AT Brazil to Lesser Antilles

Best time:

March to June

Tropical storms:

June to November

Charts:

BA: 4216, 4202

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Pilots:

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US: 124, 147,148

Cruising guides:

The Lesser Antilles, Sailor's Guide to the Windward islands, Cruising Guide

to Trinidad and Tobago.

Northbound passages from ports in Southern Brazil are hampered by the strong NE winds and SW current, which occur between October and February. Passages during this time from ports south of Recife are best avoided. If the passage cannot be undertaken at a better time, the only solution is to stand well offshore until the SE trades are found and then make northing with their help. Boats coming from ports south of Rio de Janeiro will find better conditions between March and September when the prevailing winds are from the SE. If an inshore passage from southern ports is preferred, care must be taken when passing between the Abrolhos Islands and the mainland as the charts are inaccurate and the reefs more extensive than charted. If the islands are passed offshore, caution must also be exercised as the reefs extend about 35 miles offshore.

From ports north of Recife (Pernambuco), the passage to the West Indies can be made at any time of the year, although arriving there during the hurricane season should be avoided. Winds along the north coast of Brazil are always favourable and the current sets strongly to the northwest. The waters along this coast/6f Brazil are often very muddy from the Amazon, and as depths are shallow a good distance offshore must be kept as the colour of water gives no indication of its depth. The extent of the doldrums varies with the time of year, being wider during the northern summer. An area of variable winds, calms, and squalls normally extends from the equator in longitude 30 °W to about latitude 3°N-5°N in longitude 38 °W. Weather condi tions along the coasts of Guyana and Trinidad are described in route ATI 7.

Northbound boats seldom sail nonstop all the way to the Caribbean and there are several interesting places worth visiting en route in one of the three former Guyanas, French (Cayenne), Dutch (Suriname), and British (Guyana). Entry formalities in Cayenne are completed at Degrad des Cannes (4°51'N, 52816'W). Formalities can also be completed at Kourou. To enter the river on which Kourou is located, landfall should be made at the first leading buoy. Its GPS position has been reported as 5°12.9'N, 52°36.4'W. Interesting places to visit nearby are the lies du Salut and the old French penal colony. .The recommended anchorage is located at5°17'N, 52°35'W.

The port of entry for Suriname is Paramaribo (5e50'N, 55o10'W), approximately 13 miles up the Suriname River, where boats now clear in at the new harbour, Nieu Haffen. The least visited of the three countries is Guyana itself, where the only official port of entry is its capital Georgetown (6'49'N, 5811'W). Boats bound for Trinidad will have to negotiate the Serpent's Mouth, the narrows separating the island from the mainland, to reach one of the ports of entry, of which perhaps the most convenient is Point Fortin (10°11'N, 61°41'W). Trinidad Coast Guard should be contacted on VHF channel 16 as soon as territorial waters are entered. Boats not intending to stop in Trinidad itself will find a more convenient port of entry at Scarborough (ll'll'N, 60°44'W), the capital of Tobago.

Best time: 1

April to September

Tropical storms:

Charts:

BA: 2059. 4202

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Pilots:

BA: 1, 5, 22. 27, 67

US: 124.140.143, 191

Cruising guides:

Cruising Association Handbook, Shell's Pilot to the English Channel Vol 1,

Yacht Scene, East Spain Pilot.

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