Tomorrow we head off to new horizons - we set off to Saint Martin in the wee hours of the morning. It's about 70 miles across the Anegada Passage, plus some extra miles leaving Virgin Gorda and arriving in St. Martin making for about an 80 mile trip if we don't have to tack a lot. There is a weather window opening for a "less difficult" passage, so off we go.
For the last few days here it's been blowing the dog off the chain in the BVI's. We sailed to Road Town with winds gusting over 30 knots, and sailed back to Virgin Gorda (the closest place to leave for St. Martin from) upwind with winds gusting into the mid to upper 20's. These are the Trade Winds which tend to be dominantly from the East.
St. Martin is to the East.
What this translates too is big wind directly from where we wanted to be going for the last week. With waves, waves driven by the wind up to 10' in height. The predictions for the last few days were gale force winds, 10'+ waves and squalls and an upwind sail. So we opted to wait it out, in spite of the fact that my parents were flying in to St. Martin yesterday.
Fortunately they knew we were likely to need some flexibility and sert themselves in a hotel for a couple of days so they are already in Marigot, the capitol of the French side of the island. Yes, the island is split in two between the French (Saint-Martin) and the Dutch (Sint-Maarten). More on the whole island later, once I've been there and had a look around!
For the weather though, the next 36-48 hours is bringing through a brief easing and change. The wind is supposed to switch about 30-40 degrees North, making it NOT dead upwind so we can hopefully make the whole sail without having to tack back and forth. Even though it will still be a basically upwind sail we should be able to stay on one tack pointed straight at St. Martin which is a huge plus. Additionally the wind and waves should be easing somewhat. Expected winds tomorrow morning are around 20 knots, by afternoon they should be dropping into the teens. Wave heights of 8-9 feet should also drop to seven feet or so.
We don't expect a comfortable sail, but certainly a manageable one.
So it's off for an early night, and an earlier morning.
See you on the other side!