Summer in the Caribbean: Safe to Cruise? - SailNet Community

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Old 01-19-2013
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Summer in the Caribbean: Safe to Cruise?

Hey folks,

I'm planning a trip from Puerto Vallarta to Brazil next year, and I'm thinking of leaving the boat (42' Jeanneau) in the Virgin Islands instead of sailing back up to Mexico. Here's the question: what's the general wisdom on trying to sail up from Venezuela to the Virgin Islands from July-August? Is this the height of foolishness, or can such a trip be safely made with prudence and a careful eye on weather?

Cheers,
Stephen
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Old 01-19-2013
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Re: Summer in the Caribbean: Safe to Cruise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by L'atitude Check View Post
Hey folks,

I'm planning a trip from Puerto Vallarta to Brazil next year, and I'm thinking of leaving the boat (42' Jeanneau) in the Virgin Islands instead of sailing back up to Mexico. Here's the question: what's the general wisdom on trying to sail up from Venezuela to the Virgin Islands from July-August? Is this the height of foolishness, or can such a trip be safely made with prudence and a careful eye on weather?

Cheers,
Stephen
Not a fooihardy undertaking, just know the ports of refuge and pay serious attention to te weather.

But why not leave the boat in Venezuela, Trinidad or Grenada?
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Old 01-20-2013
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Re: Summer in the Caribbean: Safe to Cruise?

No problem sailing up to virgins that time of year. First the tropical wx forecasts are very reliable for 3 days and you can make the whole trip in three days.
Only issue is when you get there you are still in the box. For marinas look at Nanny Cay on tortola or Palmas Del Mar on SE Puerto Rico. If not looking at marina go to Salinas on south coast of PR or the island of Culebra
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Old 01-22-2013
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Re: Summer in the Caribbean: Safe to Cruise?

As mentioned earlier, modern weather forecasting is good for 3 days. In a Jeanneau 42 with full fuel tanks you can calculate a conservative 6 knots speed, meaning 6*36 = 216nm. This is more than enough to get the boat out of the typical 30-knot death cone (well, I believe they call it "danger cone", but you get the drift) on engine power alone. Coming up from Venezuela there will always be land in sight, apart from the St. Martin to BVI passage, but land doesn't equate to a safe anchorage if you need to take shelter from the outriders of a storm, even outside of the cone so you should do a bit of planning.
I've kept my boat at Nanny Cay for several years and can highly recommend the operation. Two years ago a hurricane (end of season, going the wrong way W to E) that had just turned CAT III went almost over the yard and there was no damage - but St. Martin was hit much harder. When it comes to big hurricanes there really are no truly safe anchorages, even English Harbour on Antigua can get hit by swell and let boats get damaged and that is, as far as I know, the best hurricane hole in the Caribbean.

Nanny Cay does fill up so it might be worth your while to reserve early.

The statistical height of the hurricane season is somewhere around September 5th, and those tropical waves come off Africa every two weeks or so and can then progress in size to tropical storms, so there is quite a bit of time between waves and storms to make passage, assuming a seaworthy boat and no unforeseen problems requiring stops.
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Summer in the Caribbean: Safe to Cruise?

I think that it would be probably cheaper and safer (from storms) to leave in the ABC islands. There is a nice marina on Curacao.
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