USA, Florida to Margarita, Venezuela

Published 15 years ago, updated 4 years ago

Could you advise on a proposed route, please?

I need to sail from Key West to Margarita, towards the end of June. I had hoped to visit the Caymans, en route; but, this is not essential.

Am I correct in sailing to the Tortugas Is, first; await an NW wind and, then, sail around the west of Cuba?

This will be our maiden voyage in a Manta catamaran and will need to clear out of Florida waters within three months of June 6, because the yacht is an ex-Florida tax!

Your plan sounds ok. I sailed that same route from Key West to the Yucatan Channel and it was no problem. The problem you may have is later, once you reach the Caribbean Sea you may have ESE winds, i.e. you will be close-hauled for Margarita. So you need to get a reliable long-term forecast to find out if the winds are ok for such a passage.

Jimmy Cornell, noonsite

Jimmy, I disagree with your advice to this sailor. That time of the year it would be upwind hell from Yucatan channel to Margarita. Especially in a multihull. I think a much better plan would be to use the Thornless Passage to make way to the Mona passage, then east along the south coast of Puerto Rico making way east, then depending on the wind make the turn toward Margarita. Of course, waiting until the end of June to leave Florida, is also not wise. Best they get underway as soon as possible, if a storm rears its ugly head they can wait it out in Luperon or Salinas, PR, if they start pushing upwind from the Yucatan, they could find themselves with nowhere to run.

Many thanks for your suggestion. In fact, my initial advice was to avoid if at all possible doing this passage after the start of the hurricane season, but if he was determined to go to consider, as you suggest, the Thornless Path (and recommended Brice Van Stant’s book). I also pointed out the real possibility of strong headwinds once in the Caribbean Sea… However, the skipper appears to be determined to go, so there seems very little we can do apart from pointing out the risks!


Jimmy Cornell noonsite


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