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Old 04-11-2011, 02:10 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1

Hi All,

So as fate may have it, myself and 2 friends will have 2 months off of work starting at the beginning of May (around the 5th). We decided that we would like go on a sailing trip on my friend's 39' Ericson that he's been living on in the Keys. I wanted to see if anyone had any advice or recommendations on trips that would be suitable & safe (relatively) for this time period.

I've read quite a bit about the thorny path, which seems extremely appealing based on the destinations. However, I've read that it can be quite a rough trip due to the prevailing trade winds that we'd be going against.

On the flip side, I haven't been able to find too much information on trips from the Keys down to Isla Mujeres and the Central American coast during this time period. Does anyone have any experience making this trip during May and June?

Ultimately, my friends and I are looking for any recommendations on quality routes, and their respective anchoring locations, that can be taken during this time period. I myself don't have too much sailing experience but my two friends do, though not much open water experience.

Any advice/comments on these two routes and/or alternatives is greatly appreciated, thanks in advance.


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Old 04-11-2011, 03:48 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
Posts: 3,236

Has your friend explored around the area he's been living in the Keys? Where exactly is he there? There are numerous very local destinations right there in the Keys. Although, I suppose you might find that a little boring to stay local.

"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

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Old 04-13-2011, 11:12 AM   #3
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With only two months, unless you want to sail most of the time, and explore not very much, I would say head for the Bahamas. Central America is going to take you a couple weeks to get there, and could take a lot longer to return. Unless you make each way a non-stop passage, and you would want good offshore experience to do those slogs. The Bahamas can be reached on an overnight crossing, and then you can just island hop for as long as you like, with an easy return. Beautiful water in the Bahamas, too.

The Thorny (or Van Sant's Thornless) Path is a long slog. We left Georgetown in the Bahamas and it took us a week to get to Puerta Plata in the Dominican Republic (though it was in December when the trades are very strong). Working hard you could get to the Virgin Islands easily in two weeks, and the return trip would likely take only 7 to 10 days. But you've got a lot of watchkeeping (the Mona Passage is a very busy place for commercial ships, and the US Coast Guard will visit your boat most likely).

The Dominican Republic itself can be an interesting destination, but for clear water and good diving, I'd vote for the Bahamas.

Fair winds,

In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

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