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skipwiley1 06-05-2011 11:14 AM

Route advice
My wife and I are planning on bringing are new (to us) boat home, it's layed up in Tortola, and we need to bring it to the Delaware bay, what is the best, safest, fastest route to make this passage, also we need to stop in
St Augustine, our boat is 56 ft with a 6 ft draft 80 hp Perkins, we will start this journey about the 24 of June

killarney_sailor 06-05-2011 02:38 PM

Not a good time to go and the added complication of stopping in St Augustine does not help. The first consideration is what condition is the boat in? If it is truly ready for offshore condition then the best way to do it would be direct to Delaware or Chesapeake Bay assuming that there are no tropical depressions even forming anywhere - then go hard using the Gulf Stream if possible. Do at least a couple of test sails before you go - good if you could have one when it was blowing a bit (20-30 knots).

You could go in a series of shorter trips through Puerto Rico, Dominican, Bahamas to Florida but you are exposed to hurricane season for a much longer period of time this way and sooner or later you are going to catch it I think and there may well not be anything resembling a hurricane hole to duck into (and you would be arriving there after everyone else has taken the best spots.

You might want to consider the use of a weather routing service (Chris Parker?) for this trip too.

My preference would be to bring the boat north next spring but I can understand why you would want it sooner.

Yorksailor 06-05-2011 04:27 PM

I too would be reluctant to start so late but if I did, I would pick a weather window (no hurricanes in the offing) and go Tortola to Florida none stop through the Old Bahama Channel staying on the Bahama side away from Cuban waters.

Beware of the St Augustine inlet in any kind of bad weather, a big power boat was lost there a few weeks back.

Then I would pick another weather window put her in the Gulf Stream and go outside Hatteras, the stick is unlikely to be ICW friendly on such a big boat, up to the Delaware

That big boat can do it to Florida in 7-8 days and another 6 to 8 days to Delaware.

Anything else keeps you in the hurricane zone for a longer period and there are very few safe havens en-route until you get to Florida. Also a tropical storm/hurricane when you are off-shore outside the Bahamas would be a very unpleasant affair. The only bail-out would be into the North East Providence Channel, any other entry would be lethal.

This routing and schedule is very hard work and if you both do not have off-shore experience you should find crew.

We left St Thomas May 30th heading south out of the hurricane zone! We lived in Miami for 4 hurricanes while owning a boat and would not like to repeat the experience.

Good luck,


svHyLyte 06-05-2011 07:01 PM

Tortola to St Augustine to Deleware at this time of year makes no sense at all. I suggest you shoot up to Hamilton, Bermuda, which in a boat that size should take only 5 daze or less; lay-over for R&R and a good weather window and then shoot directly for Deleware Bay maybe 3-1/2 to 4 daze. Then fly down to St. Augustine.


skipwiley1 06-05-2011 08:54 PM

Thank you all
I do appreciate your concern as far as timing, and I wish I could do this another time but it's just not an option. We will be motor sailing probably the entire way with no stop between Tortola and Florida. Believe me my paramount concern is getting the he'll out of the hurricane belt ASAP.

TQA 06-05-2011 11:26 PM

You do realise that it is a serious crime to hurry that particular route.

All the delightfull anchorages missed and almost certainly all the sailing wil be with the wind aft of the beam.

Spinnaker reaching conditions and the man talks of motor sailing arrrgh.

Still it is the big whirly season.

skipwiley1 06-06-2011 08:52 AM

Crime ? maybe, but the bigger crime is dilly dallying around and getting caught in a cat 5. all those beautiful sights will still be there in the fall. I wanna be too lol

Yorksailor 06-06-2011 09:27 AM


The first low that might turn into a storm is already mid-Caribbean!

Sure you don't want to head south?


Intellicast - Atlantic Analysis in United States

orthomartin 06-06-2011 11:38 AM

I just did the trip from Nanny Cay Tortola to Ft. Lauderdale to drop our boat off to the new owners. Really an easy trip assuming you have offshore skills and good charts. We passed to the south side of PR (much calmer) and then up along the west side of T&C, through the Bahama chain and across from the north side of Bimini. Non-stop you can do it in a week and if some serious weather pops up in the forecast you always have a couple days to find a place to hide and that routes provides plenty of emergency stop options if needed and as long as you are checking weather daily there is little chance of "getting caught".
We sailed our monohull over 30,000nm in the past 3 years (just sold her to go to a cat) so we understand what it's like to "get caught" but honestly I would make the trip you propose now if needed. Hurricane forecasting is so good these days you are always (except in the extremely rare situation) going to have 3 days to run and hide. Some will argue that "hiding" is still very risky given the power of a hurricane but in the worse case you would have a day or two to find a spot, secure the boat as best you can, and then get off to a safe area on land. A lot better than being at sea in a cat 2 or more. Of course some risk but there is always risk of one kind or another and in June the odds are in your favor by a long shot. Sure not the ideal time but hey, life is what it is.
From Fl you get a nice gulf stream push and as long as you avoid N wind (again forecast is very good for 2 days) you will make great time.
If however you don't have a good reliable way to get weather info while offshore (SSB or Iridium) don't do it!!
But...don't wait any longer, get going!

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