are good people and will steer you right.

The great advantage in buying a boat there is that you can then take your time, enjoy the islands, visit all you will, get the boat in good shape (lots of places to fix/upgrade/spiff up your boat), then it's a pretty easy run up thru the Bahamas to Florida and on to wherever you wish.

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