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We haven’t had a lot of luck with the passage between Dominica and Martinique. Rather than risk 10 hours of bashing into the wind, last year we ended up doing a 180 degree turn to head back to port. This time around, buoyed by reports of moderate sea conditions, we, along with our friends on Oceana and Nahanni River, cast off our mooring lines at 6:00 AM yesterday and set sail south. What followed was anything but a calm sail, as the video at the bottom of this post attempts to illustrate.

Even though the image above shows that our destination is St. Pierre, we all opted to continue on further south to Fort de France, an anchorage which we were confident would be calm.

You’ll note in the radar image below that while some rain is shown by Dominica, points south of there appear clear. We heard that even a certain famed weather guru failed to see the squalls which would lord over the seas yesterday. Were we in any real danger? In our minds, no. We sailed conservatively with much reduced sail area. The seas were large and confused though and the frequent downpours reduced visibility so much that we often lost sight of our friends. In other words, not too much fun.

Do you see any precipitation south of Dominica?

If you have the bandwidth and a few spare moments, check out the video to get a small taste of what the ride was like. Bear in mind though that photos and video always fail to convey what the actual sea state is like. To really get a feel for it, you’d have to come along for the ride and I’m pretty sure that most would not enjoy it. We sure didn’t!

Bonjour Fort de France


  1. yes, we fully understand – how is it that the video never really captures the full intensity of those waves?? Glad you made it safely there!

  2. Great video…..

  3. Agreed! Icky sailing conditions. Glad the harbour was calm and not rolly, you didn’t need that, too. We are in Bequia and loving the anchorage. Heading south next week. We’ll see you in Grenada or on the way! Fairwinds!

  4. Did you have the engines running too?

  5. Great Video. Glad you guys made it.

  6. looks like a fun ride! maybe for a better display of how the conditions where, you could try mounting the camera to the cabin top, your balance is too good to show the rolling of the boat!

    • Fun is not an adjective that I would use. I agree about the camera though. We seem to unconsciously gimbal which lessens the effect of the seas on the footage.

  7. Good video etc. Thanks.


  8. It’s really the comulative effect on the nerves and the body. What might be good fun for an hour on a day sail wears thin on a passage where you just want to get there, well rested and with nothing broken. Often, I just want the constant banging to STOP!

    • I agree. Sailing is a lot more fun when you can turn around and go back to port whenever you choose. Needing to make port before dark takes a bit of fun out of it. So does breaking expensive hardware.

  9. Having been through many coastal and offshore rough passages you just have to punch through it. It never lasts forever although the days do seem to drag on.

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