How much time to cruise to Carib and back? - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-04-2010 Thread Starter
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How much time to cruise to Carib and back?

What's a reasonable timeframe to cruise from the US east coast to the Carib and back? The idea is to go through the Bahamas, to the Carib, then back to the US east coast. It would be a family, and the preference would be to avoid long passages. 8 months enough, or is that pushing it and force you to rush?

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post #2 of 8 Old 01-05-2010
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I think that depends on how much of the Caribbean you wish to see. I know one couple who spent 2 years doing a similar route.

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post #3 of 8 Old 01-05-2010
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Not only that but where are you leaving the 'East Coast' from? Its a big coast.

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post #4 of 8 Old 01-05-2010
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Probably rushed as stated

Daniel
I would suggest that the few constraints you are suggesting would make it a bit of a rush - in particular the need to avoid long passages. I will give you our schedule. We left the Chesapeake at the beginning of November and expect to be back in Florida by mid-June which is essentially 8 months. But, we went offshore from Norfolk to St Thomas. To get there without this 11 day passage you need to get to southern Florida and then then take the Thorny Path to the Virgin Islands. This part alone can eat up several months.

Would seem that you have two options:
1) reduce the scope of the trip and go to Bahamas for the winter after going down the ICW if you will fit under the bridges and over the shallow bits.
2) going offshore to get to the eastern Caribbean in less than two weeks. Based on my experience I would suggest making your landfall St Martin. This will help you avoid more windward work from the BVI to more windward islands. You can do the BVI and USVI on the way back. I know you have experience going to Bermuda so would likely be able to pinpoint improvements you need on the boat for this tougher trip (and it is tougher). If your family do not want to do this part of the trip you can get crew for it have them meet you in St Martin.

I would suggest the latter approach because it is lovely down here (we are in Grenada now (hurried south and will go north more slowly) and will be starting north next week.

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 #5 of 8 Old 01-05-2010
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caribbean

I agree with Killarney in all regards. We left Hampton Va 2 years ago with the Caribbean1500 and even though our 8 day passage to Tortola was really crappy weather it was all past history about 3 weeks later. I bring this up as if with your family you feel more comfortable with other boats the rallies can be a lot of fun. You can do the 1500 down and the Atlantic Cup back up in May. We chose to head east after our winter there and are now in Croatia but you get the drift. KillarneySailor is right however that if you do say the 1500 you will then have to sail/motor for one overnight from BVI to St. Martin. After that the rest is easy. So if you really want time in the Eastern Caribbean my vote is do the passage.


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post #6 of 8 Old 01-05-2010 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krozet View Post
Not only that but where are you leaving the 'East Coast' from? Its a big coast.
Fair question. Here's our "story." First, we're years out on this, but in light of the time of year, it's fun to start dreaming and planning.

We're looking at either a full school year (September through August) trip, or one that is only half a school year but 8 calendar months (January through August). If we do the latter, we would run the boat down to Florida in the fall, fly down at the end of the year, and start our cruise from there in January. In this scenario, we'd skip the ICW on the way down, of course, and consider it for the trip back. If we do the full year, we'd do the ICW on the way down. We have two young boys who will be a little older by the time we go, but still kids to be sure.

I think we likely would want to avoid long ocean passages, as I just don't think my wife and one of my boys would enjoy it. That sort of knocks out the Carib 1500, unless I get crew to sail the boat and they fly to meet me (sort of goes against the point of this trip). Which leaves the Thorny Path, if we choose to go to the Carib.

And that's really the heart of the question. We are going to do the Bahamas, because we really want to. So, with an 8-month window starting in FL in Jan. and needing to end up back in NY (and get far enough north before hurricane season) do we go past G-Town, or not? My inclination is not, and that has been our thinking up until now, but I just had lunch yesterday with a friend who recently did a similar trip (he continued on east across the Atlantic), and he's encouraging me to go to the Carib because he thinks we'll be bored if we stay just in the Bahamas. I don't agree with him about the "bored" part, but he did put a bug in my ear about trying to make it to the Carribbean.

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post #7 of 8 Old 01-05-2010
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Icw

I think I noticed you sail a Bene49. I think you may have some issues in the ICW. If I remember correctly I think your mast is about 56' above the deck ("I" measurment) so off the water somewhere close to 62 or 63' and the air clearance in the ICW is 65' so with any flooding or sig. hardware on top could be pretty close. Also your draft if standard is around 5'10 or 5'11" when fully loaded and I can assure you that is a problem in the ICW. A few years back I delivered a C&C custom 40 with 6' draft and was on the bottom several times in the middle of the marked channel, and it is worse now.
Not to bore you but some thoughts. First from NYC to Miami via the C&D, Chesapeake, and ICW is about 1300nm. When doing this for pleasure, ie not going hard like a delivery, you will spend a lot of time in places of no real interest. So...option one is you sail offshore with an experienced crew member and whoever of you family that wants to go, then meet the others at the destination for a whole season in say Bahamas. Option 2, have the boat delivered (delivery captain) to where you really want to sail. Option 3, Transport ship to E. Caribbean (can be cheaper than sailing in the off season) and enjoy the whole time in cool places! Overall point being that in your time frame trying to do the ICW and not "push" will take a lot of time away from the great places you would like to see and sail.
Regardless of how you do it, offshore, ICW, whatever the main thing is DO IT!!!


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post #8 of 8 Old 01-06-2010
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offshore sailing

As a volunteer crew who has completed five Caribbean 1500's I would suggest you reconsider your decision not to do a long offshore passage. If you really want to cruise the Caribbean and you only have 8 months, you are going to have to do the offshore trip. By participating in the Caribbean 1500 you will have access to the crew list, which is deep with experienced offshore crew like me. Not only that, but you will get advice on how to prepare your boat for offshore, which will make your Caribbean cruising more comfortable and safe as well. If your trip is a few years away, you might consider becoming a volunteer crew yourself. The more time you spend offshore, the more you realize you can handle. Expand the comfort level. Once I would have never dreamed of being out in a 55 knot storm, but having experienced several of them, now I'm not afraid of heavy weather. I've also seen the Atlantic Ocean as calm as a millpond and had to ration fuel to make it to the destination. Face your fear of going offshore and sail through it!

Your alternative is to cruise the Bahamas, and I don't think you'll be bored with the cruising there. There are many cruising boats that never venture any farther south than the Bahamas chain. To some the longest ocean passage they'll ever make is 40 miles across the Gulf Stream from Florida.

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