Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Northport, NY
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Re: Caribbean, What works and doesn't
I have been told by old salts that the winds in the Windward Islands have been stronger over the last several years. The cold fronts coming off the USA don't get down here to much to lesson the trade winds. If they do only about 5 knots from what we have seen. The cold fronts do penetrate in the Leeward Islands like the BVI area. They get more relaxing wind relief than the Windward Islands.
Now for a broader discussion, I would think heavy full displacement keel boat say 40-55,000 lbs or more of the 70,80,90's vintage take a lot more wind to move than the modern production boats like mine that weigh 25,000 lbs fully loaded. Furthermore, since we are sailing the "HOUSE" vs a charter boat , we sail to keep the boat upright hence conservatively (reef sails). It is just our style, might not be yours.
The Colregs did work in my instance because I was the stand on vessel and the cruise ship did turn. Not only did he turned for me but also for the freighter. However, other parts of the regs worked against me like mass tonnage and ability to turn. But again the cruise ship did have the sea room to maneuver out of the way. Still, I am not a fan of looking at the bow wave of a BAB (Big Ass Boat) heading my way. I could turn 90 to port and lay up. That was plan B. He would have missed me by 1000 feet according to AIS. I was only 5 miles off the coast of St Lucia when all this happen near the port of Castries. Since Moondance is a magnet for cruise ships I have more encounters than I care for. I am getting actually good at talking them. In all cases they have turned to pass off my stern. They have been most kind. The two things I don't like is I/we the cruising community are fair game to entertain their passengers with. They seem to like to get real close than turn to avoid. Not for the faint heart. The second thing I hate is they get so close, I always ask for a meal to to be dropped over the side. This time I asked for a hot fudge sundae. They have never replied with any of my request.
Thanks for this post. As I haven't sailed down there for several decades it sounds as if there has been a lot of changes. I don't even recall cruise ships in the Windwards except in Philipsberg, St Maarten, but I am sure there had to be more than what I saw. The french has sailing cruise ships.
I keep the boat heeled no more than 15°.. 20° I am making too much leeway. Lots of heeling get uncomfortable if truth be told. Definitely sounds windier!
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