|…The Book on sailing south…|
Radeen and I have studied Bruce Van Sant’s book “Passages South” and we have made the routes on our laptops and on our B and G plotter and Samsung tablet. We are excited to begin this new chapter in our cruising adventures, which means heading south from George Town, Exuma, to the Eastern Caribbean. We have been to Long Island before and that will be our staging point. The route is well planned by Van Sant and the concept is like this. (He calls his route The Thornless Path to Windward, instead of The Thorny Path. Let’s hope so!) Leaving Long Island and heading east and south, we will make our first major stop at Provo in the Turks and Caicos where we plan to check into the country at South Side Marina. We will spend time in Provo and then wait for the next weather window to run the 50+ nm Caicos Banks. We will anchor for one night at the end of the Banks. The next day we will run south to Big Sand Cay and then onto the Dominican Republic, known as the DR.
|The Luperon Harbor|
The next option east is called OCEAN WORLD where we would need to take a dock. If you look at this map, you can figure out why they call this place “Motion World” as the east trades and swells come into this harbor as they bounce off the rock wall and reflect back into the marina. We also hear that is the swell is running then this can be a dangerous entrance. This is in contrast to Luperon where you can easily sail in and drop an anchor. We will need to study the swells before leaving Turks and Caicos and then make the call as to where to check in.
|Ocean World Marina in the DR|
Now that we will be in the DR, the next challenge is motoring east into the trade winds and the current. This is accomplished by motoring at night when the trade winds are blocked by the mountain down drafts, called Katabatic winds, off the DR coast. This makes a calm lee that reaches offshore 5-10 miles off the coast. So, we will motor east during the night and then when the trades kick back in around 9am, we will head back into shore and drop the anchor and wait for the nighttime lee. This leads us to Puerto Rico’s south shore heading east to the Spanish Virgins and then into the US Virgin Islands and onward to the British Virgin Islands. At this point, either this season or next, we will make a turn southward for St. Maarten and the Leeward Islands and then down the Windward Islands. We will haul out the boat and store it somewhere between Puerto Rico and Grenada for May 15 – November 1.
Here are some maps of these plans…
George Town to Long Island to Calabash Bay to Provo. Day hop to Conception (3) Rum (4) to Provo (5A) …. or make one 200nm run to Provo (5B).
The Virgin Islands and south, island hopping or making a full 2 day run.
Options on this plan:
- Store the boat in Puerto Rico, USVIs, BVIs or Antigua, Jolly Harbor
- This will save time and allow us to explore more northern areas without rushing south
- This will also allow us to start there next year
- Or, simply take a WX window and sail over night for Grenada and store the boat there.