There is a shortcut through the north reef called Ridley Head Channel, but it requires local knowledge to enter. 2019 cruising route: sv Cloudy Bay – Caribbean (St Kitts & Nevis to Bahamas), haul out for the summer and back down to Bahamas. The Pilot Charts show us that the northern limit of the Northeast Trades is roughly on the same latitude as Miami at that time of year. As you approach, be sure it is bearing more than 60-degrees true. We sailed the short 15 miles from Culebrita to Brewers Bay on St Thomas. Local sailors respect it. Most yacht delivery and cruising sailboat skippers heading for the Lesser Antilles from Florida or the U.S. Gulf Coast choose Miami (or a little south of there) as their departure point. Spanish Wells is a prosperous community of Bahamian fishermen and their families who are descendants of the original Loyalist settlers. Many thanks to Captain Steve of Sail Catamaran Island Hoppin for his perfect US Virgin Islands Itinerary ☀️ Day 1: 12pm-Pickup at American Yacht Harbour marina in St. Thomas (crew can arrange transportation and provide rendezvous info) 1:00pm- Lunch and snorkeling at Caneel Bay, St. John, USVI An article by Caribbean Compass observed that “the 400 miles between Aruba and Cartagena ... ranks among the top five worst passages around the world.” The easiest alternative is to focus on the shorter distances between Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, three delightful islands with great scenery, ample history and well-protected wildlife. Then head roughly southeast by a point south toward a waypoint of 22 degrees north and 65 degrees west. The trouble is, any more direct route will pit you against prevailing tradewinds and currents. Want to look at some other popular sailing areas? Miami Sailing is the only known company in Florida that organizes private crewed sailing charters to Virgin Islands USVI BVI from Florida. Give them a call on the VHF and say hello. Sailors who know the Gulf Stream by reputation alone, fear it. Give Great Isaac a wide berth as you round it; at least a few miles. scott@bwsailing.com We made landfall well after dark and anchored in Bluff Bay in the lee of Beef Island. Also, a little R&R ashore for the crew is a good morale builder just prior to the offshore leg of your trip. However, this is deceptive. But if you’re intent on reaching the Lesser Antilles, follow the delivery skippers’ route offshore to the east. If the aim is to spend as much time as possible at anchor rather than tackling longer bluewater passages, the Bahamas are perfect. For the next several hundred miles, you’ve got to resist the temptation to head southeast toward the Virgin Islands. There are only two ways to get to the Virgin Islands, by air or by sea. Early the next morning, we set sail for the British Virgin Islands, more than 100 nm north, where we planned to spend the holidays doing some easy and relaxed cruising. A determined attitude is a prerequisite to completing any substantial voyage. Take your first left at the NAPA Store on to Castle Coakley. From here you sail due south, soon picking up the Northeast Trades if you haven’t already. Big Sail January 12, 2017 This from 21º 19’.113N, 065º29’.442W, or in other words, 1000 miles out from Fort Lauderdale with only 200 to go to St Thomas, US Virgin Islands on this seven-day ocean adventure via the non-stop, way out there “I-65” route. Then head roughly southeast by a point south toward a waypoint of 22 degrees north and 65 degrees west. Even in daylight it’s hard to tell which island is which at first. If the wind won’t give them a boat speed of four knots or better, the engine will. After clearing in with customs and immigration, take a stroll down the white, palm-fringed beach to Foxy’s thatch-and-bamboo beach bar for a well deserved rum punch. As you’re making easting in the Horse Latitudes, the Pilot Chart indicates a couple of notable features. It is strongest in winter. Last day of the year we finally made it to Bahamas. Sailing the Caribbean in a yacht is the type of bucket-list activity that is far more affordable and easy to organize than people might assume. A bit further on, these wind shifts will become your ally, but when strong northerly winds blow against the northbound current of the Gulf Stream, big, steep, breaking waves build rapidly, making for a rough passage. It can carry a brief but powerful punch! The idea is to make nearly all of your easting north of the trade wind belt in the area of relative calm called the “Horse Latitudes.”. The majority of hurricanes and storms that hit pass through Cuba and curve around the Gulf of Mexico before heading east. The best sailing route in the Caribbean that will allow you to savor most of the delights on offer is the Florida-Bonaire route. From here you sail due south, soon picking up the Northeast Trades if you haven’t already. The closest ports of entry are in the Bimini islands, or you can sail on to ports in the Abacos, the Berry Islands, or Nassau. Set a departure date. It provides a better angle for crossing the Gulf Stream’s strong current than Fort Lauderdale farther north, while to the south the Florida Keys curve away to the southwest, which only adds distance to the transit. The BVI consists of over 60 islands and cays. You’ll need a number of charts and guidebooks for this journey. From St. Maarten it is possible to visit both Anguilla and St. Barths in two easy day sails. You do not want to consider these lightly. For the best sailing in the world and a vacation where you can run on island time, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) are your best choice. The flip side is that yachts need to provision extensively, as self-sufficiency is key off the beaten track. Option 1 is the most popular method with the greatest variety of cultural and sailing attractions. At first blush, it appears that it would be easy, straightforward and safe to leave south Florida and “island-hop” southeast down through the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos. There’s no excuse for getting caught by a norther’ your first night out. From Sunny Isles shopping center head South on Route 66 which becomes 681. It was a good time to catch up on some editing and get boat chores done. Those same cold fronts that you were avoiding just a couple of days ago in the Gulf Stream can now be a real asset. Route 1: Sail in September from Newport, Rhode Island, to Bermuda, leave the boat in Bermuda, then return there in December to sail to St. Thomas. George Day, Newport, RI If you’re entering the British Virgin Islands, sail around the east end of Jost Van Dyke and along its south … Then the leading edge of the front comes with a cold rush out of the northwest, usually accompanied by blustery winds, clouds and rainsqualls. The relatively flat Leewards do not interfere as much with wind direction and speed as the steeper ridges islands of St. Lucia, Martinique and Grenada. Route 2: Depart in November from Little Creek, Virginia, sail south-southeast until the easterlies fill in, typically somewhere near 65 west, then sail south to St. Thomas. Find flights to British Virgin Islands from $151. Although the islands stretch in an arc from off the tip of Florida to off the coast of Venezuela, the sailing areas fall into three main categories: the Leewards, the Windwards and the offshore U.S. islands. Fly from Florida on JetBlue, Delta, American Airlines and more. Option 1 is the most popular method with the greatest variety of cultural and sailing attractions. You really can’t have too much aboard. For today’s auxiliary sailboat, the Horse Latitudes can provide a relatively easy path to the east. The routing is slightly different for a power yacht than a sailboat. The Leeward Islands itinerary involves a series of short island-hops among some strikingly different islands, including the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, British Anguilla, Dutch St. Maarten, French St. Barths, and independent St. Kitts and Nevis down to Antigua. | Admin. george@bwsailing.com Then, as the sky clears, the wind clocks around to the north and northeast before settling back into the prevailing easterly again. The Windward Islands are the southern Caribbean part of the chain that starts in Martinique and ends in Trinidad off the coast of Venezuela, including the popular cruising grounds of the Grenadines and the Tobago Cays. How far east into the Atlantic should you go before cutting southward toward the Virgin Islands? current will nudge the boat westward. The tradewinds are not gentle breezes, they can blow like hell, both in the direct path Belize-Virgin Islands or, particularly, along the north coast of Columbia and Venezuela. Any less puts you in danger of the off-lying reefs. If the tide is rising on the Banks it’ll tend to sweep you in toward the rocks at a knot or more. Heading north from the Caribbean, there are three obvious routes to consider: 1) Sail the Thorny Path northward from the Virgin Islands 2) Sail offshore direct, or 3) Ship your vessel on Dockwise from the Virgin Islands. The Azores route follows the prevailing southwesterly or westerly winds along or just north of the 40th parallel. That way the trades become your ally as you reach southward across them on the home stretch to the islands. It may be useful to review professional delivery skippers’ boat preparation, route planning and passagemaking techniques for the 1,100-mile, Miami-to-the-Virgins crossing. After leaving the crazy that is the So. For the delivery crew, provisioning is simply a matter of loading up with a few weeks worth of food, figuring on a 10-day average passage and then doubling the amount to cover unexpected delays. Tor is presently revisiting the Caribbean aboard his 42 foot ketch, Silverheels. As you sail southeast through the Bahamas’ Exuma islands chain, you soon run head on into the trade winds. The first step toward accomplishing any goal is to make the mental commitment to do it. To enter Spanish Wells from Northeast Providence Channel, follow the Bahamas guidebook instructions carefully. This does make the ship traffic, which can be considerable near Miami, seem more intimidating, but it will thin out soon after you get away from the coast. You would soon find yourself beating into the trade winds with the additional threat of dangerous reefs to leeward. Whether you're a beginner sailor or a long-time seasoned sailor, the Virgin Islands is the ideal destination for a Charter Yacht Vacation. Here you can enjoy the sights of opulent waterfront mansions and fancy yachts in the sun-kissed Latino-flavored decadence. The most popular was the Mona Passage, and the more unusual choice was the Windward Passage. Our tool enables you to choose your starting point and draw out your sailing route. Introduction. Great Isaac Light boasts a 23-mile visibility range. If you’ve been making decent time you’ll cross Northeast Providence Channel on your second night out. There are, however, a few precautions that will ensure a smooth start to your voyage. If the former, head out on a starboard tack to gain plenty of distance from the leeward reefs and islands to the south, and perhaps get north of the headwinds. Almost everything costs more in the West Indies, and some things found in stateside stores aren’t available at all in the islands. All rights reserved. – How to Outfit the Modern Cruising Sailboat (Sheridan House), is available in nautical bookstores and online. Nick Marshall is a UK-based writer specializing in trends and best-practice in the B2B sector. The main sailing considerations to take on board are the hurricane season, which runs from June to November, and places to provision and make repairs, as some islands (St. Maarten and Antigua, for example) are far more yacht-friendly than others. In 2015, my husband and I purchased a sailboat in the Virgin Islands sight unseen, quit our jobs in San Francisco and spent a year sailing the Caribbean and Bahamas, spending time in nearly every island between Venezuela and Florida. Be careful not to overcompensate. If you’re entering the British Virgin Islands, sail around the east end of Jost Van Dyke and along its south … This causes unsettled weather. Plan your perfect sailing trip! Keep an eye out for freighters, too. Accidents often occur at the very end of an offshore voyage when the skipper is tired and overly anxious to get into port. But I have assisted with moving power yachts down the islands and have many power yacht friends who have done the route with very little difficulty. For long passages, hardened sailors can attack the most southerly route from the Dutch ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) west to Panama. ROUTE PLANNING If you want to spent a winter cruising the Bahamas, that’s fine. It’s about 55 nautical miles across the Gulf Stream from Miami to the Great Bahama Bank’s northwest corner. Farther north, the Virgin Islands are scattered over a short distance and include some magical smaller islands, such as Jost van Dyke, that are only accessible by yacht. Here are a couple of quick links to try: Canary Islands, The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands. If you want to sail to the Virgin Islands and beyond this season, say so. Returned to Cloudy Bay mid-October for six weeks of intensive boat maintenance, then resumed sailing at the end of November, down to Florida. While waiting for your cruise to set out, hop into a car and head down to Fort Lauderdale – the Venice of America. During hurricane season, heading south from the East Coast of the United States to the islands involves pitting one’s wits and expertise against frequent storms. They seem to overlap. The consistent year-round conditions create a perfect Caribbean yacht charter: trade winds, friendly people, perfect weather and warm clear water! As you approach the Virgin Islands from the north, a 1/2-knot current will nudge the boat westward. The Bo… Three cruise lines offer cruises from Florida that visit Athens, Greece. Map with JOSM Remote; View. It’s the kind of place you’ve been dreaming of. You may wind up motoring for many days. Previously published in BWS by Tor Pinney. Comprising some 700 islands over 100,000 square miles, the Bahamas present hundreds of isolated, uninhabited cays with turquoise water anchorages and powder sand. Sometimes becalmed for weeks in this region of light and variable winds, the ship’s crew would find themselves running short of drinking water. First, the wind shifts to the south, then southwest. While the cruising sailor isn’t in such a hurry, there are some good reasons to follow the pro’s lead on this passage. Whether you're a beginner sailor or a long-time seasoned sailor, the Virgin Islands is the ideal destination for a Charter Yacht Vacation. Brag about it to your friends. If you find you’re closing with the islands after dark, don’t risk entering at night. It can, however, be a handy shortcut when leaving Spanish Wells in settled weather, with good eyeball piloting skills and a bright, high sun. For the most relaxing conditions with a following sea, the best bet is to start in Antigua where marine and provisioning facilities are excellent, then head directly to St. Maarten or stop off in St. Kitts and Nevis. Jeff grew up sailing in the Florida Keys and the Bahamas and learned to visually pick … If sailing to the Virgin Islands from USA has always been your dream - here we are - ready to make it come true. If it blows really hard, the Stream can become extremely dangerous for even the stoutest vessel. The best of the Caribbean can be found in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a trio of tropical destinations with white-sand beaches, top snorkeling opportunities, and pristine water in endless shades of blue. In reality, for a seaworthy sailboat in normal conditions, crossing the Gulf Stream is no big deal. VAR 3.5°5'E (2015) ANNUAL DECREASE 8' Edit. At this point experienced skippers are hoping for a norther. When we began to plan our route from Florida through the Bahamas and into the Caribbean, we realized there were two possible choices. On the second day out of Spanish Wells a current may set you 10 or 15 miles to the north. Four Americans claim they are being held like “hostages” in a British Virgin Islands hotel room after they accidentally sailed into the territory’s waters … Re-fueled and rested, it’s onward to the Caribbean. Delivery skippers insist on having at least a 500-mile motoring range for this trip, even if this means carrying extra fuel jugs lashed on deck. Boat Route Planner For Sailing Trip - SailingEurope. If you’re heading for the U.S. Virgin Islands, leave Jost Van Dyke to port and carry on to St. John, which is a nicer place to clear in than St. Thomas. Just ahead of the front it may die in the west. The bottom line is that beating into the trade winds is the pits. We were one of about 70 boats that sailed as part of the Caribbean 1500, an annual event organized by the Cruising Rally Association. Most skippers make a night crossing of the Stream in order to arrive on the other side with daylight. Weather; Sea Marks; Harbours; Tidal Scale; Sport Sailing the Caribbean in a yacht is the type of bucket-list activity that is far more affordable and easy to organize than people might assume. Finally, plan to carry plenty of fuel for the auxiliary engine. Late hurricanes generally develop to the west, making a passage via the Cape Verde islands more attractive. Trade winds, treasure islands. Land Ho! Bonaire is all Marine Park offshore, so there is no anchoring. Click here to email the webmaster. Here we are again, in the beautiful US Virgin Islands! This meridian, called “I-65” by some of the regulars, marks the last leg to the Virgin Islands and the best part of the trip. And arrange to have your mail forwarded there so you absolutely have to go. The safest tactic is to remain within the lee of each island. Croatia – explore sailing routes among more than 1000 islands and islets in the regions of the Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Šibenik and Kvarner and Istria. I'll go into more detail on the conditions in the Meds below.Croatia - Croatia's sailing season can be limited by the Bora, a North Eastern wind gust coming in from Russia, which can reach hurricane strength. 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