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Old 11-17-2008, 06:11 PM   #1
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We are planning to sail from Miami to Puerto Rico, and are asking for some first hand pros and cons.

One route which seems to be the most direct route is via the Great Bahama Bank. The other/s, more picturesque routes is via the Bahamas (Miami, Nassau, Ezuma Sound, Long Island, Mayaguana Island, The Caicos Islands, Puerto Rico).

Any comments on the above alternatives or other suggestions would be greatly received..

Many thanks

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Old 11-18-2008, 07:44 AM   #2
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The scenic route needs good eyes for coral heads/reef outcrops and you need to think about how much water you need - some of it is very shallow and the charts can be pretty inaccurate. Digital charts and GPS can be very misleading.

Getting stores/water/fuel on the way down through the Bahamas can be difficult, most of the islands have very small populations and very few facilities.

Turks and Caicos make a refreshing change but the Caicos Bank should only be crossed in good daylight with the sun high.

Best book (essential) is the "Gentleman's guide to passages south", otherwise known as The Thornless path, by Bruce Van Sant.

When I did it, I ended up at Luperon in the DR where the marina was run by Bruce's wife.

It's an interesting passage - good luck.



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Old 11-26-2008, 01:14 PM   #3
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If you go by way of the Old Bahama Channel be aware there is a lot of traffic through there, you must have someone on watch at all times. We had to stop in the middle of the night to let a cruiseliner pass in front of us. They have been towing hugh prefabricated buildings to Gitmo, but that may have slowed down since the new administration said they are going to close it down.
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Old 12-21-2008, 04:33 PM   #4
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I will be making the same passage in March going the other way, San Juan to Miami. My cruising guide suggests the "picturesque" route you mentioned. I'll be doing it in a 32' Bavaria with a 6' keel. When are you making your trip? I'd appreciate any information if you go before March, and I'd be glad to let you know how it goes for me if you go after March. This is a link to a little blog of someone who made the trip.


I am seeking a crew member or two. I posted a topic in the seeking crew forum.
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:12 PM   #5
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I have been down the route several times in both directions. Basically there are two ways to get to Puerto Rico from Miami. First is the most direct which is to cross to GunCay then across the banks to New Providence channel and proceed east north east past Spanish Wells, Eleuthera and continue east north east out into the Atlantic until you get to W066 degrees and then south to the east coast of Puerto Rico. This is known as taking "Route 66" to the Caribbean. Normally it takes one week to 10 days to make the trip and you can expect at least one good storm along the way.

The Thornless Path is from Miami to the banks (Gun/Cat/Bimini), across the banks to Nassau/ChubCay/Morgan's Bluff and then down the Exumas to Georgetown. From there you wait for a weather window and proceed eastward to Mayaguana via some nice little islands along the way (or non-stop). Then cross to Turks and Caicos at Provo and cross the Caicos banks to Long Cay or Sandy Island. Then you head south to Luperon, Dominican Republic which is normally a rather nasty crossing. Then you work your way east to Samana, D.R. and then across the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico (another famous piece of nasty water). From there you harbor hop along the south coast of Puerto Rico to the eastern side and voila - you are in the Virgins and paradise begins. I have done this route in as little as two months and as much as four months. Mostly waiting for weather windows in Georgetown, Exumas; Provo; Luperon and Samana. Also there are stops along the way that are so interesting and wonderful that you spend extra time that way.

Normally in the winter, fronts come down every 5 days or so and good weather windows every every three to 6 weeks. It is all up to your karma with Mother Nature as how long you will have to wait for an acceptable weather window. Bruce VanSant's book Gentleman's Passage South covers the route and all the tricks of the "trades" you will need to know to successfully get to Puerto Rico.
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