White squall in the central Grenadines today. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-01-2016 Thread Starter
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White squall in the central Grenadines today.

"How about we just go for a sail today and not go straight to the Tobago Cays (about 4 miles from Saline Bay, Mayreau)?" our charter guests asked us this morning, when we were discussing the day's plan. It's been overcast all charter, but not windy or rainy for the most part.
"Fine" we said, looking forward to a few hours of pleasant sailing and a chance to catch dinner.
And what marvelous sailing it was until, completely unheralded by any indication at all, all hell broke loose. Just 12 knots of wind on the beam became nearly 40 in a few seconds! No dark cloud, no seas, no whitecaps, just whoosh.
As we were just south west of Charlestown Bay, Canoan it seemed a good idea to head in and anchor. No damage or problems, but it sure put a damper on that little sail.
Literally a dozen other boats joined us in the anchorage and some of the furling jobs weren't as neat as normal.
Anybody else go through that squall? We'd love to know how far it reached and how strong it was where you were.

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.

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post #2 of 7 Old 05-01-2016
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Re: White squall in the central Grenadines today.

We have banned squalls from our end of the Caribbean.

Had a WESTERLY last night for about an hour. Put the bum of my boat over a shallow spot in the Lagoon and had the depth alarm going off for 2 hours...
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-03-2016
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Re: White squall in the central Grenadines today.

Those sorts of wind events are common all over the world, including the Great Lakes where I sail mostly.

It's even harrier at night when a giant puff hits from a totally weird angle and you have zero time to prepare - crash jibe city.
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post #4 of 7 Old 05-03-2016
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Re: White squall in the central Grenadines today.

Well I was in Young Island Cut on the SW corner of St Vincent at the same time and had no unusual wind events. 10 to 15 knots SE.

My visitor was flying back to Germany and we had a pleasant sail from Bequia over to Young Island Cut on Saturday easily making it on one tack.

It rained lightly on and off Saturday night and Sunday.

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post #5 of 7 Old 05-04-2016
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Re: White squall in the central Grenadines today.

Here is one hitting Wellington, NZ in 2010

The surface of the water disappears in wind-whipped foam.

Note too the well-defined front. They do not build up slowly.

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post #6 of 7 Old 05-04-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: White squall in the central Grenadines today.

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Originally Posted by ajoliver View Post
Those sorts of wind events are common all over the world, including the Great Lakes where I sail mostly. .
In over 50 years as a professional mariner, this is only the second time I've experienced anything like this. I can imagine it being more common on the Great Lakes, but the summer I sailed there we just had regular old black and nasty squalls. Plenty and enough of those to put those lakes way down on my priority of places to return to. lol

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post #7 of 7 Old 05-05-2016
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I think it was about three years ago during the Mills Race, Lake Erie, a front came through. The breeze went from 20 to 60 in seconds, it lasted about 2~3 minutes. There was a lot of carnage, torn sails, overturned multi hulls, sailors in the water. The mills race is a night race, no one saw it coming.
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