Dominica to St. Lucia
26 April 2012
April 26th, 2012
Thursday, we were up with the chickens again and ready to head further south to St. Lucia. Rodney Bay is 77 miles away so today is a big sail. We will pass one island and have 2 oceans gaps to cross and since we need to arrive before sunset we HAVE to keep our speed up…oh boy! By 5:30 we were off the mooring and had the main raised. By 6:20 we had cleared the edge of Dominica, ran the gamut of the fishing pirouges off the south end of the island and then the winds piped up, the seas piped up and we almost dodged a squall, and still had full sail up by 7am. The winds started at 15 but quickly blew up to 22-28 knts so we are making 7 - 8 knts of boat speed. There is some current against us, and the seas quickly built to 6-7 foot swells. Jim is fine…me – I am feeling a little out of control.
By 9:15 we were past the first open ocean gap – whew! OK – not going thru another gap with the full mainsail up! We saw regular winds over 25 (supposed to reef at 20!) and us running full sail Main & Jib – YEOW! Well the good news is we are making good time! The island effect flattened out the seas, Thank God, and also stole most of the wind, so we reefed he main while we had time (in the middle of a pod of feeding dolphins), and enjoyed the lull while it lasted. Jim took a 30 minute catnap, and awoke just before we hit Saginaw Bay…ok – not really but Fort de France, Martinique is a huge bay cut into the leeward side of the island. This allow the wind to funnel right out of the bay and kick up quite a ‘Great Lakes’ chop, just like sailing past Saginaw Bay in Michigan. We made it past and a hour or so later we cleared the edge of Martinique and began to hit open water again. The conditions got considerably bumpier, with seas again pushing 6-8 knts, but eventually coming directly on the beam, which was a little more comfortable. The winds piped again into the lower 20s with gusts to 27-28, and we were making consistent 8 + knts with a reefed Main and full Jib. Regenero found her happy spot and I told Jim she was running like a race horse!
Finally – Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. We approached by 4pm and by 4:30 were well anchored and I was breathing a sigh of relief..we made it BEFORE sunset!