I am planning to bring home my 30" cutter-rigged sloop from Martinique in the Caribbean to Lake Ontario(Canada) via Bermuda and the Erie canal, beginning early May/07. The passage from Martinique to Antigua to Bermuda is approximately 1100 nautical miles and involves traversing the western section of the Sargasso sea. The portion of the passage from English Harbour, Antigua to Bermuda is described as route AN78 in Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Guide. I have read what I have been able to find (not much) on the variable winds (The Variables) north & south of Bermuda, and I gather that I should expect to have to motor a good portion of this section. My question is this: Does anyone have direct experience with this route, and can you give me any idea as to what conditions I might expect to encounter with respect to the variable winds in this part of the Horse Latitudes i.e. how many miles should I expect to have to motor through calms during the month of May? I have also read about boats getting their props fouled with the Sargassum sea weed in the Sargasso Sea - any info/comments?
I would certainly welcome any advice about the wisdom of taking this route vs the longer route from Antigua west to the Florida coast and up the east coast with help from the Gulf Stream. Although not preferred, it is possible that I may be single handing my vessel (ALL available navigation & steering aids, radar, etc.) in which case, it occurs to me that a route that keeps me well away from killer land might be safer than one that doesn't. Also, passage time is a factor, and certainly the (relativly) straight-line route through Bermuda to New York is significantly shorter in distance than the alternative route mentioned, but would I really be saving time?
Thanks for any help you can give me.