I’m writing a story where the characters need to travel by sea from New Orleans to Belize. The event takes place in late Summer 1867. I need to figure out the following:
- What route they would take
- What sort of ship would be most appropriated for the era and waters (schooner, steamboat, etc.)
- How long it would take
- What dangers they might face
The direct route from New Orleans to Belize is approximately 750 nautical miles. A medium-sized steamboat could go about 10 knots in the mid-19th century. But determining the time of travel isn’t as simple a distance / speed. The Gulf Stream runs in the opposite direction, so sailing directly across the Gulf might not be the best choice. Maybe skirting around the coast would be better.
I’ve scoured sailing forums and while some people talk about planning trips like this there’s no real information about the route they might take, expected travel time, etc.
General articles on sailing (e.g. Wikipedia) aren’t helpful. There are modern ferries from New Orleans to Belize, but again that isn’t helpful as these are huge modern day ships, not mid-19th century fishing or cargo boats.
I don’t expect anyone here to have the answers necessarily, but pointing me to resources I may have missed would be awesome. Thanks!