Guides to Bahamas and the Caribbean - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 19 Old 11-18-2007
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Bruce VanSant guide

Anyone who sallies forth heading East from Florida must have Passages South: The Thornless Path to Windward by Bruce Van Sant. It is one of the best guides ever written because of the science it incorporates. Follow the author's advice and you will enjoy your trip much more than otherwise. It is not a geographical guide per se (except where he discusses the D.R. and southern Coast of Puerto Rico) but a passagemaking guide.

Peter
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post #12 of 19 Old 11-21-2007 Thread Starter
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I'm busy reading "Passages South..." of Van Sant. I'm enjoying the book a lot and I'm often chuckling out loud at his way of saying things. I like the guy! Opinionated - sure; but hell, he knows what he's doing, that's obvious.

Thanks for all the advise. I'm going to follow it for sure.

M Murphy
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post #13 of 19 Old 11-21-2007
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Magnus..VanSant is valuable reading and he is both experienced and opinionated...but not always right! I think his advice is much more applicable for smaller cruising boats & singlehanders then the 40' & up crowd with seakindly boats and good engines. As always...you know your own boat best and taking in ALL the info you can and current & predicted weather and wind conditions, you will make the right decisiions!
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post #14 of 19 Old 11-23-2007
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M.

Disregard VanSant's advice at your peril. I have witnessed the results of that many times while I was working as a catamaran captain on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic. I might disregard Bruce's opinions on politics but never on seamanship and navigation. He is, in every sense of the word, a professional mariner.

Peter Swanson
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post #15 of 19 Old 11-23-2007
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Peter...I know you and he have a connection...but we totally ignored much of his advice on our trip down and went with the advice of our weather router Chris Parker. (Example we went DIRECTLY from Luperon WELL offshore to the south shore of PR (ponce) in EXCELENT weather and without any problems whatsoever rather than work the night lulls inshore and anchoring along the way that he deems an INVIOLATE rule in his typical manner. Do you want to know about the boats that left the harbor at the same time as us and followed his advice? Lightning strikes and weather delays as the window closed before they were able to get across. Result...expensive repairs and delay. )
My position is not to ignore him...but simply to use him as one more source of info for passagemeaking among others. MOST of the time and especially for smaller boats, his advice is accurate...but a prudent captain will not rely on one source as the font of all knowledge for a particular passage at a particular time.
We trusted Chris Parker's precise and personalized weather forecast for that particular piece of the passage on a particular day more than the generic advice of VanSant in making our decision...given the size of our boat and our known ability to make 300mi+ non-stop passages double-handed....and that was the right decision for us at that moment in time.

Hope you understand that I am not criticizing Bruce...merely stating that you need to consider more than just Bruce in making your decisions as a captain of your own vessel.
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post #16 of 19 Old 11-24-2007
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Dear C.
We newspeople don't take offense easily. So don't worry about that. My point is that you may be better equipped or more skilled than 99 percent of the people I've seen sailing those waters, or you just may be lucky.

But in analysing your statement. You say you went in excellent weather all the way to Ponce. I too have gone all the way from Luperon to Virgin Gorda in a single shot--even more rare. Bruce actually discusses that rare eventuality when you have a weather window that lasts more than 3 days, usually these occur around November or May, and would heartily approve of going all the way without stopping.

Having said that, and having spent years in those waters, both you and I were lucky. As far as those other folks are concerned, I'd have to hear their story myself. Dollars to donuts: 1. They left as a buddy boat team and thus made poor committee decisions (and therefore were not captains of their own ships) and 2. They didn't really follow Bruce's advice just thought they were because of (see 1.) and a kind of wishful thinking that seems to grip so many American cruisers.

I might agree with you C., if I hadn't seen and documented so many examples of what you describe actually, upon scrutiny, turning out to be what I just described.

Peter Swanson
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post #17 of 19 Old 11-24-2007
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OK...well we'll just disagree then.
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post #18 of 19 Old 11-27-2007
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Magnus
Did the trip two years ago. Van Sant was by far the best info of the ten or so books I bought. Chris Parker and Herb (Southbound Two) are great. For the Bahamas, the Explorer charts were much more accurate and easy to use. Didn't stop in the Turks, but from Providenciales, went straight south, shallow (I draw 7 feet) but pretty easy to do, and straight to Luperon. No big weather problems once south of Rum Key. Lots of motoring whenever the window opened. Left Tampa 11 Feb, arrived Trinidad 1 month later.

Paul Deacon
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post #19 of 19 Old 11-30-2007
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Thanks for the info from me too. leaving in about a month for the Abacos myself...
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