Re: A trip from NJ to S. America--Type, journey length, boat details?
OK, I will play, since I am a writer too, but not fiction. We sailed from Chesapeake Bay to the Caribbean in early November a couple of years ago. Some thoughts:
- lots (~150 boats a year) head to Caribbean each year from US in November.; Two reasons for date, it is after the normal hurricane season (although you can get the odd hurricane in November); also most insurance does not cover you until Nov 1 south of Cape Hatteras (North Carolina)
- most go from the Chesakeake, although some leave from further north; further north you are, the nastier the weather although you can (and do) get pasted further south
- generally people aim for the British Virgin Islands and then head further east and down the chain of islands
- in your subject line you mentioned South America; that is hard because of foul currents south of Trinidad; if you wanted to go to Brazil for example the approach would have to be different
- someone mentioned the Gulf Stream; it is a concern but does not extend all that far; check on line and you can see where it is and how wide it is
- the reason for heading towards Bermuda is that you want to get far enough east before getting into the trade winds (google it). In general an L-shaped route makes most sense since you end up going across the trades, which is good, rather than into them
- since your protagonists want to be unobtrusive, it would make sense to hide in the small crowd of boats heading south - ie don't look suspicious
- assuming the above, you could have them go to the BVI and then do a couple of overnights from there; It is easiest and check in and out of the French islands (Guadeloupe and Martinique) since you only have to sit down at a computer and do it yourself; most other islands you are dealing with officials
- don't know if you are looking for them to go an uninhabited island - those are really rare and even rarer to have one with an anchorage
- as to the boat they would take, do your shopping at yachtworld.com - the boats for sail there typically have lots of pictures
- if I am a 'money is not a problem' kind of guy, I might look at a Hallberg-Rassy 43 or slightly bigger (might as well not suffer on the trip)
- it is not like buying a used car and driving away, the boat has to be properly-prepared for a journey like this and well-provisioned; the boat you buy might have been prepped for ocean voyaging and then the owner got ill - that is not too rare unfortunately; now your people only have to go shopping before leaving
Back in the water in Grenada - with new main and #2 and cockpit canvas (Santa came early). Will spend the winter and early spring in the Caribbean and then head to Bermuda and the northeast US. Still trying to decide if we will bring the boat to Canada, either in 2015 or 2016.