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Old 12-08-2021, 08:26 PM   #1
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travel to the carribean

hello forum, I am looking for anyone who has info about travel to the carribean on a 36' trawler, best month,best route, books,videos, pod casts, articles. I want to head from new england to florida to the bahamas to the islands on a 36 grand banks classic, i have been called crazy but its a dream any help out there?
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Old 12-08-2021, 08:50 PM   #2
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Go find the book by Bruce Van Sant, The Thornless Path. The gentleman’s guide to passages south. All your questions will be answered!
http://www.thornlesspath.com/books.htm
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Old 12-11-2021, 12:40 PM   #3
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Got the book Friday, started it and love it , thanks so much
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Old 12-11-2021, 03:58 PM   #4
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Got the book Friday, started it and love it , thanks so much
Glad to hear it!
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Old 12-11-2021, 04:53 PM   #5
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Would also pay very close attention to Noonsite. Due to Covid things change daily. As there’s going be more variants of concern down the road wouldn’t be sanguine what’s open now will be in the future.
Given the limited range of a 36’ you could find yourself in a jam. Depending upon which islands are closed you could find yourself stuck if the island you came from and the island you want to go to are closed.
Have many close friends who have had such difficulties over the last 2 years to have given up on Caribbean cruising.
Going east against the trades means you want to be on the south side (leewards) or west side (windwards). On that side you need to pay attention to compression zones and even rages( although I worry more about rages coming through a passage from north). So on a 36’ you really need to pay attention to weather. Depending upon gribs isn’t often sufficient. There’s very local weather. Both between islands and even in the lee of an island depending upon placement/height of mountains. Things can be placid in the lee of a island but quite nasty at the edges. Would spend some time learning marine weather and think about how you’re going to source weather information. Also things are usually quieter at night so have the boat set up for easy night running.
Coming home is much easier. It’s getting east that’s hard. BTW the Bahamas aren’t part of the Caribbean strictly speaking. Cruising there is quite different with different challenges.
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Old 12-11-2021, 05:05 PM   #6
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Back in 2003 I made that trip with my wife and 2 daughters. West coast of FL (Naples) to east coast of Puerto Rico, and then later thru all the USVI.

My thoughts/opinions, admittedly based only on one trip, one way:
- We went in June/July. Yes, thatís in Hurricane season, but itís the early months and we didnít have any storms going on the entire trip.
- I had 400 gal of fuel plus 10 five gallon jugs and a 55 gallon drum. I didnít need the extra until the overnight leg (see below).
- We went thru the Keys, the northern Bahamas, the southern Bahamas, Exumas, to Providenciales (Turks and Caicos), Grand Turk, Samana (Dominican Republic), Isla Desecheo, Mayaguez PR, and finally Roosevelt Roads NAS (Fajardo, east coast of PR).
- It took 2 weeks. We stopped every night except for the leg between Grand Turk and Samana.
- There was a high located over the central Atlantic that made it a clear but high wind/wave trip. The wind was 20-30 out of the east the entire time. We stayed in the lee (west) of the Bahama chain and the Exumas when able, but the southern Bahamas get real shallow so we were forced out in the open for a lot of the trip. Most of the way we saw 6-8í seas. Once we got south of the Bahamas and into the Turks and Caicos we were regularly going against 10-12í. Green water over the bow was a new and unpleasant experience for us.
- We lived in Puerto Rico for almost 5 years. My view is that the months from Nov to June are windy and always out of the east.
- The months of July - Sept are increasingly flat and beautiful for cruising. Except that the chances of hurricanes also increase in frequency with each week during those same months.
- When there is no threat of a hurricane for your path the late summer/ early fall months are the smoothest. But youíre going to need speed to run if needed, and very good and frequent weather reporting. Otherwise the shoulder seasons (June/July and Oct-Nov) might be 2nd best.
- Again, I did this once. There are probably people on here whoíve got way more experience making this crossing. I would look for their input.

If you want to talk more about it feel free to PM me and Iíll give you my phone number. I will say it was, at that point in our lives, the trip of a lifetime - it was amazing, life-changing. Itís the experience that sold us on cruising for the rest of our lives. But it had some difficult, and sometimes frightening points as well. But it was worth it.

Good luck!
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Old 12-11-2021, 06:18 PM   #7
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Be careful, be very careful. I'm serious when I issue this warning.

You're undersized for rough seas and I don't know your range.

Everything we'd normally warn such as read and recheck noonsite and the related links to security and piracy, go double and triple and quadruple.

Warnings about weather windows double and triple due to a combination of boat size, speed and range.

On each island you'll encounter smaller boats so you're fine on local boating. It's crossing from island to island that will challenge so the key to all this is when in doubt, don't. Just sit and enjoy and wait for the perfect situation.

Keep all this in mind and you'll do fine.
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Old 12-12-2021, 09:24 AM   #8
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There is an old saying on passage making that I have taken to heart in my older, more experienced, age. "Bad weather isn't what kills you. Schedules that put you in bad weather, is what kills you."
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Old 12-12-2021, 10:55 AM   #9
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thank you to all, your advice is much appreciated. I am a nubie with big dreams but I dont have my head up my.....I plan on learning all I can and then making an "educated" decision, to tell you the truth the loop is looking better and better but the clear water of St Johns just seems to be calling rather than the mud of the mississippi, thanks again to all
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Old 12-12-2021, 11:32 AM   #10
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thank you to all, your advice is much appreciated. I am a nubie with big dreams but I dont have my head up my.....I plan on learning all I can and then making an "educated" decision, to tell you the truth the loop is looking better and better but the clear water of St Johns just seems to be calling rather than the mud of the mississippi, thanks again to all
Wifey B: If I could only do one....Loop wins.

Seriously of all the boating adventures we've undertaken, none tops the loop while many others stand high and tall. At any rate, the loop is great for the first great adventure you take. All sorts of waters. Beautiful blue of the Gulf to the cold of Lake Superior and ocean to rivers. Still it's more than the waters. It's the history of all the different areas of the country. Yet it requires no special boat. Then after the loop you can explore the Bahamas and then if the Caribbean still beckons by then you're much better prepared.
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Old 12-12-2021, 11:45 AM   #11
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from the picture next to your profile name you must have another boat or you did the loop in a week and a half in that go fast ! I think you have a good point, a GB 36 is definetly set up better for the loop but well see, like I said I am a nubie
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Old 12-12-2021, 11:47 AM   #12
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C sounds like you have your head on straight. So will go beyond B&Bs and my prior polite posts. Don’t think at this time nor in the future you and your boat should do the Caribbean. Have cruised the Caribbean seeing every country except Barbados.
The leewards aren’t what they were. Way too commercialized. Might as well stay in Miami. Other than the National park St. John’s ain’t much. PR has some nice spots like Calubria but in general is a pass. The windwards are better. Still some reefs that are alive and fish to see. Still some fairly empty spaces. Our rule over 8 years evolved to avoid any country that had cruise ships or charter fleets. Don’t know you and what you like but if it’s natural beauty and peace and harmony it’s gotten more difficult to find.
Still a lot of the Bahamas is undeveloped. The Bahamas aren’t part of the Caribbean for the cruiser. The Bahamas are flat. The Caribbean islands are mountainous. The surrounding waters of the Caribbean islands are very deep very rapidly. This makes a huge difference when cruising. Weather on the Atlantic side v Caribbean ocean side of the Caribbean islands is hugely different. Seastate between the mountainous Caribbean islands is strikingly different. There’s even underwater active volcanoes like kick em genny to avoid. Although you hug the leeward coast traveling behind an island you often go miles to seaward between islands to avoid compression zones or refraction areas. These are beam seas so uncomfortable and even dangerous. There’s funneling of the winds between mountains on a particular island and downdrafts at other spots. In short you need a stout strong seaboat to comfortably cruise . Don’t think you’re on a suitable vessel even if you secure the local knowledge to avoid the usual hotspots.
The Bahamas are different than the Caribbean. No mountains and skinny water. Weather is very seasonal. Not as much hyperlocal weather. No north swell and no searching to find a safe spot for the amount of chain you carry. Just as beautiful in some ways but very different than the Caribbean. Think the Bahamas are in your reach and can be done safely. If you want to see St.John rent a room and a Jeep.
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Old 12-12-2021, 11:55 AM   #13
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from the picture next to your profile name you must have another boat or you did the loop in a week and a half in that go fast ! I think you have a good point, a GB 36 is definetly set up better for the loop but well see, like I said I am a nubie
Wifey B: Did the loop in a Sunseeker Manhattan 65 we no longer have. Planning on looping again in 2023 but haven't get the boat for it yet. Boat in my avatar is my Baby Riva. Doesn't get tremendous use but when just the two of us want an overnight date somewhere by water or a weekend. And we do run it some as a day boat around home. Holds a special place in my heart as one of our first boat purchases here. Plus small and cute. Oh, and sort of fast. 42 knots WOT, 36 cruise. Loop boat was 10 knots slower but slept six, seven, or eight. Baby Riva just sleeps the two of us cuddled in the bow. It's actually a Rivarama Plus and no longer built. I just have an attachment to it I don't have to others.
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Old 12-12-2021, 04:03 PM   #14
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beauty! thanks for the info, any advise for the loop? do it in sections? all at once? 2 years? my 92 year old dad wants to come with me at least part of the time so I better hurry up, although hes in better shape than I am
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Old 12-12-2021, 04:12 PM   #15
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the bahamas were on my list and from what I am hearing are sounding better and better and can be incorporated in to the loop. I have had my boat in 4' footers and wasnt all that thrilled, although I have naiad stabilizers which help, I cant really imagine 8' swells on my beam. Dreams change and remote anchorage in the bahamas sounds killer, I dont need cruise ships in my travels
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Old 12-12-2021, 04:27 PM   #16
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beauty! thanks for the info, any advise for the loop? do it in sections? all at once? 2 years? my 92 year old dad wants to come with me at least part of the time so I better hurry up, although hes in better shape than I am
Wifey B: Mid may to End of Sept, Hudson River to leaving Chicago. That's the critical time. You can take months or years from the outside of those two points. I'd cruise the Gulf and the East Coast one year without worrying about the loop, then be in NYC and ready on May1. After leaving Chicago, you can cruise the TN river a bit and then the TN Tom down to Mobile. Just depends on when you leave Chicago. We left the boat on the TN river and cruised it and the Cumberland the next summer. You're only governed by weather and opening of the locks on the Erie.
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Old 12-12-2021, 04:39 PM   #17
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Hippos advice above is spot on. I’ve cruised both areas and I second everything he said. While taking your GB36 to the Caribbean can be done, it would be ill advised. Fortunately, the Bahamas are a spectacular cruising ground and well within your boat’s capabilities. I will leave the loop comments to others but that also seems to be a great alternative for you. There is more boating adventure out there than most can do in a lifetime so its okay to pick and choose.
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Old 12-17-2021, 02:30 PM   #18
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If you are really keen on cruising the Caribbean on your GB36 here is another option. There are yacht transport companies that will take your GB36 from New England (Newport, RI) to St Thomas (USVI). You can pick it up there and enjoy the islands without the wear and tear on your boat not to mention the risks already highlighted. We did it and do not regret it.
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Old 12-17-2021, 03:37 PM   #19
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Wifey B: If I could only do one....Loop wins.

Seriously of all the boating adventures we've undertaken, none tops the loop while many others stand high and tall. At any rate, the loop is great for the first great adventure you take. All sorts of waters. Beautiful blue of the Gulf to the cold of Lake Superior and ocean to rivers. Still it's more than the waters. It's the history of all the different areas of the country. Yet it requires no special boat. Then after the loop you can explore the Bahamas and then if the Caribbean still beckons by then you're much better prepared.
How would one get a 60í trawler from PNW to do the loop? Or just get a boat already on the east coast, as the more practical alternative?
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Old 12-17-2021, 04:11 PM   #20
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How would one get a 60í trawler from PNW to do the loop? Or just get a boat already on the east coast, as the more practical alternative?
Wifey B: It's on the water, loops on the water, water to water it goes.

I'd do the dream trip through the Panama Canal from the PNW. In fact, I'd do "The Big U". That's Alaska to Maine. A book that doesn't appear to now be available on Kindle was "Cruising the Big U". Here is their association which I don't think ever got off the ground. Home

If you're not game for that, then I'd simply ship the boat from Vancouver to Fort Lauderdale or West Palm. You can start the loop from any point on the loop so from the Great Lakes or New England or anywhere on the East Coast or Gulf of Mexico coast or West Florida or the TN, Cumberland, Mississippi, Ohio, Potomac, Chesapeake, Delaware Rivers. Any boat, anywhere in the world can be dropped into the loop, just vary start time by where you are. As long as your draft is at least 5' (actually 6' will work) and your air draft is less than 19' (19'6" will work).
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