Join Date: Sep 2004
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I did San Juan to Cape Canaveral, FL last April in my boat -- non-stop it was a six day trip. We took the route shown on Fasterís graphic up the windward side of the Bahamas to the NE/NW Providence channels, then into the Gulf Stream to Cape Canaveral. I considered the other route up the Old Bahama Channel, but decided against it for crew scheduling reasons.
If youíre headed to Miami the two are roughly the same mileage and the pros-cons are these:
1. The Old Bahama Channel (OBC) route places you in the lee of the Bahama banks most of the trip and so you will avoid the ocean swells from N. Atlantic winter storms for much of this route. In April we had a few days of uncomfortable seas when long period swells came from a northerly direction and wind was from the east at 20-25 kts. If weíd been in the OBC it would have been a smoother ride.
2. The OBC route has few places to stop along the way. If youíre not sight seeing thatís not an issue. If you want to break the trip the route via the Bahamas is probably better although you will pay $300 for a cruising permit the first place you put into the Bahamas.
3. The OBC route will set you up for an easier ride once you get to the Gulf Stream whereas the other route forces you to cross the stream north of Miami and then move south along the FL coast. This takes you a bit out of the way and puts weather in the Stream more in play --frequent cold fronts this time of year can bring strong winds from the north against the Gulf Stream for several days at a time. The winds associated with these fronts are often stronger the further north you are.
4. Fishing might be better in the OBC. Last spring we were moving so fast we didnít have much chance to fish.