Which route to the Virgins? - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-25-2009 Thread Starter
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Which route to the Virgins?

OK, it is starting to get to the time to make more specific plans rather than more general ones. We are going to the Caribbean for the winter with our first destination likely in the American Virgin Islands. We will be leaving in early November and a significant question is whether we should leave from the Chesapeake or from somewhere further south like Beaufort or Morehead City? I guess the fundamental question is whether there is a significant advantage to going a bit further south in the ICW before heading off to 65?

The boat is a Bristol 45.5 (draft just under 5' with board up) with full equipment and an experienced crew of 4 or 5 people. Thanks for your comments.

Back home on Lake Ontario after something over 36,000 nm circumnavigator. Not surprisingly there is a lot of stuff I want to get done on Ainia both cosmetically and functionally. Getting an early start so it will be ready to go for next summer (Lake Superior?).
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-25-2009
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Lots of sailors do it from both locations. My preference is the Chesapeake departure to head out toward Bermuda and, if necessary, layover there for weather.

The Caribbean 1500 does it this way, too.

You won't have much use for the board up in the Eastern Caribbean. Board down, anchor down, belly up to the bar :-)

Bill
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-25-2009
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Offshore all the way. Stage at Taylor's Landing Marina in Little Creek and jump on a reasonable forecast. As Bill says Bermuda is a nice point to duck into, but the fast delivery route is to aim for Bermuda and miss. Turn right when the water gets warm (crossed the Stream) and head South.

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post #4 of 9 Old 09-02-2009
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I would suggest picking up a copy of the latest issue of Cruising World magazine. It has an article addressing this exact question.

Fair winds
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-03-2009
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Advantages of Norfolk departure are: 1. quicker passage across the Stream, usually within 24-30 hrs of departure, so you can be well across before the first cold front hits; 2. better angle of the wind once across; 3. easier Bermuda divert should it be necessary.

Disadvantage: ?? Perhaps stronger winds when the cold front comes over you, which it will! ??

I recommend you join the Carib 1500 rally -- Advantages: it's provides a good prep for the boat and crew and you'll meet lots of people you'll see later in the Caribbean. If you're sailing with a spouse who likes "community" the 1500 gives you a big head start of finding one once you're in the islands. (This was a really big deal with my mate!)

Disadvantage: you don't have $1500 to spend somewhere else (it buys a lot of rum at $8/bottle, amost 200 bottles in fact!
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-03-2009 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies - I can make a good argument for both

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Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
Advantages of Norfolk departure are: 1. quicker passage across the Stream, usually within 24-30 hrs of departure, so you can be well across before the first cold front hits; 2. better angle of the wind once across; 3. easier Bermuda divert should it be necessary.

Disadvantage: ?? Perhaps stronger winds when the cold front comes over you, which it will! ??

I recommend you join the Carib 1500 rally -- Advantages: it's provides a good prep for the boat and crew and you'll meet lots of people you'll see later in the Caribbean. If you're sailing with a spouse who likes "community" the 1500 gives you a big head start of finding one once you're in the islands. (This was a really big deal with my mate!)

Disadvantage: you don't have $1500 to spend somewhere else (it buys a lot of rum at $8/bottle, amost 200 bottles in fact!
I was originally going to go on the Caribbean 1500 but with the cost of entry plus docking it ends up being closer to $2000. The reason why we are off sailing this year rather than next is that my wife got laid off from her job (I am blissfully retired) and a couple of boat bucks saved is a significant consideration. Also we are not really party people so we will have to find a community as we go. BTW, if we do make it to the Med, as planned, I think I would go on the Eastern Med rally since it would be very helpful to have someone else deal with officials in countries like Syria and Lebanon.

I think that leaving from Chesapeake Bay makes the most practical sense. On the other side, my wife loved a book about going down the ICW and leaving from Beaufort would give us a taste of the ditch (Dismal Swamp sounds wonderful). I will have to decide in the next couple of weeks and make sure I have the necessary charts and guides.

Back home on Lake Ontario after something over 36,000 nm circumnavigator. Not surprisingly there is a lot of stuff I want to get done on Ainia both cosmetically and functionally. Getting an early start so it will be ready to go for next summer (Lake Superior?).
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-03-2009
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Whichever way you go,Killarney, sounds like an good adventure! Bon Voyage!!

Ron

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".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-03-2009
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Adding the cost of the dockage on the frontend is a little unfair to the carib1500. You have to dock somewhere before you start. We've done the 1500 five out of the last 6 years and will do it again this year.

I usually cross the stream at Hatteras as it is narrowest there. Starting from Beaufort gets you the stream faster than from Norfolk or Hampton. I use MaxSea to plot my course to the islands. More commonly the wind takes me the tradional route (route 66) but not always. One year I ran much further West and ended up reaching past Puerto Rico at 10 knots and 10 foot seas.
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-06-2009
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Have done it both ways, but I like being a little further south, as the fronts lose most of their punch below 30N. Getting good weather forecasts is important when you are deciding what direction to go (more south or more east) after you cross the stream. Herb is hard to pick up until you are a few days offshore, and I depend on the winlink/grib files once I break the wifi connection.

If you are on a budget, the anchorages in Beaufort are crowded with dodgy holding, but Cape Lookout bight is a good place to wait for a weather window
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