FL to the Caymans - which route? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 17 Old 02-24-2004 Thread Starter
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FL to the Caymans - which route?

Scratching chin and considering a cruise from Southern Florida to a primary goal at Cayman Brac (to see the Teignmouth Electron before she''s gone). Towards that end I would appreciate some advice.

Assuming we could leave anywhere between Miami and the Dry Tortugas and pretty much any time of year, what would be the preferable route and season for sailing around Cuba? East to the Windward Passage or west through the Yucatan Channel?

Could anyone share any real-world time estimates for sailing from the Keys to the Caymans, or the Keys through the Windward Passage to Jamaica? Or the Keys->Cancun then Cancun->Caymans?

Any advice or experiences would be sincerely appreciated.

Jonathan
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post #2 of 17 Old 02-25-2004
 
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FL to the Caymans - which route?

Jonathan, either route can be made to work but they are quite different in terms of the time it would take and the diversity of cruising it would offer; I think your choice is more a function of what you want from the trip than about the destination. As you probably know, Passages South by VanSant would be your best reference for understanding wx patterns and monitoring wx, while Rauscher''s guide is the best for the W Carribean and Calder''s now dated guide gives a useful overview of wx systems, seasonal variations,routings, etc. I would strongly recommend against a summer/fall cruise due to the frequency (and destructive strength) of the storms that frequent the area.

If it were my choice to make, I''d definitely use the clockwise routing. IMO the advantages are:
1. the chance to cruise and enjoy the Bahamas, shake down the boat, and decent provisioning in Georgetown, Great Exuma
2. departure via the Ragged Keys or via Crooked/Acklins when leaving (I would probably not be tempted to stop at Great Inagua)
3. sail south thru the Windward Passage, expecting the perfunctory USCG boarding since that''s a choke point for drug deliveries into Haiti
4. if we were doing this in the early Spring or late Fall and prevailing conditions were moderate, I''d be eager to sail along Haiti''s S coast and revisit Ile a Vache, a wonderful experience that''s akin to walking thru the front cover of a 1930''s Nat''l Geographic and also very safe; short stays involve no officials or clearance efforts, and I''d be sure to catch Market Day at Madame Bernard, too
5. with/without Ile a Vache, I''d enjoy cruising the N coast of Jamaica; no clearance fees and a free transire make it simple/easy; John Lethbridge''s dated but still helpful guide well worth carrying
6. with a good f''cast for extended stable wx, I''d leave the anchorage at the far W end of Jamaica for Cayman Brac and be very careful about where I anchored on arrival, as the anchorage isn''t ideal and usually fairly active in prevailing conditions
7. continue on to G''town, GC (free moorings but don''t clear in on a weekend; very expensive) and take a breather by then entering North Sound and resting in the totally protected anchorages adjacent to the yacht club
8. begin heading back to FL with many cruising options open to me, and with this routing never requiring you to revisit places you''ve already seen nor needing to deal with the Cuban dilemma that, as U.S. citizens, we currently face

Jack

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post #3 of 17 Old 02-26-2004 Thread Starter
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FL to the Caymans - which route?

Once again I learn from your postings Jack (smile). Excellent perspective on the paper trail too..

Could you add any rough time estimates on those legs? How about on a closing leg from GC through the Channel back to the Keys?

Guess I''m hoping for hand-holding on a goal of fitting it into 3 weeks.

Jonathan
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post #4 of 17 Old 02-26-2004
 
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FL to the Caymans - which route?

Jonathan:

Oh golly, 3 weeks isn''t even close to the time I''m afraid you''ll need. Don''t forget you''ll occasionally need to accommodate frontal passages, at the very least during your Bahamas leg and again when striking out from either Isla Mujeres or rounding Cabo San Antonio and heading back to Florida. Discounting side treks, I make the approximate run from West Palm via the Windward Passage and subsequently via the Yucatan Straits back to Key West at 1800 NM or so; and you''d need to add some add''l distance from your departure point? Plus of course, making the effort doesn''t include the add''l time it takes to make it worthwhile.

Jack
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Re: FL to the Caymans - which route?

I apologize for resurrecting a 15 year old post. This one just kept coming up in my Google searches so I thought it may be a good jumping off point.

Seems like Whoosh's outline above is twice the distance, but much more favorable than a Westerly approach due to winds (pilot chart below).

Has anyone in this group tried a Westerly approach around Cuba (from Florida) to the Caymans? Is the typical sea state (in the Caymans) and wind condition similar to the Windward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean?
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Cayman-Pilot.JPG  

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post #6 of 17 Old 05-29-2019
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Havent yet but have looked at this a lot...

I think once you make cabo san antonio you would be good to go...poking your way along the south coast.
Then choose when to make the jump to caymans.
Waterway has a new 2019 cuba guide and looks helpful...especially so for the south coast.

Im planning for cuba but will probably jump from jumentos to puerto de vita..then work around to south side..having prevailing winds in my favor.
Caymans or jamaica give you enough easting for a canal run
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post #7 of 17 Old 05-30-2019
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Re: FL to the Caymans - which route?

Ha ha ha.... I just opened the chart plotter to work out the passage myself (I havent read any replies yet).....

ROTFLMAO!

What a difficult set of senarios!
Depends ont he time you have. If you have plenty then weather window it via the Bahamas/ Windward Passage.
Up the Old Bahamas Channel would be difficult... as is the westerly route. and you need to do them non-stop.

Now let me read peoples answers
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Re: FL to the Caymans - which route?

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Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
Ha ha ha.... I just opened the chart plotter to work out the passage myself (I havent read any replies yet).....

ROTFLMAO!

What a difficult set of senarios!
Definitely not an easily accessible (by sail) island. Might have to take a 12 month sabbatical for this one and come from the East (or charter). I'm thinking the same mountains that shred many of the hurricanes passing by may also be responsible for some serious off season weather events in that area. My better half may not appreciate the challenge as much I would...
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Re: FL to the Caymans - which route?

I don't see what the perceived difficulty is getting to the Caymans from Miami. Toddle down the Southern Bahamas to the Ragged Islands and enjoy them for a while, head through the windward passage and take a right. Go to the Caymans. It's ~500nm downwind and no current. It can be broken into steps if wanted - Ragged to Port Antonio, then either South Coast of Cuba or North Coast of Jamaica, stopping in several potential places along the way. The longest run this way would only be ~48hrs.

We did the opposite direction a couple years ago. It wasn't nice that way.

Mark
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post #10 of 17 Old 05-30-2019
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I belive the reopening of this thread was somebody wanted to hit cuba..and then caymans.
Cuba from west...check in at hemingway and work way west or..check in at cabo san antonio.
Cuba from bahamas...puerto de vita is most eastern check in on north shore and one long day hop from duncan town ragged/jumentos...santiago de cuba is most eastern check in on south side.
Check in ports are quite limited
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