Best Looking MALE Mod
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Washington State
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I am going to give more general answers to your questions, for the most part. First of all, I want to say that contrary to what might be the general belief that sailing the gulf is nothing more than big lake, nothing could be further from the truth. The gulf can be as bad or worse than the Atlantic or Pacific... espcially when you get further south and fronts build across gulf and then go from the deep water to the shallow continental shelf. This can cause what would be large swells in the Pacific (for example) to become the large square waves sailors often refer to. They have a real tendency to break in a northern blow, so be very cautious. It is as dangerous in the gulf (in some cases worse) than a lot of the Atlantic and Pacific. Of course, there are many areas of the A&P that are worse, but I am speaking in generalities. Just want to make sure you have a realism check before punching out.
Second, the Bahamas would seem a much more relaxed cruise than going all the way to the Carrib... at least to me. I figure, straight pasage averaging 6-7 kts, you can make the Bahamas in 8 days or so. If you are going to run the coast, I would count on more than that. So that is two of your weeks right there. That leaves maybe four weeks, assuming the weather totally participates (It is insanity to sail out into the gulf with a early hurricane or a late cold front blowing through).
If you look at the thread before this one, I went through some detail on running from Tampa to the Tortugas... which would be along your path. Thus, you could make a long run to Tampa. Spend a day or two to recuperate (since you do not know how you will handle a passage). Then, spend a week or better in the Tortugas. From there you would have about 2 days or so to the Bahamas/Abacos, etc. That right there is a full trip and will eat up most of your time. In my opinion, a person can get lost just in the Tortugas... but that is another story.
Does that help at all? If you have some more specific questions, you can PM me. Camradarie has made that trip a few times too, I think. He would also be a good source if he does not mind helping you.
Have fun and fair winds.