Caribbean sailing and intra-island passages

by Adrian on January 2, 2015

We’re starting to get used to sailing around the Caribbean.

Vagaris Bequia 2

The wind never (hardly) changes speed or direction. Not surprising really, considering it’s the same easterly trade wind that pushed us 3000 miles across the ocean. Its just weird for us european and med sailors where the wind direction and conditions can change daily. It just doesn’t change here (caveat – much).

The lee of the islands provides huge shelter from the wind and swell, so all the useful anchorages and ports are on the western sides of all the islands. Anchorages are sheltered, but usually get gusty 10-15 knots of wind and a bit of swell working its way around and in.

We’ve also learnt quickly that whenever you poke your head out in-between the islands you get hit by 15-20 knot easterlies with associated swell and waves. Its not a problem, but our standard sail setup when leaving port is now at least one reef in the main and reefed genny with the staysail ready to deploy if necessary.

It is good sailing – but not relaxing – as the apparent wind is usually forward of the beam on a fine reach, the heavy swell is constantly hitting the beam moving the boat around and theres always the possibility of having to throw in another reef as conditions change when leaving or coming up to headlands and land masses.

Fortunately most intra-island passages are only between 10 and 30 miles, so are not long distances and the wind usually moves us along at a nice 7-8 knots.

When we recently sailed into Bequia we were reefed and screaming along when we noticed a small inflatable RIB darting around with a guy taking photographs. We had been forewarned of this, so came up on the wind a bit to speed the boat up for a good photo.

VagarisBequia 1

Kenmore Henville makes a living photographing yachts as they approach Bequia in full sailing splendour. We think he did a good job, so were very pleased the next morning when he came around with a framed print and a usb stick to review the proofs of all the photos he’d taken. He left these (and a price list) with us and with no pressure said he’d be back in an hour to see if we were interested in buying the photos and/or the print.

One rarely gets decent action photos of your own boat, so since we were pleased with his results we were happy to pay for his work.

Vagaris Bequia

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Antoine January 6, 2015 at 04:07

Awesome pix! And great sail trimming by the way…
Snow and ice storm here in the Washington DC area. Enjoy the Tobago keys!

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Martyn January 3, 2015 at 09:44

Happy New year. Great photos and a great looking boat. We are currently lazing below on a similar one in Chichester Marina, rain and cold outside and the heater is on. Enjoy the Caribbean.

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