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Old 16-02-2008, 06:28   #1
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New, with Question About Venezuela (Puerto la Cruz) to Martinique in June

Hello, I am new to your quite informative community. Thank you for the site.
I have a immediately a question to all you Caribbean Cruisers that I will post here, but possibly also under a proper heading:

I am going to deliver a yacht from Venezuela (Puerto la Cruz) to Europe via Azores and Bermuda beginning 1st June this year with a couple of friends. The problem is that we should pick up one of the crew from somewhere on the way north in the Caribbean around 15th and have been looking at possible airplane tickets/destinations for this person from Europe (we are all coming from Finland).
There are quite good deals for e.g. Martinique/Fort de France (as well as this seems like a nice place) but this is a bit against the prevailing winds and currents from Venezuela according to the general image in e.g. US Pilot charts.

Are there any opinions on the "sport factor" of the leg Venezuela (Puerto la Cruz) - Fort de France in June? Is this going to be tacking all the way against the wind and current, or could we manage this with less pain (i.e. close hauled?)? Should we instead opt to pick up the guy from somewhere less upwind e.g. Puerto Rico/Dominican Republic to preserve good moods aboard? We are aware that this a bit late in the season and that more west=more hurricane danger so this complicates the mathematics a bit.
Thanks in advance!
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Old 16-02-2008, 06:58   #2
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Flying Finn, the trip from pto la cruz to martinique as you know will be close hauled, but winds should be very light in june with small seas, so some motor sailing might help. there is an island called aves 50 nm or so off dominica (if your course isn't quite what you hope) you might not have noticed on your chart, so make a note of it. its just a pebble, (i passed it), but it would still make a loud bang in the dark.
i would be much more concerned about your time constraints via hurricane season than i would about the difference in routes and euros do get much better airfare to martinique, they'd probably do well to take advantage of it.
both martinique, pr, and dr have excellent hurricane holes waiting for you if you find you need them. i'd recommend get the boat ready, crew aboard and move as quickly as possible. june, june too soon, we say; but you never know.
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Old 16-02-2008, 07:18   #3
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Flying Finn, I agree with little boats expressed concern about the time of year. And I fear (as I am sure you do) that there may be some work to do on the boat before departure (and I referring to maintenance and equipment, and not merely provisioning).

I also suspect that you are looking for an island where there is an international airport, rather than one that will require a shuttle flight. I would suggest that in June from Puerto La Cruz, you may wish to remain somewhat flexible. I would make the passage to Grenada and, weather permitting, continue on up the Grenadines past St. Vincent to St. Lucia. I would not be trying to make it any further north than that before my planned trans-at passage.

The advantage is that you have remained fairly far south (albeit even Grenada, below the traditional hurricane belt, got flattened by Ivan a few years ago). Still, it would leave a myriad of hurricane holes that would always be within reach should the forecast get ugly. Your late arriving crewmember could then fly directly to St. Lucia, should things go as planned, or make a last minute switch to Grenada, if you are forced to retreat back to the south. In addition, there are numerous shuttles on Liat and other small carriers to St. Vincent and various of the Grenadines in between.

No matter what, you are likely going to be slogging to windward for much of the trip - and things can still get pretty boisterous, even in June.

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Old 16-02-2008, 07:46   #4
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That was something, two replies after a few minutes! Technology is wonderful and so are you!
I collect from your comments above that Martinique (or even the more southern Islands of St Vincent and Grenada) are not hopeless destinations sail-wise from Venezuela but might require some "work". If I understood correctly the main problem we face is thus this timing issue and this is linked to the preparations, just like pointed out by Southern Star.

Thus: how late is this Mid-June departure really? Is it suicide to head off towards Azores during that time or is it within reason? I am thinking about these Caribbean storm systems -once we get high enough it does not seem like a problem. Should we skip Bermuda if we have enough provisions and water? The books and graphs seem to indicate that August-Sept is definitely no-go but this June Business seems to be some sort of "grey season" and is a bit confusing. Anne Hemmicks Atlantic crossing guide has a table that gives mid-June green light for northwards from the Caribbean.

Thanks again for the replies & all the best,

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Old 16-02-2008, 08:29   #5
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my friend sailed marguarita to martinique less than 2 weeks ago in winter ne winds singlehanded on an alu monohull centerboard; so it is indeed possible. his description of the passage is too filthy to print here, but it only took a few days; he tacked. in june, with all luck, you will see 10-15 se; its how much e is in the wind that will control your progress as well as your vessel. boats with jerry jugs on deck, cockpit enclosures and high freeboard will have an impossible time; clean, moderate freeboard sailing boats that can point should expect much better. it is a very pretty place, seas if as predicted above would be not much more than 4 foot. i would expect to tack. can't avise as to crossing the atlantic, never done it. a two year old can sail the route to pr or dr that time of year; its a cakewalk and fast.
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Old 16-02-2008, 08:44   #6
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Ok, this tacking business is what I suspected and would rather minimise. This might be ruinous to our already late schedule as the boat is more of this jerry jug mule- type than a racer... Will think about all of this a bit more, thanks for the tips anyway.
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:13   #7
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Aloha Finn,
Welcome aboard! Hope you enjoy the forum. I just noticed someone else from SV Lady Diane just joined the forum.
Kind Regards,
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Old 08-03-2008, 12:45   #8
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Location: The boat and I are presently in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles; I spend summers in MN.
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Hola Finn, I am currently in Puerto La Cruz, VZ and will be here for the next 3 months. If there is anything I can do from here to assist you, or give you information, please let me know. I am at Bahia Redonda Marina.

All the best,
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Old 12-03-2008, 04:29   #9
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ok! I will certainly take contact if I spot you (Lady Diane) in Puerto la cruz. We have changed our schedules and will start from VZ mid May to be in a better weather window (no use stretching our luck!). Trying to pick up our crew from guadeloupe and if too difficult will take the change more to the north (the guy will then take a local flight/ferry to meet us). thanks to all for the replies.
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Venezuela, Martinique

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