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  #11  
Old 03-09-2013
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Re: Thorny Path

I think there is some confusion here. The idea of I65 is that you make your easting well north of the trades so you do not have to bash into them. If the butter melts before you turn right you have allowed yourself to get too far south. The most common point of departure is the Chesapeake since it is not too far north - note that you are doing this trip in early November when (hopefully) the hurricanes are done and when insurance coverage allows it. Also the Gulf Stream is not too far offshore so you can leave with a good forecast for crossing the stream. The route will typically take you quite close to Bermuda but the prevailing wisdom is not to stop if you have good conditions since they will change and you may be stuck in Bermuda for awhile, which is not the worst thing in the world except your early November passage may become an early December one. It is 1500 miles, hence the Caribbean 1500, so it is far from a trivial undertaking. When we did it, we had nine days of reaching and broad reaching with constant winds of 25 to 35 knots because the weather was dominated by a massive cold front that eventually extended from Greenland to Cuba. We had no normal tradewind conditions. The last three days were south winds around 10 knots. Other years people get virtually no wind and have fuel issues, so you can get anything at all. If you go this way make sure that you and your boat are ready for it. We have sailed from the New York to Cape Town and the two toughest passages were this one and from Mauritius to South Africa.

Haven't done the Thorny Path but from talking to people who have done it, it is not too bad so long as you follow two rules: a) van Sant's book is the bible, follow his advice exactly and b) be very patient (part of a)), if you try to rush it, the trip becomes miserable. Also have a look at the free cruising guides produced by Frank Virgintino. He is a proponent of going along the south shores of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. Makes considerable sense since you are in the lee of the islands so you don't get the big winter swells from the North Atlantic. Also, there are more, nicer places to stop on the southern shore of the Dominican than on the north, plus one in Haiti. Virgintino's stuff can be found here:
Free Cruising Guides Ľ Frank Virgintino

Someone mentioned the south coast of Cuba. That would make little sense if you were coming from the Atlantic Coast since you would to go so far west to get there. Might work if you were coming from Texas for example. When all the travel bans go and the Cubans get over their love of bureaucracy, Cuba will become a great destination. Final point, coming back from the Eastern Caribbean is not thorny at all. It is downwind.
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  #12  
Old 03-09-2013
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Re: Thorny Path

Chris Parker at the Caribbean Weather Center Marine Weather Center - Bahamas & Caribbean Marine Weather Services is a good source of weather informaton regarding the Thorny Path. If you want to talk to him you need a SSB radio and you need to subscribe to his service. If you just want to listen you don't have to pay and there are usually enough boats doing what you are doing that you can figure things out by listening to the conversations.
Faster and downeast450 like this.
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  #13  
Old 03-09-2013
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Thumbs up Re: Thorny Path

Quote:
Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
There are 2 generally accepted routes to get to the BVI from the mainland of USA. There is "I-65" and the "Thorny Pathy." .......
Awesome summary, Nightowl.. thanks for that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
Chris Parker at the Caribbean Weather Center Marine Weather Center - Bahamas & Caribbean Marine Weather Services is a good source of weather informaton regarding the Thorny Path. If you want to talk to him you need a SSB radio and you need to subscribe to his service. If you just want to listen you don't have to pay and there are usually enough boats doing what you are doing that you can figure things out by listening to the conversations.
Simply listening to Chris was a daily ritual on our Caribbean jaunts...
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  #14  
Old 03-09-2013
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Re: Thorny Path

Awesome write ups and comment!!! Thanks night0wl, Bruce and all others.

We have not much choice since the boat is in FLL, but take taking Thorny path to the virgins. Crews are hardy, but not sure about the boat. I was told that the boat has every thing under the sun in safety equipment and electronics. But how sound the boat is unknown.

I am thinking about Mona passage, but not sure how the current works there.

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Old 03-10-2013
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Re: Thorny Path

Again get van Sants book and read what he says, Mona passage currents are not reliable or predictable.
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Old 03-10-2013
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Re: Thorny Path

I ordered the book yesterday. But it looks like we are taking to I65 route this time. We will see and remain flexible pending on the weather, soundness of the vessel and crews.
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Old 03-11-2013
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Re: Thorny Path

You know, the first thing you need to figure out, are you dealing with true thorns?!?!? or Prickles? or Spines? Roses actually have prickles, Barberry's have thorns, cacti have spines.....

So once you figure out which one you have, you can figure out if you are really truthfully on the thorny route. It might really be the spiny or prickly route..........

Enough of my botany/horticultural back ground you say?!?!?!?

Enjoy the trip!

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Old 03-11-2013
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Re: Thorny Path

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
I ordered the book yesterday. But it looks like we are taking to I65 route this time. We will see and remain flexible pending on the weather, soundness of the vessel and crews.
You said the boat is in Florida and you say you are planning to take "I-65".

How does that work???
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  #19  
Old 03-11-2013
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Re: Thorny Path

So, is there an alternate path for leaving Key West and heading to Cancun area for landfall, then going south on the coast ?
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Old 03-12-2013
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Re: Thorny Path

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
So, is there an alternate path for leaving Key West and heading to Cancun area for landfall, then going south on the coast ?
This is NOT a good way to get to the Eastern Caribbean, which is where those following the Thorny Path generally want to go.
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