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Old 07-18-2017, 03:35 PM   #1
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Default New Orleans to Roatan

Hi,

I've trying to find threads, forums and info of people that have actually done a major piece of any of the following.

I want to cruise my 26' Trojan from the great loop exit (new Orleans)on the gulf to a small property I own in Roatan.

I realize this is not a small feat but would like to look seriously at whats involved.

I would be completing this trip with a long time friend and he has close to 30 years cruising experience, I have only 2 years cruising and 5 years sailing experience, mostly both of our experiences are in inland waterways. I have some limited open ocean sailing.

The boat would be rebuilt and provisioned accordingly for the trip.

We would like to do the trip late November early December. We can take our time and hop along shore line to reduce open water when and where possible.

We are Canadian and British so passports and visas should not be to much of a limitation in terms of where we hold up.

We will have already cruised for close to 1000 miles when we hit the Gulf so should be very accustomed with the boat and will not even start the last leg unless confidence is extremely high in both ourselves and the boat.

We have a modified Trojan with an enlarged fuel tank etc. and are hoping to average 200 miles a day @ approx. 12-18 knots. We will be equipped with redundant chart plotters and single Radar.

I realize its a small boat for open water and we would plan to only set out in optimum situations each day (with of course the reality that things can change very quickly).

Between New Orleans and Key West things are very well documented as its part of the great loop and 200 or so people do it a year. However i have not found a great deal of logs from people that have actually gone from Key West > Cuba > Cozumel > Belize > Roatan (our preferred route) OR Key West > Bahamas > Turks > Jamaica > Cayman > Swan Island > Roatan (my least favorite route as its a lot of open water, but I understand may be more favorable for other reasons).

Questions:
1. Best route (assuming currents, weather, time of year, least open water stretches < 200 miles).
2. Is doing this in a 26 foot boat an absolute mistake. (constructive comments)
3. Stops, gas, people and places to rest up and resupply.
4. Safety from pirates (is this a real concern) etc.
5. I will continue to search but any resources that might help shred light on planning, forums, threads etc.
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Old 07-19-2017, 03:54 AM   #2
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Hi Baggins, I assume the Trojan 26 is a small powerboat. While I am a supporter of people who go to sea in small, unsophisticated boats, I offer my experience for you to consider. Before I bought my first sailboat, I was a powerboat sailor. I owned a Bertram 25. I would take it on the open sea only after careful research of the weather, wind and tides...and it served me well.

What led me to make the change to a sailboat was a little craft called an S8O. I made up a sailing class because someone dropped out and a friend pleaded with me to fill the place, otherwise the weekend class would have been abandoned. This was in the Wet season in Darwin, Australia. The wind was strong, there were occasional squalls and the tidal range of up to 27 feet, meant there were some strong currents running at 5-6 knots.

We took that boat out in weather I would not have been happy in aboard a 40' powerboat. The difference between a Bertram 25 and a similar sized ballasted sailboat was immense. Having said that, any well found boat on a calm sea is safe. In other words, I don't think the boat is too small, providing the conditions are moderate. But, even in moderate conditions, I think 200 miles a day is ambitious. If you can cover 150, you will be doing well.
The Gulf can be unpredictable, but prevailing winds and currents can be counted upon. I wonder if you are carrying gasoline or diesel and what is your capacity. If the weather looks kind, it would be tempting to make some way on the open sea.
You will find good information on noonsite.com as long as you don't mind a bit of research and it could be of benefit to check out the Gulf Cruising Guide here USA - Gulf of Mexico | YachtPals.com
Coastal cruising guides will provide good information on stops and navigation notes for inshore work. There is some good information on our CruisingWiki (check the title bar on the RHS at the top of the page.). I would also recommend you pick up a copy of Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Guide and World Cruising Handbook. They are sort of expensive, but worth every penny...they can be picked up for a little less money, second hand, on Amazon.
From a practical, hand's-on perspective I can't help much. I have sailed the Caribbean extensively, but not the Gulf.
I would urge you to have the best safety gear you can afford (Including a small life raft, and a reliable SSB radio or satellite phone), but would also urge you to travel as light as possible.
A small powerboat in a blow is not well served by too much weight.
I wish I could be of more help. Meanwhile, please keep us informed and feel free to pose whatever questions you may have.
If your boat is well found and you are a capable sailor, you will have a great adventure.
I wish you well.
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Old 07-19-2017, 11:52 AM   #3
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Hi Auzzee,

Thank you for the response. I will grab all the books and read through the info. I love research if we can plan for the 95% then its only the smallest amount we can not foresee that we have to improvise for.

The boat is indeed a cruiser built by the Amish in the mid 1970's. Trojans are fantastic boats/floating tanks simple but very well built and timeless in their look.

I also love sail boats, I had a Tanzer 28 for 5 years. The Trojan I'm moving down there is for me and my wife to use in Roatan as a getting around boat (restaurants, groceries, etc.) and something stable for diving from (or i would of just gone for a small skiff).

I rescue old boats as a hobby (although its all power boats thus far) so we also have a Trojan 36 as well (our boat up here for now) and another 25' on the go i rescued of the scrap heap.

We now live on a farm of the St-Laurent in Ontario, Canada and our section of the river is about 3-8ft deep for the most part other then the commercial shipping lane so sailing is not very practical/impossible. Although as we get to spend more time down south it might find its way back on the list.

Agreed on the more conservative 150 per day. We will be carrying a Zodiac clone with a 15hp outboard motor and i also built a second mount on the swim platform of the Trojan so we could use the outboard to limp around if we have engine trouble but its a sturdy 318 and its being rebuilt so we should be good. But the plan, as you say was to travel light with a focus on safety.

I do plan to keep in touch and updating the thread as I plan and hopefully execute this, we are in the feasibility/planning stage and the research is crucial and I would like to keep the thread up to date as sharing information is one of mans greatest achievements.

Thanks for help get this thread of to a great start.
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Old 09-17-2017, 03:17 PM   #4
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Default Bahamas route

Your route >Bahamas>Jamaica>Roatan is extremely longer, not sure what would justify that.
Study the pilot charts.
I recently sailed Key West>Bahamas>Windward Passage>Jamaica.
Ask me any specific questions for that route.
Of course, on the shorter route you should avoid the very strong Yucatan Current.
Main pirate threat would be off the Cent Am countries.
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Old 09-17-2017, 05:54 PM   #5
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Agreed Mike,

I had read on a nother thread about that route but most of what I've found plan to do is.

Key west > Cuba > Yucatan > Belize > Roatan.

I will check the pilot charts for currents. Im not sure what you think of the route above ?

It seems it would reduce the longest straight shot to around 150 miles (a long day) but doable. Also at this point we may also be two vessels. A single engine 26' and twin engine 36'. Both Trojan cruisers.

The timing may not be the best in December so we are now starting to look at the best time, any time in the next 12 months.

Our hope in moving the schedule is to reduce weather risks and maximize currents, winds etc.

We will start in the pan handle so that by the time we get to key west both boats are sea tested, range confirmed and any issues worked out traveling down the west coast of Florida.
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Old 09-18-2017, 12:36 PM   #6
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That route is very good!
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Old 09-18-2017, 03:36 PM   #7
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I can't offer anything on the suitability of your boat, but I can offer a little information about Roatan and Utila. I have been to both and I recently took my 28 ft sailboat to Utila.

I have heard many complaints about clearing in at Roatan. My experience at Utila in June of 2017 was different from my first, but still very painless and inexpensive. The Port Captain will want to come to your vessel and will photograph it. He then takes copies of your documents and the photos of your boat and sends them to the main office. I went back the following morning for my cruising permit. The charge $0.00.

Immigration is in the same building and the fee there was $3.00.

That is not a misprint. The total fees were $3.00.

When you go to Roatan, you and your boat are cleared into Honduras already. If you are going to keep the boat there beyond the cruising permit limit, you can deal with that without the pressure to pay any bribes to enter the country.
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Old 09-18-2017, 04:27 PM   #8
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A couple questions---

You don't mention an autopilot. How many hours can you hand steer? This is fresh in my mind, since my autopilot died half way between Guatemala and Utila and the time at the helm was exhausting.

Can you make progress pounding into even moderate seas?

Your comment about "hugging the coast" is a bit of a concern. Will you be comfortable well off shore when something goes wrong? Murphy loves boats.

I watched a youtube video of a Trojan 26 and I wouldn't feel comfortable, but that's just me.

Don't overlook how uncomfortable and physically demanding the motion of the boat could be. That's why many of us want at least a moderately heavy keel boat for the open ocean.

What happens if one of you becomes ill or injured? Can the other single hand?

I will echo Auzzee and recommend a satellite phone. If the worst happens and you are adrift or have a medical emergency, it will pay for itself.

Plan well. Good luck.
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Old 10-21-2017, 01:18 AM   #9
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Gas or diesel?
That is a lot of ocean for a non-trawler power boat and your fuel consumption will more than pay for a sail boat.
At cruising speeds expect to burn 20 gallons per hour per engine (gas--diesel is much better but still painful). Look it up. That's why people sail rather than power. You will probably travel closer to 7-8 knots to minimize fuel usage, as fast as a moderate catamaran. A power boat designed for this type of travel, a trawler, does well to get to 1 gallon per mile. Fuel consumption is the reason most power boats rarely get used. It's an expensive trip to go just one of your 200 mile days and you can't carry enough fuel to go very far...figure 6lbs per gallon of fuel and work the numbers.
Above information is if you are on a lake and conditions are perfect. Add to this you are going against prevailing current. If you want to get your boats there think about shipping (Fort Lauderdale is a terminal) or get a sailboat. JMO
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