Six month itinerary
Dear Cam and others
After taking into consideration our family dynamics and other research, I've concluded that the best course of action for our upcoming 6 month trip (Dec 2007 to June (inclusive) 2008) will be to take the ICW and then go to the Bahamas. Our family has a lot of coastal cruising experience but I'm the only one of us with some offshore experience. Also, although completely offshore capable, we've recently bought our Shearwater 39 and are selling our Dufour 36. So, we will be relatively unfamiliar with the boat.
Also, work dictates that we can only leave Virginia in the beginning of December, making it too late in my opinion to brave the Atlantic with an inexperience crew to head to the Eastern Caribbean (also my wife told me - no way - not till we have more experience...).
So, we plan to cruise down the ICW and then to the Bahamas. My question is this:
We have six months till hurricane season and having to be back in Canada (not necessarily with the boat).
Our options: Starting from Atlantic Yacht Basin (Great Bridge Virginia)
1) ICW, Bahamas, back to Florida
2) ICW, Bahamas, Cuba (we're Canadian), Bahamas - Florida (which coast - N or S??)
3) ICW, Bahamas, Windward Passage, Cuba? Jamaica?, Cayman? Belize, Yucatan then back to Florida (Tampa??) then truck the boat to Vancouver
4) Number 3 but instead of heading back North, head to the Rio Dulce and leave the boat there.
It seems to me that the only extended offshore passages will be after we leave the Bahamas and will have had time to get used to the boat. It also will mostly involve reaching. Then only time the likelyhood of beating is high, is coming North from the Yucatan. See question regarding Tampa below...
How much can we realistically do in six months? We have two teenage daughters to homeschool and plan to do that well. I have no idea how much time one needs to get from Great Bridge to a good crossing point for the Bahamas, nor how much time we'll want to (or should) spend in the Bahamas. Any help appreciated.
Any errors here in terms of route planning taking into consideration time of year? Any recommendations?
Can one safely leave a boat in the Rio if you're not present? For an extended period? Where would one leave it and in who's care?
What is Tampa like as a final destination, from where to ship the boat to Vancouver if we decide on that option? Looking at the prevailing winds, it seems much easier to head to western Florida from the Yucatan than to the East of Florida.
Thanks for any opinions.