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sea the world 10-09-2012 10:20 PM

sailing routes from Antiqua to Galveston
hi, I am new to this forum. We are purchasing our 1st sailboat, a 44' Benetou. It is in Antiqua and we want to sail her to Galveston. We have read that November is an ideal time of year. Any recommendations on routes? How long will this sail take?

dacap06 10-10-2012 07:32 AM

Re: sailing routes from Antiqua to Galveston
Wow. Is this a troll?

Well, I'll answer as if you are serious. Congrats on the new boat! But you need to understand what you just got yourself into. Your posting is the marine equivalent of:
Hi, I have just purchased my first vehicle -- a well used but servicable Mac tractor trailer, but it is in Guatemala and I need to drive it up through Mexico back to Texas. I have never driven anything before, and have never had any training. I have read that November has nice weather for driving through Latin America. Can anyone advise me about which highways are suitable for such a juggernaut as a tractor-trailer?
I'm sure you get the picture. That boat can take you anywhere in the world. But there are so many ways for this to go wrong I can't even begin to count them. The short form of my answer is:

1. Hire Expert Help
2. Make a Plan that has many small steps, each of which increases your capability at little risk.
3. Execute your plan carefully

If I were to make your plan, it would be the one below. This plan will get you to the point of being able to use your boat to its full capability with minimal risk and maximum rewards.

The first task will be to get the boat's documentation in order so you can bring it into the United States. You need to do this before you move the boat. I hope you went through a broker! They can help with that. If not, consider paying a broker to help with it.

Next is getting the boat up to where you can use it. Hire a delivery captain and let him hire a crew to move it. He'll take care of the route.

Finally, someone who has never sailed should not take a 44 foot boat out any more than a non-driver should take out a big, articulated semi. Normally, a sailor will grow into something that size -- it would be his third or fourth boat. Before you sail it you need some training and experience. You need to take several courses at a good sailing school. Here in the USA, find one that is affiliated with the American Sailing Association, who has an excellent instructional curriculum. Plan on taking:

ASA 101 -- Basic Keelboat Sailing
ASA 103 -- Basic Coastal Cruising

Join a sailing club, then do some day sailing with some other people on their boats to get some experience and see how all this works in real life situations.

Finally, do some day sailing on your own boat with some of your new sailing friends as crew. For a boat that size, I would want at least 3 people on the boat.

When you have enough experience that you can handle your boat in reasonable weather (say winds up to 20 Kts) and can dock it consistently with confidence and without damage, you'll be ready for more. Back to school for:

ASA 105 Coastal Navigation
ASA 106 Advanced Coastal Cruising

If you also want to get more than 5 miles from land, then consider:

ASA 108 Offshore Passagemaking

Optionally, think about ASA 107 Celestial Navigation if working with a sextant interests you.

Zanshin 10-10-2012 07:50 AM

Re: sailing routes from Antiqua to Galveston
While I'm not as skeptical as dacap06, I would essentially recommend along similar lines to his. The weather is nice from November through early summer as this period is outside the hurricane season. Your trip from Antigua is best done by visiting the islands on the way - starting with Barbuda (optional, but beautiful) then St. Barths, St. Martin, BVI, USVI and Puerto Rico. From there the Dominican Republic on Hispaniola might be next but then you would want to skip Haiti and might not be allowed to legally visit Cuba.
But instead of specificying an itenerary here I would recommend hiring an experienced skipper, best to have one who is also an instructor and then accompany him/her on the route. That way you would get experience plus get professional training that would cover the contents of the ASA courses listed above.

The good news is that your trip is a downhill run - you'll have the wind and the waves behind you for much of the trip.

TQA 10-10-2012 02:02 PM

Re: sailing routes from Antiqua to Galveston
It could be a great downhill run flying the spi all the way!

You could do it non stop or island hop stopping at night although Cuba is a problem for you US citizens.

How many people will be onboard and how long do you have for the trip.

CapnBilll 10-11-2012 10:27 AM

Re: sailing routes from Antiqua to Galveston
I would second above hire a Captain.

Good weather is relative, there are two tropical storms in your path. No really bad cold fronts, ...yet, but plan on punching through a couple on the way across the gulf.

Look me up when you get to Galveston. I can show you around the Texas coast. As well as recommend a good ASA school.

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