Sailing around the Caribbean

In 2007 our family sailed from the Chesapeake Bay to the Caribbean, visiting most of the islands and stopping in Cartagena, Colombia for hurricane season. We just returned to the Chesapeake after visiting many Central American countries and islands.

11 July 2009 | Kikuyu in Annapolis Harbor, Looking toward the City
29 June 2009 | The National Young Women's Sailing Competition in Hampton
15 June 2009 | Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor
02 June 2009 | Kennedy Space Center
01 June 2009 | Beaudacious and Third Boat that Joined us at Anchor in Fort Pierce
31 May 2009 | Our Friends Beaudacions' Mast was Taller than Most Bridges when Opened
25 May 2009 | View of a Canal from Las Olas Marina Boulevard
21 May 2009 | Approaching Miami Harbor
18 May 2009 | One of the Six-toed Cats Sleeping on Hemingway's Master Bed
16 May 2009 | Approaching Key West - Daniel at the bow trying to see land with the binoculars
08 May 2009 | Main Town Harbor
06 May 2009 | Maya Ritual Reenactment
29 April 2009 | Town's Harbor
27 April 2009 | Daniel at the Blue Hole
25 April 2009 | The Weather Turned Bad
22 April 2009 | View of City from Kikuyu
21 April 2009 | Dangriga Harbor -Daniel doing school work!
19 April 2009 | Whale Shark, Picture by Chelsea Tolppanen
15 April 2009 | kikuyu in the Middle at Anchor in East Harbor

Passage from Puerto Morelos, Mexico to Key West

16 May 2009 | Approaching Key West - Daniel at the bow trying to see land with the binoculars
With our buddy boat s/v Beaudacious we talked long and hard about when to start the 370 mile passage from Puerto Morelos to Key West, across the Yucatan Peninsula, the Florida Straits and the Gulf Stream. Though we had done longer passages before, we were a bit concerned about this passage because the winds tend to come from the east or northeast, precisely from the direction we needed to sail. Additionally, we were going to be crossing the Gulf Stream which originates in the Yucatan Peninsula and carries north & east bound currents of 2-5 knots. While we can ride the Gold Stream current very nicely, if the wind comes from the north or east it can make the passage choppy and potentially dangerous. Additionally, weather reports were mixed with Chris Parker telling us that we should not leave on Saturday as we had to arrive by Sunday night or Monday morning. A low pressure system was expected to come down the coast of Florida, bringing a lot of squalls, winds in the 40-50 mph range and thunder & lightening, sailors' worst nightmare. On Friday night at about 8 PM we decided to make the passage, leaving the following day at 6 in the morning. We needed to have a fast passage in order to avoid this bad weather.

Overall we had a great passage given the weather conditions. Leaving Puerto Morelos, Mexico, we were pushed by the Yucatan Peninsula current which gave us an additional 1-2 knots of speed to our motor-sailing speed, making our first day fairly fast. By night and throughout the second day our speed was painfully slow (4-5.5 knots), even with our engine at higher-than-usual revolutions, as we bordered the coast of Cuba on a counter current of 1-2 knots. We could see the outline of the Cuban mountains on the horizon and lights from towns at night as we cruised just 15-20 miles from its coast. We kept on motoring until about 2 AM of day three when the wind changed direction to the SE at 10-15 knots giving us a wonderful beam reach. Also at this point, we were well into the Golf Stream current and we started flying! Kikuyu had sustained speeds of between 9 - 9.7 knots for about 4 hours, settling to high 7's to high 8 knots for most of the remainder of the trip. Because of this, we were then able to arrive to the channel entrance of Key West by 1:30 PM, just a few hours ahead of the storm.

Vessel Name: Kikuyu
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg-Rassy 37
Hailing Port: Norfolk, VA
Crew: Cunningham's (Captain: Kim; Crew: Maria & Daniel
About: Maria E. Ramos and Daniel Cunningham
We are delighted to have you as a visitor to our site. Our family (Dad-Kim, Mom-Maria, 12-year-old son: Daniel) started our cruising adventure in our minds a few years ago. We slowly began to take steps toward achieving this dream. In November of 2007 we departed Annapolis, MD in the Chesapeake [...]
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Sailing Our Way

Who: Cunningham's (Captain: Kim; Crew: Maria & Daniel
Port: Norfolk, VA
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Kikuyu and its crew