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February Miami-Tortola Sail---Wind/Weather?

Could someone tell me in general terms what the Wind/Weather would be like on a sail in February from Miami to Tortola? The recent experience of Be Good Too makes me a bit more cautious about a winter sail.

Peter
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post #2 of 9 Old 01-25-2014
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Re: February Miami-Tortola Sail---Wind/Weather?

Chances are you're gonna have a lot of sailing upwind...

http://msi.nga.mil/MSISiteContent/St...106/106feb.pdf

The best strategy might be that which Don Street has long advocated in the winter... Ride the backside of the passage of a cold front out of the NE Providence Channel, try to make as much easting as you can... If you've had some fast sailing, by the time the trades re-establish, you should be able to fetch Tortola if you're lucky...

Hope you're sailing a boat that likes to go to weather... :-)
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-25-2014
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Re: February Miami-Tortola Sail---Wind/Weather?

Hey Jon:

I've always wondered if the best way to the Caribbean from Miami (my home) is to go north. Looking at the pilot charts for November on into the winter, it would appear that one would be much better off leaving from the northern portion of Florida...going East (sometimes Southeast when winds permit) and then south at 65*. In that one can jump into the stream here and ride north like being on a rocket with East, Southeast or a Southerly winds, I wonder if the trip might not only be easier but perhaps even faster.

Thoughts?

Regards,
Ron
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-26-2014
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Re: February Miami-Tortola Sail---Wind/Weather?

We have done the trip a total of four times in late Winter/early Spring and going due East through the NE Providence Channel, as Jon suggests, was far easier than the 'Thorny Path'.

On one trip we sailed NE for 2 days, towards Bermuda, after we passed south of the Abacos. It is an error to sail SE too early as it ultimately gets you into the current sweeping north of Hispaniola. On two occasions we were able to turn SE at 67W and lay St Thomas.

Going on the backside of a front not only gives you better winds it gives you longer before the next front can complicate your life just as going north can get you closer to the center of a winter low.

While many cruisers use Chris Parker for weather routing we just use Sailing Weather - Marine Weather Forecasts for Sailors and Adventurers - PassageWeather for all our East Coast and Caribbean routing/timing.

Good luck Phil

Last edited by Yorksailor; 01-26-2014 at 09:04 AM.
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post #5 of 9 Old 01-26-2014
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Re: February Miami-Tortola Sail---Wind/Weather?

Get hold of Bruce van Santes book a Gentleman's guide to Passages South and STUDY it closely. He made that trip many times and he tells you exactly how to do it by island hopping.

If you have a big boat a big diesel tank and a big engine you can motor all the way upwind and upcurrent.

The offshore route is well documented, head towards Bermuda till you reach I 66 then turn south. Would I do this in Feb. ? NO WAY.
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-26-2014
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Re: February Miami-Tortola Sail---Wind/Weather?

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Originally Posted by luv4sailin View Post
Hey Jon:

I've always wondered if the best way to the Caribbean from Miami (my home) is to go north. Looking at the pilot charts for November on into the winter, it would appear that one would be much better off leaving from the northern portion of Florida...going East (sometimes Southeast when winds permit) and then south at 65*. In that one can jump into the stream here and ride north like being on a rocket with East, Southeast or a Southerly winds, I wonder if the trip might not only be easier but perhaps even faster.

Thoughts?

Regards,
Ron
Hey Ron,

Yeah, Don Street also speaks of a departure from Jacksonville/N Florida, as being a viable route, but he's speaking of having come down from the N, of course... Only downside to that one, with the Stream being so far offshore at that point, you've got to make sure you're across before the arrival of a front...

Personally, I wouldn't think it would really be worthwhile to go THAT far north... Maybe from around Ft Pierce, perhaps? If anything, I think I might be inclined to simply ride the Stream N in the SW-W breeze that typically precedes a frontal passage, sticking close to the E wall, and ready to bail at the first hint that the front is here... If that got you over the top of the Abacos, at least, seems that would still give you a pretty decent sailing angle for the remainder of the trip...

You've certainly got the right boat for the trip, from my experience running a sister ship last fall, she goes very nicely to weather... IMHO, even if you're only able to fetch the Mona Passage, that's not too bad... I've heard very nice things about working your way E along the S coast of Puerto Rico in stages, sounds like some very nice cruising, with plentiful stops not too widely spaced, to be found along that route...
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Re: February Miami-Tortola Sail---Wind/Weather?

We did not goo far enough north after leaving Pt. Canaveral. We beat for 12 days before cracking off to Culebra.
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-27-2014
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Re: February Miami-Tortola Sail---Wind/Weather?

Beating for twelve days WOW that is a crew breaker.
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-27-2014
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I've done that trip several times. Catching a front at the time of year you plan to go should be easy. The downside is the way the gulf stream gets roiled with a north wind. However, once you get through the Providence channels, it's a pretty good sail.

Now here is the secret. I found in every trip that time of year that the wind goes to the east/northeast at night once you get into the more southern latitudes. That will allow you to head more directly toward your VI destination. The downside is you still will be beating most the time unless you are lucky to make it far enough east on the front, so you can head directly south.

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