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It is “blown’ a hoolie” out there, just as it has been for the past few days and is forecast to continue to do so for at least the next few days. It’s not just here that this is occurring either. Extra strong easterly trades are effecting almost the entire Caribbean right now, and on islands all over, we have friends who are holed up, waiting for the conditions to moderate so that they can comfortably move their boat.

It was gusting like this all day yesterday.

We are extremely grateful that we took advantage of the weather window that we did to move our boat to St. Martin. There is no way that we would want to be traveling out there right now and if we had a place that we had to be, as in, St. Martin to catch a plane, we would have been forced to travel. That would have been hard on both boat and crew, something we try very hard to avoid.

This made me think of a pretty significant difference between cruisers and those who charter boats for a week at a time, especially one-way charters. The golden rule of cruising relates to avoiding sailing on a timetable. Guests who wish to visit are frequently told that they can either choose the location to be picked up or the date but not both. This is because conditions such as we’re experiencing right now can not be accurately predicted months out, or even weeks out. Those who charter boats though are essentially doing exactly that. They are booking a vacation, typically months in advance, putting their hard-earned money on the line in the hopes that they’ll have some nice sailing weather on a given week. While one can get a basic idea of what the conditions might be like that far in advance (dry season vs. rainy season), it’s impossible to know exactly what the weather will hold. And so here we are. While most cruisers are tucked away in protected anchorages, willing to wait for the seas and the wind to lie down a bit, charter boaters are out there “getting their money’s worth.” I don’t blame them at all for doing so. In fact, if I were in that situation, I’d probably do the same. I’m just glad that I don’t have to be out there with them right now!

By the way, we do have some friends who are running on a bit of a timetable and are planning on sailing out of St. Martin later today. Fortunately they’ll be heading west with the wind and the seas at their back. We know they’ll have a fast sail. We hope that it’s a comfortable one too.

We were planning on heading to the beach yesterday but given the weather,
we opted to stay on board and play games and music.

6 Comments

  1. Yep. Just got a text from Scott about the terribly windy conditions. Unfortunately, he’s captaining one of the boats on a time schedule and must be out there. At least it’s a big boat with a crew!

    • I’m sure a boat that big would love these conditions, it needing considerably more wind to move it than our boat or yours. I wouldn’t be surprised if a guest or two loses their breakfast though.

  2. On a similar thread, when we would go down to the coast to fish, when it was blowing like stink, you could hardly get out of the pass. We’d end up staying inland, motoring down to the commercial docks and buy the fish. Sit at the dock sippin’ cool ones, then head back home and tell tall tales of the terrible conditions. Sounds awful, but as for father and son time it couldn’t be beat.

  3. That’s the situation on charter for sure, Mike. I’m hoping Jan 29 to Feb 8 will be good wind conditions for us between St. Lucia and Grenada for sure….but we’ll see when the time comes and adjust plans as needed.

    Interestingly, on a 5 day charter we had on a Lagoon 400 from Vancouver last Fall, there was a one day blow showing up during that time. It was well covered in the forecasts so we made our way from Desolation Sound back to Garden Bay Marina in Pender Harbour ahead of time and holed up for a day. It was well sheltered there and we had gusts over 40 knots at the dock! Trees were down and the power was out all over.

    It was a good day to play cards, eat and have some schnapps. We carried on back to Vancouver the next day to return the boat after it blew over.

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