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Cara - Sunny Sailor
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Hi everyone, we are a couple that sold everything (house, motorcycle, car, furniture etc) to become full time liveaboards with the dream of sailing to the Bahamas and living there. At least for a few years!

Eddie is a retired firefighter and Cara is a former dance teacher and current artist. We bought a 40CC Beneteau named Music (perfect for the music lover in both of us) and moved onto her in Little River SC and are starting our adventures there before sailing down the east coast this fall.

We have a Blog to catalog our adventures if anyone would like to check it out. Thanks for welcoming us to the sailing community Sailnet!
www.thecrabbycaptainandthesunnysailor.com
 

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Very bold.... love the boat's name... Why Bahamas? Why not go to the Eastern Caribbean?

I sailed West thru the Bahamas... not much time there at all. But it was an easy down wind sail. Going East from FL is not a pleasant sail! Much better to shoot for the Eastern Caribe from where you are... and skip the southern USA east coast. Might be a giant step however.

Good luck... sounds like an awesome plan!

I skimmed your web page... totally awesome. Very professional! YIKES... Doesn't Cara need a spotter or a net when she's up in the air like that? It makes me nervous! The boats is fabulous!
 

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Cara - Sunny Sailor
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Discussion Starter #6
Very bold.... love the boat's name... Why Bahamas? Why not go to the Eastern Caribbean?

I sailed West thru the Bahamas... not much time there at all. But it was an easy down wind sail. Going East from FL is not a pleasant sail! Much better to shoot for the Eastern Caribe from where you are... and skip the southern USA east coast. Might be a giant step however.

Good luck... sounds like an awesome plan!

I skimmed your web page... totally awesome. Very professional! YIKES... Doesn't Cara need a spotter or a net when she's up in the air like that? It makes me nervous! The boats is fabulous!
When we say Bahamas, it is just our staring point but we appreciate any suggestions or thoughts you might have. It is best to learn from sailors who have gone before us!

Thanks for the thoughts on our page. As far as a spotter, I (Cara) don't worry as much about falling as I do about getting stuck up there. I fell once from about 2 feet off the ground on my 2nd lesson, and that was when i realized that was NOT going to happen again.

BUT.....I have had the silk wrap around me a few times in gusty winds and couldn't get the wraps/knots undone and had to get some help! That was not fun!
Be sure to subscribe to http://www.thecrabbycaptainandthesunnysailor.com! Thanks again!
The Sunny Sailor Cara
 

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You can count on the easterly trade winds blowing through those latitudes. What this means is if you are sailing east you are beating into the wind... heeled over and have to do a lot of tacking. Most cruisers avoid upwind sails if they can and choose a route and or a time of passage to have the winds at their back. Boat sails flat, more comfortable, easier to cook and so on.

So the approach to getting one's boat to the eastern Caribe from the US East coast is to first of all head east ABOVE the trade winds. You can hopefully depart from a north enough location where you will have south west winds which give you a downwind sail going east. Then once you made enough "easting" you can turn south and at some point you'll enter the trades and sail fast beam reach.

Ask others who have done this trip what route they took. Always use a weather router if you can and watch the weather pattern and go when you have a good weather window.
 

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When we say Bahamas, it is just our staring point but we appreciate any suggestions or thoughts you might have.
Don't skip the Bahamas - your plans are good. The Bahamas are a vast cruising ground (they cover 400nm of latitude, and encompass 300-400 islands), and if you spend time getting away from the typical spots, you will find some amazing experiences. Best of all, the cruising ranges from beginner level to advance, so there is a lot of area to hone skills, confidence, and comfort level.

We cruised the Bahamas when we started out, then spent the next 6 years exploring the Caribbean - Eastern, South America, Central America, and all the islands and countries in between. We still yearned for a bit more of the Bahamas, so we came back for a couple of seasons before heading off to other places again. You won't find water like the Bahamas anywhere else in the world, and the fishing, lobster, and conch is so easy.

We hated the Eastern Caribbean, with the French islands being an exception (fantastic cheap wine and food). Just wasn't our style - crowded, full of vacationing charter boats, very little actual culture left, crappy reefs and fishing, etc. It is easy sailing and cruising, and if you need stuff, it is available.

We love South and Central America (except Venezuela and mainland Honduras). More demanding cruising - not as well charted, need to learn Spanish, not a lot of facilities and parts - but a much richer cultural experience, and more undisturbed and vaster nature.

Mark
 

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For getting East from the Bahamas (if you really want to go to the Eastern Caribe), just get to Long Island or similar in the Bahamas, wait for a large cold front to come through, and hop on the back of it. You will get a day of NW winds, followed by a couple of days of N wind, then it will slowly go NNE-NE-ENE-E. You will have 20-25kts through it all.

Simply head due east and slowly curve South on a broad or beam reach as the wind clocks around. By the time the wind is ENE, you will be in a position to head due South on a broad reach just north of Puerto Rico and home free. Or continue to head a bit more East on a close reach until you can turn down to the VI's.

The only reason this isn't done more, and why everyone has books and blogs fretting about how to do the "thorny path", is because it seems few people are willing to make a 6-8 day offshore passage. Instead, they insist on day-hopping all the way down to the EC. This is the path of pain, and the main reason everyone finds it difficult.

Mark
 

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Mark I am not disparaging the Bahamas. I don't have enough experience to make any sweeping statements. The brief time I was there I liked it. We anchored off a tiny island with maybe a few dozen residents. We sailed west and it was a easy peasy downwind sail.

However I enjoyed the Eastern Caribe and avoided the Virgins. I found the island nations of the Eastern Caribe interesting and only "crowded" with fly in tourists in St. Martin. But perhaps things have changed since I lived down there on board. There was a fabulous sailing / cruiser community in Antigua...and first class marine services there. The island nations include mountain, volcanoes and rain forests and several lovely protected anchorages. I found this to be wonderful cruising grounds with interesting friendly people. Many sailors agree... I am sure some do not.
 

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Cara - Sunny Sailor
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Discussion Starter #11
Don't skip the Bahamas - your plans are good. The Bahamas are a vast cruising ground (they cover 400nm of latitude, and encompass 300-400 islands), and if you spend time getting away from the typical spots, you will find some amazing experiences. Best of all, the cruising ranges from beginner level to advance, so there is a lot of area to hone skills, confidence, and comfort level.

We cruised the Bahamas when we started out, then spent the next 6 years exploring the Caribbean - Eastern, South America, Central America, and all the islands and countries in between. We still yearned for a bit more of the Bahamas, so we came back for a couple of seasons before heading off to other places again. You won't find water like the Bahamas anywhere else in the world, and the fishing, lobster, and conch is so easy.

We hated the Eastern Caribbean, with the French islands being an exception (fantastic cheap wine and food). Just wasn't our style - crowded, full of vacationing charter boats, very little actual culture left, crappy reefs and fishing, etc. It is easy sailing and cruising, and if you need stuff, it is available.

We love South and Central America (except Venezuela and mainland Honduras). More demanding cruising - not as well charted, need to learn Spanish, not a lot of facilities and parts - but a much richer cultural experience, and more undisturbed and vaster nature.

Mark
Thanks Mark for your response. Just curious, did you come back to the states every year during hurricane season because of insurance restrictions?
 

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Thanks Mark for your response. Just curious, did you come back to the states every year during hurricane season because of insurance restrictions?
Only those years we spent fall/winter/spring in the Bahamas. Otherwise, we were either in countries below the hurricane box, or in places where there was a lot of protection from hurricanes and the boat could be well-secured in the event of one.

Mark
 
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