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post #8 of Old 11-21-2008
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My vote goes for the offshore route -- it's faster. You'll be in the BVI 10-12 days after leaving Norfolk and have a full season of Caribbean sailing ahead of you. Take the other route and you won't be their until the season's half over. You need to watch the weather closely (especially for a late season tropical cyclone), and count on one gale (35 kts +) as a cold front passes over you once you cross the Gulf Stream. If you're boat's in good shape, it is not a difficult passage, but it does require care and planning. You might consider joining the Caribbean 1500 rally which leaves from Norfolk in early November. It's not cheap (~$1200), but you'll have good advice in preparing, consistent weather reporting and others to accompany you as you make the passage. As mentioned above, you can do the Bahamas on the way home by sailing downwind vs beating your brains out going to weather. They don't call it a 'thorny path' for nothing.
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