[Alberg30] Re: Nova Scotia to Bermuda?

Burke wxyz4 at fastdial.net
Fri Mar 15 20:01:03 PST 2002


Having once been a migratory being who headed south every winter, I've made
the trip to the Caribbean via Bermuda a number of times from both New
England and the Chesapeake and can add a few cents worth...

If you choose to sail down the St Lawrence to the Canadian Maritimes I'd
advise you to do it in the summer, planning on being in Maine by September.
Weather deteriorates early up by Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.  The window
to head for Bermuda and the Caribbean is actually
a relatively short one, as you're playing off the onset of winter storms up
north (beginning about November) with hurricanes down south, with September
being one of the busiest hurricane months and October quite dangerous as
well.  Hurricanes have hit the islands even into December.  Most boats
depart New England in the latter part of October for Bermuda, spend a few
days there, and leave for the Caribbean in early November.

I'd strongly advise a departure from south of Cape Cod - from the north,
transit the Cape Cod Canal, and depart from the Newport area.  If you come
down the Hudson, sail down LI sound to the same area and skip the New York
traffic lanes.  You can do your
provisioning, etc here, and you'll have good access to chandleries,
yards, etc for last minute projects (there will always be some!).  At this
point begin to watch your longer term weather for both developing tropical
systems in the Atlantic and for lows heading for the east coast. When you
take your departure from Block Island, you will reach the Gulf Stream in
roughly a day and a half, so what you're looking to avoid is crossing the
stream with a N'ly to SE'ly breeze, which can turn the stream into a nasty
mess, tossing you around like trying to sail inside a washing machine.
Ideal is to leave with the passing of a cold front and ride the cold clear
westerly breeze behind it across the stream.  The gulf stream is quite
obvious, even this far north, and within a short time you'll notice both the
water and air warming significantly.  Time to put away the New England cold
weather gear and shift to warm weather clothing!

For a sound vessel sailed competently, the offshore route to the Caribbean
will literally save many weeks of working to windward when compared to the
ditch and the route through the Bahamas, etc.  You'll be drinking rum punch
at Foxy's before other boats leaving at the same time even reach Florida,
and they still have 800 miles to go to windward.  Coming from Bermuda, it's
also easy to steer a few degrees further to the east and make your landfall
at Antigua, for example, placing yourself at the windward end of the
Caribbean and set up for a winter of coasting downwind through the islands.
The ICW and Bahamas are certainly a great cruise, but if you're comfortable
offshore then the Bermuda route to the Caribbean can't be beat.

With proper preparation an A30 is certainly up for the trip.  A couple of
friends of ours, Dave & Renee Cooper, sailed an A30 named COOKIN' (I believe
from the Chesapeake area) from the Bahamas to Gibraltar via Bermuda and the
Azores and at last report are currently in the Med...  and a number of other
A30s have made the passage south as well.

Please feel free to email off-list if there's any specific questions I can
help with...

Bill Burke
Wild Elf #297

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