Leaving Antigua, W. I.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Waiting for Weather

This morning

Next Tuesday morning
If you hang around with cruising sailors, you'll hear that phrase, "waiting for weather," often.  Here's why we've been waiting for weather to go from St. Martin to Antigua for the last week.

The little things that look like hockey sticks scattered across the weather maps show the wind direction.  The number of 'barbs' in the hook show the relative wind strength.  These winds are all in the 10 to 15 knot range, and that's a pleasant sailing breeze. The blue areas are rain -- the darker, the heavier.

If you look at the red dotted line on this morning's weather map, you'll see the route that we would have to follow to reach Antigua if we were sailing today.  Having the wind in our face doesn't mean we couldn't get there, but it would take us almost twice as it will take on next Tuesday morning, when we can sail right along the black dotted line.  That's about a 14 hour trip to cover the 90-odd miles, instead of the 20-plus hours that it would take if we were doing it today.  Of course, these forecasts are every bit as accurate as the ones that you get for your local weather.

The other option, if we were on a tight schedule, would be to use our engine to drive straight into the wind, but that makes for an unpleasant ride.  Aside from the noise and vibration, we would be plowing directly into the wind-driven waves.  The ride would be rough and the spray would be flying, and we would miss the stabilizing effect of the sails. That means we would also be rolling a good bit with the ocean swell.  So, we're waiting for weather, even though it's a beautiful day in St. Martin -- 80 degrees, partly cloudy, with a nice breeze, blowing straight from where we want to go. It's "Nassaba, mon. Jus' wait. Soon come." (Nassaba means not so bad, in the local patois.) as they say down here. We hope that you have nice weather wherever you are.

1 comment:

  1. Your illustration made it so easy to see the choices. Will you be doing anything special in Antigua?