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Old 22-02-2016, 08:56   #1
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St Lucia to Bequia - currents

I will be sailing from Rodney Bay to Bequia and back, and would like advice on current and which side of St Vincents to sail, and if possible a source of recent data/predictions of currents in this area. My main question - is it better to sail south on the Atlantic side of St Vincent to avoid being set by the current and to get better wind, or is wave direction and height more of a concern in deciding which side of St Vincents to sail. Similarly on the return north is it better to keep to the west of St Vincent to get help from the current? I am willing to motor sail in the lee of the islands as long as it is reasonably flat water and I am not bashing into weather for hours. I know that I will encounter large wind acceleration effects at the ends of the islands if i keep to the west - and am OK with that as I plan on reefing in time.
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Old 22-02-2016, 09:09   #2
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Re: St Lucia to Bequia - currents

I've made this trip several times, always to the west of st. vincent. the east shores wouldn't be a good place to have any kind of trouble. Currents were not an issue.. maybe 1knt, and varying directions. Worst current was a small spot just south off the tip of St. Lucia.. but you will want to stay off shore several miles so as to catch some wind as St. Lucia is a big blocker. You, of course, never know what the wind and waves will be... we've had flat, flat water, and we've had flat faced steep waves... no wind, and 25kn wind.

Coming north, off of st. vincent, I suggest heading (motoring) east quite a bit.. until almost the east side of the island, and then turning for St. Lucia.. that should give you a better point of sail and a pleasing ride.
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Old 22-02-2016, 09:49   #3
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Re: St Lucia to Bequia - currents

Thanks Privleoplag - just the information I was looking for.
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Old 22-02-2016, 11:18   #4
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Re: St Lucia to Bequia - currents

I went once from St Lucia to Bequia on the windward side of St Vincent, and I was a bit disappointed--it may have been just that day, but the winds were lighter than I expected and the waves reflect of the island, making it a sloppy sail. I've gone on the leeward side at least half a dozen times, and prefer it. You may have to motor for an hour or two, but the lee is a nice smooth place to have lunch.

The channel between Bequia and St Vincent has a tidal current, but the west-setting flood is about 2kn while the ebb is about 1 kn, and better near the shorelines. The racers in the round Bequia regatta always tack pretty close to the shoreline up to Man Point, not just for the current relief, but because the wind bends around the point.

I stopped for the night once in the lee of St Vincent (Walliabou), but will never make that mistake again. Leave Bequia early, and keep going to St Lucia. As mentioned, motorsail close inshore up the northern end of St Vincent until the wind and waves fill in, then sail out into the channel with a double reef.
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