Caribbean Routing Advice - SailNet Community

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Old 05-05-2001
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Caribbean Routing Advice

We hope to sail from the west coast of Florida to the ABC Islands and Central America. I have not been able to find written material about this route and wonder if it is a feasible one based on prevailing winds and currents? Also, can you tell me if the time of year will affect the conditions in this region?

SailNet responds:
Thanks for the question. Since the area you are talking about gives birth to one of the strongest currents in the world—the Gulf Stream—and is also wracked by hurricanes and tropical storms, to stay nothing of strong northerlies that can come blasting down out of the US during the winter, seasonality is definitely a consideration. Mother Nature and King Neptune can certainly dish it up in this region of the world, meaning that successful passagemaking here is often determined by your preparation. 

Many of the islands on the Central American part of your itinerary are low-lying and strewn with reefs, so you're right to seek some advice in print. The best authority on cruising routes in this part of the world (as well as several others), is Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Routes, which is available in the SailNet Store (http://www.sailnet.com/store/item.cfm?pid=12553).

The best time to head south to the Caribbean without having to worry about  hurricanes is after the storm season is over. This is typically means anywhere from mid to late October, but before the onset of the winter-time northerlies or the strong cold fronts that can sweep down against the Gulf Stream and whip up a frenzied sea.

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