Luperon to Boqueron

Below are the passage directions we wrote up prior to making this overnight offshore passage against the trade winds from Luperón on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic to Boqueron on the east coast of Puerto Rico . The reason this passage is a night one, is to take advantage of the "night lee" to dampen the trade winds we had to sail into.

We generally did written passage directions, because it forced us to read our navigation resources, and then we used the directions as needed reference for orientation prior to departure, and while on watch. We kept the Navigator's Notebook" open at the passage directions page inside a plastic sleeve--which kept the notebook dry--near the helmsman's seat. Many a time we were thankful we had done this, so that we didn't have to make up directions as we went. When the weather is bad, or someone is sick, it's not a good time for trying to think straight or do time or current calculations.

  1. Use DMA chart 25730, then 25720, then 25700, then MapTech Chartkit Region 10, page 22. Use anchorage chartlets from Van Sant and Pavlides using page references as noted in the Passage Planning Notes in the Navigator's Notebook.
  2. Waypoints in the GPS are marked on the charts with page references to Van Sant's and Pavlides' chartlets.
  3. Generally speaking, don't use the "GoTo" feature on the GPS. Waypoints are for information only, except for Bruce's waypoint in the offing to get the anchor spot at Escondido.
  4. The charts are old, so we'll navigate using bearings (compass and radar) and distance off (radar) on land features, and soundings, with GPS waypoints for support.
  5. Plot fixes based on visual navigation. Plot the GPS fix at the same time and note differences.
  6. The moon is full on _________. Tide is about 2' along the DR and 1' around PR. Magnetic variation is 10 deg 30 mins W along the north coast of the DR, and 12 deg W in the Mona Passage.
  7. Along the DR, our strategy is to hug the coast at night (150' - 200' depth contour) to take advantage of the night lee. We'll watch the coast outline carefully on the radar. Expect there to be a bit of current going against us.
  8. We'll leave Luperon at about 1800, and motor-sail to Escondido. We should pass Sosua around 11pm, and round Cabo Frances Viejo by 8am to arrive at Escondido by 5pm. We can stop at Rio San Juan if necessary. If we get to Escondido by noon, we'll consider skipping it and going straight through to Boqueron.
  9. Watch for traffic and floating garbage, especially in and out of Puerto Plata. Keep well off.
  10. We'll eat dinner and rest at Escondido, leaving between midnight and 0400 hours.
  11. We'll check the weather forecast again at Escondido. If the weather window closes on us, then we'll either go to Samana, or else Punta Macao and wait. Otherwise we'll go on to Boqueron.
  12. Pass Cabo Cabron close (200 yards) but give Cabo Samana a wide berth (at least 1/2 a mile.) Keep a close eye on soundings.
  13. Once past Cabo Cabron and Cabo Samana (hopefully about 7am) head east or southeast, or even east-northeast for a bit, depending on the wind. Keep an eye on the Hourglass Waypoint, do not go south of it and watch soundings to be sure to keep well off the shoal. Stay outside the 1,000 foot depth contour. With luck we'll sail.
  14. From north of the Hourglass shoal waypoint--which we should pass between 9pm and 11pm--head (depending on the wind) east then south. If we pass this wapyoint before 8pm, we need to slow down some by tacking northeast for a bit, or reducing speed. Watch out for squalls in the coastal fronts rolling off Puerto Rico, keep them to the south until we are east of them--they should all be done by midnight.
  15. Pass west of Isla Desecheo--hopefully between 2am and 5am--and then stay west of Tourmaline Reef.
  16. After passing Tourmaline Reef, watch soundings carefully and head southeast to Pavlides' waypoint (#22, N1), entering through the north entrance to Boqueron. We should arrive in the morning, hopefully between dawn and noon according to how fast we sail.
  17. Fill out the navigation items in the Deck Log every hour on the hour, and whenever significant changes are made in course or speed.
  18. After entering these items in the Deck Log, mark our position on the chart and advance the green "flag" (A small acute triangle cut out of green masking tape that is kept on the chart close to, and pointing to, our last logged position on the chart.) Fill out the weather page of the Deck Log every hour.


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Bill Dillon (KG4QFM)
Pat Watt (KG4QFQ)
This page was last modified on August 9, 2009

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