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post #81 of 141 Old 03-11-2019
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Re: Caribbean, What works and doesn't

I mentioned the pilots earlier and yes it seems more windy. Seems in the windwards there’s more south to the usual easteries. Usual is E or ENE. Having any south means a beat for us.
I’m struck how different the sailing is in the windwards compared with the leewards like st Martin or st Thomas. Much windier and a lot more seas between islands. Repetitive run into to very large cruise ships that are square rigged and several pure motor cruise ships as well. Have taken to dropping sails short after getting in the lee of an island when there’s any cruise ships around and going so that harbor approaches are a 90 degree turn.
Usually leave triple reefed. Then drop back to double reefed if conditions permit. Have had only a few hours of single reefed and that was in the lee of Dominica. Have yet to fly the Genoa nor seen a full main. Downwind sails are never going to be used. To dangerous as wind gusts are dramatic. Agree with M much better to accept being underpowered and do 6s or low 7s. Find unlike my old prior full keeled tayana do need enough sail to stay above 6 as then the ride improves significantly.
Talking with other cruisers with more years down here it’s gotten windier. We’re in Rodney Bay at present. Both Moorings and Sunsail have a presence on our dock. Previously was in Jolly and there were charter boats there as well. Seems those folks quickly learn to sail conservatively as well and also will see them with bare poles or just a steady sail amount up and powering going either north or south. That tactic may make sense on a new to them boat.

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post #82 of 141 Old 03-11-2019
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Re: Caribbean, What works and doesn't

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I mentioned the pilots earlier and yes it seems more windy. Seems in the windwards thereís more south to the usual easteries. Usual is E or ENE. Having any south means a beat for us.
Iím struck how different the sailing is in the windwards compared with the leewards like st Martin or st Thomas. Much windier and a lot more seas between islands. Repetitive run into to very large cruise ships that are square rigged and several pure motor cruise ships as well. Have taken to dropping sails short after getting in the lee of an island when thereís any cruise ships around and going so that harbor approaches are a 90 degree turn.
Usually leave triple reefed. Then drop back to double reefed if conditions permit. Have had only a few hours of single reefed and that was in the lee of Dominica. Have yet to fly the Genoa nor seen a full main. Downwind sails are never going to be used. To dangerous as wind gusts are dramatic. Agree with M much better to accept being underpowered and do 6s or low 7s. Find unlike my old prior full keeled tayana do need enough sail to stay above 6 as then the ride improves significantly.
Talking with other cruisers with more years down here itís gotten windier. Weíre in Rodney Bay at present. Both Moorings and Sunsail have a presence on our dock. Previously was in Jolly and there were charter boats there as well. Seems those folks quickly learn to sail conservatively as well and also will see them with bare poles or just a steady sail amount up and powering going either north or south. That tactic may make sense on a new to them boat.
Very interesting report and confirms what Melissa reported and that conditions are quite different from they were in the 90s at least. Have any "weather people" weighed on on this and the likely cause of the change in weather pattern that has apparently settled in?

Thanks for this post!

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post #83 of 141 Old 03-11-2019
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Re: Caribbean, What works and doesn't

Interesting observations. Truth is, up to about 30 kts downwind, I'd prefer more to less wind. More options. Not a big fan of over 20 upwind, but can handle it.

I randomly pulled January's wind data off weather underground for the airport at Dominica. Roughly half way down the windwards?

Max daily high for the month was 34 kts, but it was only for one day. The next highest daily max was 21 kts. There were 17 days where the daily max did not exceed 10 kts. Their Dec, nor Feb had a single wind day max over 20kts.

Open water could very well be and often is different. I'm not aware of whether this is a protected airport. Still, I would love to figure out how to get a download of a massive amount of this data, so we could analyze the trend.

I'm truly interested in the data, I'm not trying to disprove the premise.

https://www.wunderground.com/history...CF/date/2019-1
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Re: Caribbean, What works and doesn't

There are areas between tall islands where there is a wind acceleration phenomena. I noticed this in the Canriies. And it was hard to NOT notice it because the wind jumped to 30 and above. In the lee of the islands the sailing was much calmer... wind and seas. I don't see why this would not happen in the Caribbean. Sure as you sail out from the wind shadow of an island/land mass you would expect to see higher winds.

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Re: Caribbean, What works and doesn't

I'm sure they would be higher away from land, although, I expect somewhat proportional to wind at these airports over time. I looked further into the Dominica airport which is on the northeast coast and I would think could be fully exposed to prevailings. Did not check topography. The question I'm intrigued over is whether there is any weather data to support the notable increase we're reading about.
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Re: Caribbean, What works and doesn't

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Does anyone here use pilot charts? Are they periodically updated? Have the trade winds changed in magnitude and direction over time? After reading posts which report about winds in the Caribbean on this site over the past few years my impression having been down there for 4 years back in the early 90s is that winds are not stronger and with more gusts. I write this because I used to sail full hoist virtually all the time yet some write they are usually setting one reef down there lately .
This is all I could find,

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The information used to compile these averages was obtained from oceanographic and meteorologic observations over many decades during the late 18th and 19th centuries.
https://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.po...2&pubCode=0003

Cornell and son have developed new charts based on sat data.

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Re: Caribbean, What works and doesn't

Doyle talks about sailing in a Windward lee of some island, forget which. Anyway he says the tall mountains create a Windward shadow because the winds are trying to get up over the mountains. Iíve not experienced it myself.

As to acceleration effect, that I have experienced. Andnits part of why I keep a reef even in light air. Last year we were ghosting along some island and all of a sudden got hit with 35 or so knots, knocked the boat over hard and she turned into he wind. Bugger if a few minutes. It was like an instant walk of wind. And I didnít see it in the water beforehand. A catamaran sailed a few hundred yards inside of us and they were all standing on the rail wondering what we were doing. Apparently they had much less wind.

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Re: Caribbean, What works and doesn't

One recent development on the cruise ship front is there appearance in small ports and anchorages.

We had a Windjammer and small regular cruise ship anchored out at Deshaies in Guadeloupe.

3 anchored out in Bequia is not unusual.

This of course totally overwhelms the supply of taxis and tour buses
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Re: Caribbean, What works and doesn't

Open water is different. Wind speeds are higher. Compression effect is seen at both ends of the islands. Commonly more severe at north end. Have taken to putting in an additional reef before approaching or leaving the end of an island.
Seas are a whole different thing. Thereís reflection and bending effects at the ends of the islands making for an occasion much bigger sea and more confused seas. Still the major effect is between the islands is the fetch given a sea can start off Southern Europe and North Africa and get to you. 2-3 meters is quite common irrespective of wind strength but of course with steady trades itís on the higher side. The other effect is moon phase as it drives the current down here. In general one tries to avoid wind against wave so avoid when current is running with any west to it.
The usual wind pattern is more south (ESE) in the spring and more E to ENE in the fall. Iím told this pattern is more mixed in recent years. I note weíve had days with some south to the wind.
In our other cruising ground in the past Mass Bay would be nothing but light air during the late summer. Again in recent years this pattern hasnít been apparent.
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Re: Caribbean, What works and doesn't

We can do half wind speed or better down wind. Our hull speed is 8.4. Higher wind speeds means higher wind waves and wind waves not aligned with the swell is unpleasant. Have no interest in seeing anything ever past 20kts. Fixing things or replacing them do to wear is expensive and difficult. Quality is variable. Unfortunately, >20kts is very common to the point itís nearly the norm to see it at least part of a day daily.
Upwind similar thinking holds. Especially given the higher apparent wind. So most pleased to see under 15 itís. Havenít had a day yet when itís been less than 15kts.
Thinking is different. Runs are fairly short (under 70m). Much better off doing mid 6s, not breaking anything and having a reasonable ride.
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