Best route - Belize to Virgin Islands? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-06-2008 Thread Starter
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Best route - Belize to Virgin Islands?

What would be the best route from Belize to the Virgin Islands - 60' Wooden Motorsailer with old GM 671 diesel?? Suggestions?
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-07-2008
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Probably your best bet would be to ride the Gulf Stream past Yucatan, though the Florida Straits East to the Bahamas, then take the "thorny path" through the Bahamas to PR and points East.

To do this, you'd need lots of time, no fixed schedule, especially for the "thorny path" portion.

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post #3 of 13 Old 07-07-2008
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If you do Thorny Path or follow the coasts of the islands from Cuba to the East AND if you don't mind motoring, do your easting after midnight and stay in close to the land to take advantage of the "land lee" until the wind pipes up as the sun gets higher in the sky. I certainly agree that you will need time and patience and no deadlines - esp. as hurricanes have now started forming...


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post #4 of 13 Old 07-07-2008 Thread Starter
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More direct route?

Would there be any possible way to get from Belize to the Virgins on a more direct route, motorsailing with lots of fuel? I had a friend who came through the Panama Canal heading that way somehow, had to turn into Columbia for repairs it was so rough, but is there no other way to do it, considering weather and time of year?
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-07-2008
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Nothing I'd wanna try, unless I were in a destroyer or larger ship :-) A "60' wooden motorsailer with an old GM 6-71" just doesn't cut it, IMO.

The trouble is, any more direct route will pit you against prevailing tradewinds and currents. You do not want to consider these lightly. The tradewinds are not gentle breezes, they can blow like hell, both in the direct path Belize-Virgin Islands or, particularly, along the north coast of Columbia and Venezuela.

Belize is 1,370 nautical miles west of St. Thomas (rhumbline). That's a hell of a long ways to be punching into strong winds and headseas.

The currents are also strong. And, as mentioned, the hurricane season is just starting. You really don't wanna be caught out in the middle of the Caribbean in a big blow.

Sorry, but the only other way I'd tackle the direct route is in a 747. They go to windward just fine :-)

Bill

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post #6 of 13 Old 07-07-2008
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The only advantage to heading south and along the south American coast is that you quickly get below the hurricane belt and then can work your way up along the island chain or stay put in Trini or Venezuela until the season is over or at least gives you a 5 day window to sail north directly. It is as Bill says though a MUCH more difficult bash to windward than the thorny path which is tough enough but shorter.

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post #7 of 13 Old 07-07-2008
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Probably the easiest way would be the way we did it. Go down to Panama, through the Canal, head west riding the trades through the Pacific, use the trades to cross the Indian Ocean to South Africa in October, around the cape of Good Hope in January then from Capetown head to St Helena and from there to Brazil and then on to Granada and then up the Caribbean islands to St Thomas. 70% of your trip will be down wind.
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-07-2008
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Takes a bit longer to do it that way though.
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Originally Posted by sgkuhner View Post
Probably the easiest way would be the way we did it. Go down to Panama, through the Canal, head west riding the trades through the Pacific, use the trades to cross the Indian Ocean to South Africa in October, around the cape of Good Hope in January then from Capetown head to St Helena and from there to Brazil and then on to Granada and then up the Caribbean islands to St Thomas. 70% of your trip will be down wind.

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post #9 of 13 Old 07-07-2008 Thread Starter
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OK, so if the boat is positioned in Columbia, would it be possible to go to Venezuela, then Trinidad and North up the island chain to the Virgins? I know its about 700 miles from Venezuela to the BVI, and one guy said you could do it direct and get some easting when possible. But sailing friends I know said, no way could you do that. I am very familiar with hurricanes in that area, rode out at least 10 or more on my boat in the BVI, so would consider that in the planning.
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-07-2008
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Already asked and answered. And amplified (by Camraderie).

Sure, anything's possible. But are you really such a masochist?

The adverse winds and currents are stronger down there, as noted.

Taking the "direct route" and "making easting when you can" in a wooden motorsailer with an "old GM 6-71" isn't my idea of anything I'd wanna try.

Bill
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