Tumultuous Uproar

A cruising boat with a racing problem...

Martinique to Bequia

04 May 2022
Russ Whitford
“I can hear the tree frogs.” We anchored in Anse Cochon, St. Lucia just before dusk. As the sun set, we were enjoying our traditional anchor beer after a passage. Lisa’s “beer” was chardonnay and mine rum. We had an idyllic sail from Martinique with only one moderate squall. Forest surrounded the bay and the tree frogs were in full song. First time I have heard them all season.
Our stay was short, the next morning I awoke at 4:00 am. Lisa said, “Let’s wait another half hour.”
“I’m up and we need to get going.” We had a 62 mile sail to Bequia and wanted to arrive in time to clear customs.
We started out motoring in the calm, lee side of St. Lucia. The wind picked up and we put up full sails. Sanitas, Mike and Jen, were our wing man sailing with us from Martinique. They were anchored down island a little further at The Pitons. Underway, we spotted them on AIS, about 4 miles ahead of us.
We rounded the south point of St. Lucia and the trade winds started to howl. OK, 18 knots or so aren’t exactly a howl but we had to reef the main. Then the seas picked up. Mike on Sanitas called on the VHF, “Hey are you guys seeing the adverse current we are?” Yes we were. There were over 2 knots of current against us. Uproar would normally do over 7 knots in those winds. Our GPS showed only 5 knots over the ground, sometimes even less.
Five knots is about our threshold of pain when sailing. Any slower and we turn on the engine. But the engine wouldn’t help against current. Uproar was already sailing fast over the water. It took about 15 miles and 3 hours before the current let up. Uproar ramped up to 7 or 8 knots and we knew we were out of the current.
Then the squall hit. Mike saw 28 to 30 knots of wind sustained for 20 minutes. The wind blew and the sea flew. A good dose of rain added to the fun. Our GPS showed 10.5 knots as our max speed. That’s fast for a cruising sailboat. Two more hours and we were in the lee of St. Vincent. Ahh, flat water again. We shook out the reefs and unrolled the genoa. Sanitas was closer to shore and darned if they weren’t in a great wind line. We suffered some light wind but still resisted burning diesel.
Lisa said, “This is a relaxing sail.” I was working it hard to catch Sanitas. They did admit to motoring some.
As we continued south, we left the calm, lee of St. Vincent for 12 more miles to Bequia. We had to sail east of south on a close reach. Uproar came alive but once again, we had to reef down for a squall. We passed Sanitas just at the tail end of the squall. We took their picture and they took ours. It is rare to get a picture sailing in heavy weather.
The seas flattened as we entered the lee of Bequia. We did arrive in time for customs but the medical protocols required we have an agent take our medical test documents and issue a medical certificate before we could proceed to customs and immigration. We later learned that this was sort of a $50 scam. If we took our documents to the hospital, they would reluctantly review them and issue a certificate, no charge.
We were in no hurry, we received our certificate from Daffodil, who visited our boat to get our papers. We didn’t have to go ashore. OK, that was some service provided and she was very nice.
It was time for another anchor beer. Mike and Jen dinghied by and joined us in some wine and ti punch. Love being back in Bequia! It was worth the sporty sailboat ride.

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Vessel Name: Tumultuous Uproar
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau 42s7
Hailing Port: Milwaukee, WI
Crew: Russ Whitford & Lisa Alberte plus Sophie our Jack Russell Terrier
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