Re: Caribbean 1500 ???
It is really a function of where and when for the 1500. It starts at the beginning of November because that is when the 'official' hurricane season is over. By this time of year only the last few hundred miles are reliably in the trade winds - hence the idea that everything being equal you want to get to 65°W before heading into the trades. North of the trades it is a crap shoot in terms of winds. You can get frontal systems from the north that bring lots of wind (but changing in directions) or you can get little cyclonic activity and end up with very light winds. The year we did it, not in the 1500 but at the same time, a massive depression formed off the Chesapeake and moved north towards Greenland over the next several days and then stalled with a cold front that extended to Cuba. I can assure you we did not have to motor until we reached the Virgins. We had more than a week of days over 170 miles (I think our best was 193).
The ARC is through a pretty benign piece of ocean with largely predictable winds; the 1500 is a completely different kettle of fish.
Back to Grenada in early December. Not sure I will remember how to sail. 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.