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Old 02-19-2008
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Wink Hurricane Season Advice Bahamas & Florida

In Australia where I live, cyclone season is runs officially from November to April. However, if there is any cyclone action to be had it normally happens February & March.

I want to come over to the US buy a boat in Florida and go cruising the Bahamas for a couple of months, then ship the new boat home to Aust.

I've noticed the hurricane season in Florida/Bahamas runs officially from June to November.

Is the hurricane season in the US/Bahamas like Australia in that you can really isolate it to two or so worrying months so we can avoid the complete 6 month cruising blackout ??

I don't want to do anything reckless or stupid as I have a five year old son to consider however I don't want to be overly cautious and miss out on heaps of fun !!

Any thoughts and or advice would be very much appreciated !!!

Sailorsez
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Old 02-19-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorsez View Post
In Australia where I live, cyclone season is runs officially from November to April. However, if there is any cyclone action to be had it normally happens February & March.

I want to come over to the US buy a boat in Florida and go cruising the Bahamas for a couple of months, then ship the new boat home to Aust.

I've noticed the hurricane season in Florida/Bahamas runs officially from June to November.

Is the hurricane season in the US/Bahamas like Australia in that you can really isolate it to two or so worrying months so we can avoid the complete 6 month cruising blackout ??

I don't want to do anything reckless or stupid as I have a five year old son to consider however I don't want to be overly cautious and miss out on heaps of fun !!

Any thoughts and or advice would be very much appreciated !!!

Sailorsez
Usually - the US system of forecasting is fairly dead on - mainly because we can track the systems off the coast of Africa and have plenty of time to derive course etc.... so while not fail proof - usually the predications have a fair amount of accuracy for the region you are interested in...And the "seasons" are fairly predictable as well... always an oddball out there but for the most part historically - the season is the season...
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Old 02-19-2008
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sailorsez - are you going to use Dockwise to ship your boat? I got several shipping quotes for a 43" sailboat and they ranged from just over $30,000US to over $40,000 to ship from Port Everglades to Brisbane/Sydney! With rates like that a delivery captain/crew plus some sailing (Florida through Caribbean to east side of Panama) makes an awful lot of sense if you have time. Also, once you get further south in the Caribbean you are out of the hurricane belt and can take your time.
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Old 02-19-2008
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Hi Zanshin - I was thinking of Dockwise as there's no taking the mast out etc. I know its expensive but sailing the boat home is not really an option for us right now.

We don't really have the time and secondly I have my son's four extremely protective grandparents deal with. There's just no way they could accept my son undertaking such as long offshore trip.

I know it's not right & I know he's my son not theirs but I can't fight all four of them on this without it causing huge problems. One of the Grandmothers feels so strongly about it she offered to pay the freight bill !!

Anyway it will still be cheaper for us to buy the boat in the US & ship it home than it would be buying the boat at home here in Oz and we will be able to cruise around the Bahamas for a couple of months just like we have always dreamed of doing.

Are you still in Sydney ??

Sailorsez
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Sailorsez - I'm in Europe right now (Dubline today, Frankfurt tomorrow!) at the moment. It is worth shopping around, I think I got 3 vastly different quotes that would have all ended up on the same ship! The Dockwise schedules are pretty far between sails but they do seem to offer the simplest method with the least chance of things going wrong. It is just soooo painful to fork out that kind of money. I was looking into shipping instead of sailing because of time constraints.
The Australian tax authority will also add the cost of the dockwise transport to the value of the boat and then compute duty & customs on the total value; which is not only pricey but feels like you are being ripped off as well!
I got some quotes from Oz and Kiwi delivery captains where the price tag would have been about US$15,000 and upwards. I don't know what kind of a vessel you are looking into getting - whether or not it is bluewater capable or best put on a bigger vessel.
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Old 02-19-2008
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Hurricane season in FL and Bahamas tends to peak in August and September but the Bahamas are THE most frequently hit spot on earth for hurricanes and NO month is safe. I would feel pretty comfortable cruising in June and November but July-October are all risky IMO. See table...this covers all of the last 150 years for caribe and usa by month...1st is tropical storms...2nd is hurricanes and 3rd is hurricanes hitting us mainland.

Of course...if you believe in global warming...all bets are off!

As to Dockwise...we have used them and they are great if expensive. If you can book MONTHS in advance you can get a 20% discount. Also, if you go "standby" and wait till the last minute you can get even bigger discounts IF they don't fill the ship up. Of course if it is filled...you will wait for months for the next one.
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Hurruicane season really gets going about August/September through October. Although you may have a hurricane before that, most of the stronger storms come up late in the season.

You should also be aware that although the hurricanes are not around that time of the year, you will get the 2:00 storms pretty much everyday during the summer. Some of these squalls are quite strong... though generally do not last for very long.

That being said, the summer months are some of the best times to cruise that area, in my opinion. Many of the other cruisers have headed north (so it is not so congested). Also, with the reain and temeratures, everything starts blooming and it is very green. That water is the right temp to swim/dive in, and you do not have to worry about cold fronts sweeping through (which can be almost as dangerous as a small hurricane, IMO, on the west coast of florida with 800+ miles of fetch).

Regarding Dockwise, if you can have some flexibility on your ship days and timing, you may be able to get a great deal. I was seriously considering a Nordhavn 46 in Washington several years ago and contacted them about shipping it (as it will not fit on a truck). They quoted me about $35,000, IIRC - and I think that is half up front. Then, after negotiating back and forth, they said they would move it for around 22-25k if I could show up with a 2 week warning.

My numbers may be a little off, but that goes to show you that if you can have that kind of flexibility, you can get those numbers down a lot. They would rather get something than nothing on a partially filled boat. Of course, the possibility exists that it might fill up too and you will just be sitting there... but that is part of the risk you take to save money.

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I see Cam beat me to the punch... funny how close our thread is. What can I say??? I taught him well (smile).

HEHE!

- CD
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Originally Posted by sailorsez View Post
I know it's not right & I know he's my son not theirs but I can't fight all four of them on this without it causing huge problems. One of the Grandmothers feels so strongly about it she offered to pay the freight bill !!
Take her up on her offer.

$40K U.S. is a lot of loot that could go into radar, weatherfax, custom weather routing services, AIS, EPIRBs, liferafts, PFDs and swimming lessons, all of which would make your boat several times safer than the average 100 km. car trip. Tell her this: if she pays the heavy expense of shipping a ship, you'll put so much safety gear on board that she'll list to one side.

Risk aversion and risk management are two different things.
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I would add that if boats are so expensive in Oz that shopping in the U.S. makes sense, then shopping in Panama for fully-kitted-out cruisers where the owners have decided a little too late that sailing isn't for them (or their marriage) is a logical option.

Even flying in a U.S. surveyor makes sense, because Panama "orphans" are priced to move quickly, often because they represent a chunk of cash in a settlement of some sort. If you capitalize this way on the misery of others (and there is no sentiment that says a well-found boat should rot on a tropical mooring), then you are significantly closer to Sydney and near to a ready supply of capable delivery crews who might find a nine-week cruise to Australia a great adventure.
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