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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. Click here to email the webmaster. 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. The BVI consists of over 60 islands and cays. Comprising some 700 islands over 100,000 square miles, the Bahamas present hundreds of isolated, uninhabited cays with turquoise water anchorages and powder sand. – How to Outfit the Modern Cruising Sailboat (Sheridan House), is available in nautical bookstores and online. Heave-to and wait for dawn. Buy the charts and guide books. And is to be avoided if at all possible. Late hurricanes generally develop to the west, making a passage via the Cape Verde islands more attractive. Find flights to British Virgin Islands from $151. Approach the Lesser Antilles from the Bahamas, and you will be facing strong headwinds that will turn a pleasant sail into a tiring windward beat. They’ve claimed countless unwary vessels over the centuries, and still manage to snag the occasional yacht today. Passages between the larger island of St. Lucia and Martinique can be completed in a day, but the big difference between sailing here compared with the Leewards is the greater shift in wind conditions in the passages between islands. We are the third business on the right just beyond the scrap metal shop. Most boats make the passage from Miami to the Virgins in November and December, right after hurricane season. They’re pros, not purists. 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. Finally, plan to carry plenty of fuel for the auxiliary engine. If you want to sail to the Virgin Islands and beyond this season, say so. 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. Ahead lies the open Atlantic, but before heading into it you have the option of stopping in Spanish Wells, Bahamas, near the northern tip of Eleuthera Island. 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 … By Andrew Burton. Work out current vectors based on your boat’s speed, allowing for the current’s gradual increase and then decrease as you cross. This route provides a better angle for attacking the Gulf Stream. Outside the hurricane season, passages to and between the islands are more predictable, with steady Trade Winds and consistent seas. It’s not unusual to see some freighter traffic and the occasional cruise ship. 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.”. Rule number one in the Gulf Stream is to avoid northers; the cold fronts that come blasting down the Florida peninsula every so often, usually beginning in November and becoming more frequent and more powerful as the season progresses. Here’s one instance where pros and cruisers differ greatly in their requirements. 2019 cruising route: sv Cloudy Bay – Caribbean (St Kitts & Nevis to Bahamas), haul out for the summer and back down to Bahamas. The Mediterranean - The Mediterranean doesn't really have a storm season, although the weather is most unsettled in late summer when the water and land temperature is highest and the air temperatures drop. Re-fueled and rested, it’s onward to the Caribbean. 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. In the absence of a norther, the likely alternatives are beating into steady easterlies, or motoring into light easterlies. If you’re entering the British Virgin Islands, sail around the east end of Jost Van Dyke and along its south … With almost constant northwesterly winds, cruising in this area follows a simple path up and down the chain, much gentler on the Caribbean Sea side than the Atlantic Ocean side. Reliable trade winds, easy line-of-sight sailing, and beautiful sun-warmed scenery make our BVI charter itinerary one of the world's best Caribbean sailing experiences.. Embark on a bareboat or skippered sailing vacation and discover the splendid variety of the British Virgin Islands, where you’ll swim with turtles above vibrant reefs, … Add in that a huge number of power yacht deliveries are made to the Caribbean Islands from Florida each year very successfully. The most popular was the Mona Passage, and the more unusual choice was the Windward Passage. 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. 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. They pass this way while traveling between Europe and Panama. Fla. coast, you have a hopefully uneventful time in the Stream — and plenty of time to practice tracking ships on the AIS — and come morning are approaching the Bahamas. Use the links below to skip to the section of interest or scroll down and read it all. Forget Bermuda; Don Street, CNN Travel: Yes, You Too Can Sail on a Private Yacht in the Caribbean; Jordan Rane, The Moorings: Bareboat Sailing Vacations in the Windward Islands, The Difference Between Hawaii & the Caribbean Islands, The Best Snorkeling in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand. Just listen to a NOAA weather radio forecast on the VHF before casting off. Few areas in the Caribbean offer a better contrast in tempo, culture and activities. Delivery skippers, setting sail as soon as the wind goes south, use these favorable wind directions to make a few hundred miles of “free easting” into the Atlantic. The prevailing winds are east or southeasterly in summer, northeasterly in winter, so the easiest route is to head south, keeping the wind off the beam. PREPARATION Want to look at some other popular sailing areas? Land Ho! Add to that the knot or two of adverse current and you’ve got a long, grueling journey that will test the resolve of the captain, the loyalty of the crew and the structural integrity of the vessel. Fort Lauderdale is an ideal place to do this, with many stores and services that cater to yachts. 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. Jeff grew up sailing in the Florida Keys and the Bahamas and learned to visually pick … In reality, for a seaworthy sailboat in normal conditions, crossing the Gulf Stream is no big deal. It’s about 55 nautical miles across the Gulf Stream from Miami to the Great Bahama Bank’s northwest corner. From here you sail due south, soon picking up the Northeast Trades if you haven’t already. Sailing between the different islands is ideal because they are all relatively close together, and the weather and winds are fairly consistent year-round. We made landfall well after dark and anchored in Bluff Bay in the lee of Beef Island. Check the weather forecast again. The Azores route follows the prevailing southwesterly or westerly winds along or just north of the 40th parallel. 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. Provisioning a cruising sailboat is a project that ought to be completed before leaving the mainland. | Admin. The Azores lie at 38°N but by bending north you not only have the likelihood of prevailing winds but are also sailing a great circle route, the shortest route. Then head roughly southeast by a point south toward a waypoint of 22 degrees north and 65 degrees west. The majority of cruisers head straight to the Grenadines, where there is a lively cruising community and endless opportunity to potter around the 30 smaller islands teeming with sea life. It’ll pay off. 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. 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. Sailing legend Don Street recommends heading straight for St. Thomas and skipping a stop-off in the Bahamas entirely. 401-847-7612, Scott Akerman, Portland, ME The trouble is, any more direct route will pit you against prevailing tradewinds and currents. Pick any one of these areas and you can enjoy a series of short sails between anchorages. Tantalisingly close, the Bimini islands are only 50 miles from the Florida coast; West End in Freeport only a little farther with the added benefit of being on the doorstep of the Abacos, one of the best cruising grounds in the Bahamas. There’s no excuse for getting caught by a norther’ your first night out. A radar can help clarify things, but be certain you have reliable position fixes. It not only allows enough rest, but also rotates the watch schedule, giving each crewmember their fair share of sunrises at sea. Trade winds, treasure islands. 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. The prevailing winds here are from the east and southeast—exactly where you want to go (naturally), but as a norther approaches it sets up a veering wind pattern. If you find you’re closing with the islands after dark, don’t risk entering at night. The majority of hurricanes and storms that hit pass through Cuba and curve around the Gulf of Mexico before heading east. If the wind won’t give them a boat speed of four knots or better, the engine will. Rico, is a natural point of departure for sailing to the Spanish Virgin Islands. Every year these eastern Caribbean islands lure more and more sailors to their sunny skies, steady trades, warm waters and white beaches. This route is usually undertaken solely for the purpose of crossing the Panama Canal, as conditions are tough. If you do beat your way down to Puerto Plata on a hard port tack, you’ll still be facing nearly 350 nautical miles into the teeth of these powerful winds and seas, a miserable prospect at best. 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. Then, as the sky clears, the wind clocks around to the north and northeast before settling back into the prevailing easterly again. If you’re entering the British Virgin Islands, sail around the east end of Jost Van Dyke and along its south … 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. Give them a call on the VHF and say hello. If sailing to the Virgin Islands from USA has always been your dream - here we are - ready to make it come true. Map with JOSM Remote; View. The consistent year-round conditions create a perfect Caribbean yacht charter: trade winds, friendly people, perfect weather and warm clear water! However, this is deceptive. 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. 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. To enter Spanish Wells from Northeast Providence Channel, follow the Bahamas guidebook instructions carefully. If you’ve been making decent time you’ll cross Northeast Providence Channel on your second night out. It was a good time to catch up on some editing and get boat chores done. We were one of about 70 boats that sailed as part of the Caribbean 1500, an annual event organized by the Cruising Rally Association. As you sail southeast through the Bahamas’ Exuma islands chain, you soon run head on into the trade winds. The consistent year-round conditions create a perfect Caribbean yacht charter: trade winds, friendly people, perfect weather and warm clear water! For setting watches, three hours on and six off works well with a three-man crew, though that is entirely up to you. Croatia – explore sailing routes among more than 1000 islands and islets in the regions of the Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Šibenik and Kvarner and Istria. On the second day out of Spanish Wells a current may set you 10 or 15 miles to the north. The cruises are quite lengthy due to the great distances they are traveling and periodically sail for several days at a … But for the cruising sailor who is heading down to the islands for the season, the year, or longer, Florida is the last chance to really stock up. Later, somewhere around 68-degrees west longitude (depending on your latitude), you’ll cross the San Juan to New York shipping lane. Whiz through the Everglades Mangrove swamp in an airboat and take some picture… The safest tactic is to remain within the lee of each island. 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. email@example.com Around 70 degrees west, start putting a bit of southing in your course so that you cross the 24th parallel around the 67th meridian. 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. Keep your resolve to go east. 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. Avoid stormy weather and temperamental waters by planning your Caribbean sailing holiday for sometime between January and March. 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. Keep a sharp lookout here; there may be a lot of traffic. This causes unsettled weather. If you stray farther east than 64 degrees 30’ west, you risk sailing onto the infamous reefs of Anagada. The next step is provisioning. Since the objective is to avoid going east against the relentless head winds likely to be encountered south of that latitude, knowledgeable sailors head east from Miami, through the Bahamas, and then continue due east or even a shade north of east into the Atlantic. 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. Miami Sailing is the only known company in Florida that organizes private crewed sailing charters to Virgin Islands USVI BVI from Florida. For Passport Guidelines visit Visitor Information. How far east into the Atlantic should you go before cutting southward toward the Virgin Islands? The cruises all depart from Fort Lauderdale and dock at Piraeus—the main port of Athens. School of Sailing published a great piece on navigating current in the Straits of Florida here. Sailors who know the Gulf Stream by reputation alone, fear it. 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. Almost everything costs more in the West Indies, and some things found in stateside stores aren’t available at all in the islands. Even in daylight it’s hard to tell which island is which at first. Since we spent months here last season, we weren’t in any rush to sightsee. They’ll report approaching cold fronts at least 24 hours in advance. However, those who heed the call face a long offshore passage before the first island heaves into view. Tor is presently revisiting the Caribbean aboard his 42 foot ketch, Silverheels. Blue Water Sailing Media publishes Blue Water Sailing magazine, Multihulls Today and other titles. 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. Introduction. As you approach, be sure it is bearing more than 60-degrees true. After leaving the crazy that is the So. Miami Sailing have operated private sailing charters in Florida since 2000, starting with day charters in Miami, followed by overnight charters … 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. If you’re sailing, cross the Gulf Stream on a day that has good weather and a fairly steady breeze so you can get to the islands in good time and on schedule. Local sailors respect it. The best sailing route in the Caribbean that will allow you to savor most of the delights on offer is the Florida-Bonaire route. For the next 65 miles, you’ll be heading a point south of east in Northwest Providence Channel, a 30- to 50-mile wide, deep-water pass through the northern Bahamas. The British Virgin Islands In the logbook of every sailor. The Virgin Islands is a sailor's paradise! Here we are again, in the beautiful US Virgin Islands! To centre the map on the main sailing areas of Greece simply select here: Cyclades, Saronic Gulf, Ionian Islands, Dodecanese, Sporades. From here you sail due south, soon picking up the Northeast Trades if you haven’t already. We sailed the short 15 miles from Culebrita to Brewers Bay on St Thomas. For the next several hundred miles, you’ve got to resist the temptation to head southeast toward the Virgin Islands. The routing is slightly different for a power yacht than a sailboat. While waiting for your cruise to set out, hop into a car and head down to Fort Lauderdale – the Venice of America. THE PASSAGE The bottom line is that beating into the trade winds is the pits. It is strongest in winter. 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 trick is to enter the trade wind belt when you’re north—or just a little west of north—of St. Thomas. 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. 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. When planning your course, compensate for the three-knot (midstream average) northerly-setting current by steering about two points south of the rhumb line. The trip from Miami, Florida, is a little more than 1,100 nautical miles. Sailing the Caribbean. From Sunny Isles shopping center head South on Route 66 which becomes 681. Just be sure your sails are reefed way down before the arrival of the actual front. Give Great Isaac a wide berth as you round it; at least a few miles. 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. This is why the Bahamian port of Georgetown, Exuma (nicknamed “Chicken Harbor”) is crowded with Caribbean-bound boats that won’t make it the rest of the way this year. You would soon find yourself beating into the trade winds with the additional threat of dangerous reefs to leeward. The same goes for equipment, spares, tools and cleaning supplies. 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 Search for British Virgin Islands flights on KAYAK now to find the best deal. 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. This goes for professionals and cruisers alike. If it blows really hard, the Stream can become extremely dangerous for even the stoutest vessel. 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. For long passages, hardened sailors can attack the most southerly route from the Dutch ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) west to Panama. 207-939-5802, © 2014 Blue Water Media. Any less puts you in danger of the off-lying reefs. You’ll need a number of charts and guidebooks for this journey. Internet and SSB weather services like Chris Parker (http://mwxc.com/services.php) are also excellent sources. 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. Just ahead of the front it may die in the west. Great Isaac Light boasts a 23-mile visibility range. 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. The first hurtle to overcome on this passage is crossing the infamous Gulf Stream. Since December 2014, we have been sailing north towards the Virgin Islands. Man, what a sleigh ride! 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. Previously published in BWS by Tor Pinney. Then head roughly southeast by a point south toward a waypoint of 22 degrees north and 65 degrees west. Plan your perfect sailing trip! 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. Those same cold fronts that you were avoiding just a couple of days ago in the Gulf Stream can now be a real asset. The best time to depart is late May through early June. The Bo… George Day, Newport, RI 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. If you’re heading for the U.S. Virgin Islands, leave Jost Van Dyke to port and carry on to St. John, which is an easier place to clear in than St. Thomas. Route 66 which becomes 681 beautiful US Virgin Islands and beyond this season, to..., for a power yacht than a sailboat Bay in the west you... ’ t have too much aboard your mail forwarded there so you absolutely have go... A Cruising sailboat is a prerequisite to completing any substantial voyage Park offshore, so there is a through... Least 24 hours sailing route from florida to virgin islands advance the cruises all depart from Fort Lauderdale is an place... 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