Best time: Tropical storms: Charts:
Cruising guides: Waypoints:
Mia-Aprii to june June to November BA: 4400 US: 108 BA: 70, 71 , US: 140, 147
Yachting Guide to Bermuda.
AN780 Antigua S 16'58'N, 61'45'W
AN781 Antigua West 17s00'Nf 61'56'W AN782
of July and even if they do not generate strong winds, the weather in their vicinity is very unsettled with heavy rain. If such a depression forms close to the northern extremity of the Lesser Antilles, contrary winds can be expected on the way to Bermuda.
This passage can also be done towards the end of the hurricane season, when the frequency of S
For many years yacht captains were not prepared to challenge the accepted wisdom that a return voyage from the Caribbean to Europe should only be attempted along the classic route that passes through Bermuda and the Azores. What started as a devil-may-care route used mostly by delivery crews and skippers of charter boats in a hurry to return to the Mediterranean at the end of the season in the Caribbean, is now attracting cruising boats as well. As the route via Bermuda is at least 500 miles longer than the great circle route from Antigua to Horta, and one cannot even be sure of fair winds for half that voyage via Bermuda, many prefer to stay in warmer weather and hope for the best.
On leaving Antigua, or any other of the Lesser Antilles, a NE course is set, which should be possible to achieve because the trade winds are mostly south of east when this passage is usually made, in May or June. The chances of SE winds increases as one moves north until the belt of calms and light winds is reached which separates the trade winds from the westerlies of higher latitudes. This is the time when a powerful engine and a good reserve of fuel make up for the lack of wind and and SW winds on the way to Bermuda is higher, but so also is the risk of a late hurricane. Fortunately the best time for this route is also the most convenient as it coincides with the end of the safe cruising season in the Caribbean, Antigua Week, and optimum weather for a subsequent passage to either Europe or North America.
this is the tactic preferred by most of those who take this route. With a bit of luck, winds on the other side of the Horse Latitudes may turn out to be favourable. If this occurs, some people are tempted to bypass the Azores altogether and carry on nonstop to Gibraltar, if bound for the Mediterranean.
The optimum time for this passage is between May and July, although most boats sail this route in May. April is a little too early since the frequency of gales in the Atlantic is still high. After July the frequency of hurricanes increases, making all passages to or from the Caribbean a hazardous affair. If a summer passage is considered, the Caribbean should only be left with a reasonable long term forecast. If no tropical depression is seen to be forming, there is a fairly good chance of not being overtaken by the resulting storm. Taking as a departure point WP AN791, five miles east of Antigua's English Harbour, the great circle route is joined immediately unless one has good reason to believe that a different course may have a better chance of favourable winds. If NE winds make it impossible to sail the great circle course, initially one should favour the tack which makes most northing.
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