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Old 22-12-2010, 08:48   #1
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BVIs During North Swells ?

Hi CF - Forecast in the BVIs is for 8-9 foot 12s north swell and fairly light winds during the next few days (single digits on Thur). Could anyone offer their experience with sailing/motoring to Anegada from North Sound on Virgin Gorda under these conditions?

Thanks!
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Old 22-12-2010, 09:09   #2
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Big swells are not a major problem if the period is rather long. You are just "driving over the hills and dales" sort of thing. What is a problem is if the swells meet an shallow underwater shelf. Then they will "pile up" and make rather large impressive short period waves or even breakers.
- - Staying in deep water keeps you out of that problem - but when you find a harbor to anchor/moor in - look at the shape of the harbor and determine the direction the swells will enter the harbor. Swells wrap around islands so an ocean swell from the north can end up being a west (or east) swell on the backside of an island.
- - If there is a point or cape that the swells must "wrap around" then the best place to anchor to avoid the swells in in the "shadow" of that point/cape.
- - If no choice is present and other boats are not a factor you can deploy a stern anchor to pull the bow around so it faces into the swells. Pitching up and down is a lot easier to take than rolling gunwale to gunwale.
- - There is also a version of a bridle if you are using nylon rode on your anchor or even on a mooring. You run a second line off the stern of the boat to the anchor rode/mooring line and pull the stern around to try to get the bow into the swell. This works well when the wind and swells are 90 degrees from each other. Of course in heavy/strong winds this is not advisable as you are presenting a large wind face to the maybe dislodge the anchor or overload the mooring.
- - IF all that doesn't work you then sleep in the main salon on the floor where the motion is least - or spend most of your time ashore.
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Old 22-12-2010, 09:22   #3
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I did that crossing in similar wave conditions, but much more wind. The wind was a bit more NE for me and we sailed there. Since you are approaching Anegada from the south, you should have protection from the swells as you enter. Go very slow as you enter.

Since it is not that far I personally would head out of North Sound on a NW tack and try to sail there. I had one crew member prone to seasickness and he was fine as long as he did not go below.
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Old 22-12-2010, 09:25   #4
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Hank, go to www.traveltalkonline.com, BVI forum and ask this question. Great resource in a very knowledgable forum. The only thing I remember regarding the north swells is that they can make Cane Garden Bay and White Bay anchorages really rough.

Steve
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Old 22-12-2010, 09:59   #5
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I left the North Sound this morning and was undecided where to go - either Anegada, Trellis Bay or Jost van Dyke and after about 15 minutes outside of the channel I opted to return to the comfort of the North Sound for a day. Today's swell is short period and has two wave train directions overlaid, so despite my 49' hull length I was pounding into waves on any northerly heading. Not a difficult or bad sail to Anegada, but it is easier to wait a day and let the waves settle. I usually use WindGuru.Com to get the wave directions, size and period plus they do a good job on prognosticating the wind; but had no internet connectivity this morning when I did leave.
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Old 22-12-2010, 10:09   #6
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As Zanshin notes, northerly swells can make sailing uncomfortable, but it's the north-facing anchorages you really need to be concerned about. Cane Garden Bay can produce impressive breaking surf in an northerly swell. Boats have been torn from the moorings at The Baths on Virgin Gorda and destroyed on the rocks. I've seen pieces of a Beneteau when snorkeling there.

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Old 22-12-2010, 10:10   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve W View Post
Hank, go to www.traveltalkonline.com, BVI forum and ask this question. Great resource in a very knowledgable forum. The only thing I remember regarding the north swells is that they can make Cane Garden Bay and White Bay anchorages really rough.

Steve
Seems to be an advertising sight for vendors to hook up with cruise ship passengers, but maybe I didn't spend enough time there.
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Old 23-12-2010, 08:15   #8
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Seems to be an advertising sight for vendors to hook up with cruise ship passengers....
Not in slightest, since one of the recurring themes in that forum is how the cruise ship industry is ruining the charm of the islands. The site is quite non-commercial and there are lot of knowledgeable participants who have lived in the BVI for a long time.
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Old 24-12-2010, 05:02   #9
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Here is picture of the dinghy dock at Cane Garden Bay the day before yesterday (taken by "Hillsideview" and posted on Traveltalk Online and referenced without permission)
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Old 24-12-2010, 05:36   #10
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The swell often is not the problem but rather the wind generated waves on top of it. With the light winds we have been experiencing lately here in the BVIs there should be no problem getting to Anegada. We were there a couple of days ago when the swell began. Anchorage was OK in a catamaran. A strong stomach might be needed to be there now in a monohull. If you leave early from North Sound, get there and don't like the conditions, there is always time to turn around and go back to North Sound.
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Old 24-12-2010, 07:02   #11
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I've used Passageweather for most of my wind and wave predictions combined with NOAA. Between them I seem to do pretty well.

But, don't expect the seas to go down very soon! It looks like they will be up at the 8 ft level at least through Sunday. I'm in eastern PR and would like to do a little daysailing but I'll wait until they are down below 6 ft. Big waves and little wind just isn't that much fun.

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Old 28-12-2010, 18:48   #12
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Thanks everyone for their input. Passage went fine on the 24th, motor-sailed out there pretty much directly into the wind. Had a boisterous sail down wind from Anegada to Jost Van Dyke the next day in 9-10' seas. Actually back in North Sound ready to go back out to Anegada tomorrow. Can't resist the lobster out there. Will post video and pics when we get back.

Cheers and fair winds.
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Old 29-12-2010, 09:33   #13
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I'm in the Bight and have winds over 25 knots coming through, so I decided to stay put today and work on the boat. How is it in the North Sound?
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Old 29-12-2010, 10:06   #14
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Zanshin - according to my son who is the chef at the Bitter End, "its not too bad"!! Which aint all that helpful! Its blowing a pig where I live halfway up the hill near Prospect Reef but then altitude has a lot to do with what I'm feeling.

Try the Saba Rock webcam (you'll have to google it I'm afraid) cos you can swing it all the way round the Sound down to Leverick. Tony
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Old 01-01-2011, 12:23   #15
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Swells were big, but long period made it pretty enjoyable. Anegada was terrific, but no visibility snorkeling with huge waves on North shore. Exhilarating sailing for sure!
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