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Old 09-01-2013, 06:24   #1
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Jamaica to Turks or Bshamas - January

Hi everyone. We have just spent the last month in Jamaica and are now looking for weather to brave the upwind passage. So far, every day when I look I've seen forecasts of around 20-30 knots NNE and seas of seven at seven. I am not going to push off from here with those conditions, but does anyone know what a good window looks like early in the year in the windward passage? I've heard of reinforced trade winds in December and January, but I assumed that if patient we would get an opening. What are our odds of being in the Bahamas or the Turks this month? Thanks
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Old 09-01-2013, 06:37   #2
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Re: Jamaica to Turks or Bshamas - January

Checking wind guru for Jamacia and the north coast of Dominican Republic looks like totally different weather this week.
If that is consistently so then its only a hundred miles motoring upwind before the conditions have abated.

I don't know the area so can't really comment, just interested in the big difference in weather so close to each other.
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Old 09-01-2013, 06:54   #3
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Here is the most recent WX I have. I am very interested in opinions in how likely I can expect improvement. 17-31 knots uphill doesn't appeal to me.

Also has anyone stated at Matthew Town on Inagua?




WIND SEAS
DATE HR dir/deg range(kt) dir/per range(ft)
---- --- ------------------ -------------------
1/8 13 E 86 21 - 29 ENE 7sec 8 - 12
1/8 19 E 80 23 - 31 ENE 8sec 9 - 14

1/9 01 E 86 23 - 31 ENE 8sec 9 - 15
1/9 07 E 87 21 - 29 ENE 8sec 8 - 13
1/9 13 E 81 20 - 27 ENE 8sec 8 - 13
1/9 19 E 81 23 - 31 ENE 8sec 9 - 14

1/10 01 E 83 22 - 30 ENE 8sec 9 - 14
1/10 07 E 81 22 - 30 ENE 8sec 9 - 14
1/10 13 ENE 79 20 - 27 ENE 7sec 8 - 13
1/10 19 ENE 77 23 - 31 ENE 7sec 8 - 13

1/11 01 ENE 79 23 - 31 ENE 7sec 9 - 14
1/11 07 ENE 79 21 - 29 ENE 7sec 8 - 13
1/11 13 ENE 75 20 - 27 ENE 7sec 7 - 12
1/11 19 ENE 73 22 - 31 ENE 7sec 8 - 13

1/12 01 ENE 76 20 - 27 ENE 7sec 7 - 12
1/12 07 ENE 73 18 - 24 ENE 7sec 6 - 10
1/12 13 ENE 70 16 - 22 ENE 6sec 5 - 9
1/12 19 ENE 67 19 - 26 ENE 6sec 6 - 9

1/13 01 ENE 68 19 - 25 ENE 6sec 6 - 10
1/13 07 ENE 69 20 - 27 ENE 6sec 6 - 10
1/13 13 ENE 69 19 - 25 ENE 6sec 6 - 10
1/13 19 ENE 71 20 - 27 ENE 6sec 6 - 10

1/14 01 ENE 74 19 - 26 ENE 6sec 6 - 10
1/14 07 ENE 76 19 - 25 ENE 6sec 6 - 10
1/14 13 ENE 76 17 - 24 ENE 6sec 6 - 9
1/14 19 ENE 75 18 - 25 ENE 6sec 6 - 9

1/15 01 ENE 79 18 - 24 ENE 6sec 6 - 10
1/15 07 E 82 18 - 25 ENE 6sec 6 - 9
1/15 13 E 83 17 - 23 ENE 6sec 6 - 9
--------------------------------------------------
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Old 09-01-2013, 07:26   #4
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Re: Jamaica to Turks or Bshamas - January

I have taken this aprox. route many times and it is not going to change very much,unless a Hurricane comes thru,then for the worse...If you head out during the night it seems to be a little better but not by much..I have never been able to sail out of Jamaica and make good time or distance toward the north without motoring the whole distance and the weather has never been ideal...Good luck
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Old 09-01-2013, 07:31   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicalescape View Post
I have taken this aprox. route many times and it is not going to change very much,unless a Hurricane comes thru,then for the worse...If you head out during the night it seems to be a little better but not by much..I have never been able to sail out of Jamaica and make good time or distance toward the north without motoring the whole distance and the weather has never been ideal...Good luck
Motoring is fine, but the conditions don't look that comfortable or fast. There seems to be really big wind at the far side all week.
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Old 09-01-2013, 09:19   #6
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Re: Jamaica to Turks or Bshamas - January

You might want to check Sailing Weather - Marine Weather Forecasts for Sailors and Adventurers - PassageWeather from time to time for forcasts. We have found it a very useful tool.
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Old 09-01-2013, 09:25   #7
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Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
You might want to check Sailing Weather - Marine Weather Forecasts for Sailors and Adventurers - PassageWeather from time to time for forcasts. We have found it a very useful tool.
We use passage weather, but bouyweather is great for closer detail. Passage weather gribs show a lot of wind on the north side of the passage.
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Old 09-01-2013, 09:33   #8
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Re: Jamaica to Turks or Bshamas - January

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We use passage weather, but bouyweather is great for closer detail. Passage weather gribs show a lot of wind on the north side of the passage.
Yep. Too early in the season for the Christmas Winds to have laid down. Patience is a virtue, eh?
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Old 09-01-2013, 09:48   #9
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Re: Jamaica to Turks or Bshamas - January

Unless you get lucky I don't see high odds of better weather this time of year. Jamaica is a bit too far south for cold fronts coming from the north that can depress the easterly winds and it's too early in the year for the winter trades to abate.

Have never stopped in Mathew Town but I hear facilities are very limited and anchorages are open. I would love to go see the flamingo colony in the interior.
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Old 09-01-2013, 13:23   #10
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Unless you get lucky I don't see high odds of better weather this time of year. Jamaica is a bit too far south for cold fronts coming from the north that can depress the easterly winds and it's too early in the year for the winter trades to abate.

Have never stopped in Mathew Town but I hear facilities are very limited and anchorages are open. I would love to go see the flamingo colony in the interior.
Skipmac,

About when do the trades settle into their normal pattern? Before we arrived here when I was looking at weather the winds were much less, but I guess that is what they call the Christmas winds. We will probably end up waiting here on the east end until we either get a window or give up and head to Cayman and around the top. Ideally we could get a day with 15 knots or less and seas of four feet at eight seconds (wishful thinking I guess, but going into it that would be welcome).

Élan
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Old 09-01-2013, 14:02   #11
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Re: Jamaica to Turks or Bshamas - January

Quote:
Originally Posted by engele View Post
Ideally we could get a day with 15 knots or less and seas of four feet at eight seconds (wishful thinking I guess, but going into it that would be welcome).

Élan
That's what the weather is 100 miles north of you right now. Just motor that 100 miles.


WindGURU: Dominican Republic - Encuentro
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Old 09-01-2013, 14:27   #12
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Re: Jamaica to Turks or Bshamas - January

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Originally Posted by engele View Post
Skipmac,

About when do the trades settle into their normal pattern?
Hi Élan

Really good question. First let me add that I sailed through that area a number of times but the last was over 25 years ago. I passed through the Windward north and/or south at least 5-6 times on the way to Jamaica, Caymans, Panama etc and did it just about every time of year. So, any information is out of date and possibly confused by age and poor memory.

As I recall, I never saw a reliable, consistent pattern. I have been there in Jan before when the winds were mostly 15-20 kts and never saw the Christmas winds. Then I remember one trip to Panama from Long Island in the Bahamas all the way to Panama I never saw less than 25 kts. If this is a strong winter trade winds year it could easily be late Feb or into March before it lays down.

Also it was usually a lot windier south of the Windward Passage and even in years when the winds were strong it was a lot calmer in the Passage, I'm guessing due to the mountains and possibly some land/sea breeze effect from Haiti and Cuba.

A couple of times when stopped off in Jamaica on the way back to Florida is was a real toss up which way to go. Windward Passage was a beat leaving MoBay but once you got there (unless you're heading further east to the T&Cs) it was down wind and down current all the way home. Going through the Yucatan was an easy beginning but once you round Cabo San Antonio into the Straights of FL with the Gulf Stream current against strong east trade winds it can get very bumpy. One trip we gave up and anchored at the Dry Tortugas for a week waiting out the weather.


Quote:
Originally Posted by engele View Post
We will probably end up waiting here on the east end until we either get a window or give up and head to Cayman and around the top. Ideally we could get a day with 15 knots or less and seas of four feet at eight seconds (wishful thinking I guess, but going into it that would be welcome).

Élan
If you're in no hurry I would give it a 2-3 weeks to see if any weather window opens up. Like I mentioned, the worst is leaving Jamaica and very likely will be a little calmer once you're actually in the Windward Passage. Then if you're thinking Great Inagua from there you won't be hard on the wind for a while.

If you are planning on the T&C it seems a long way out of the way to go to the Yucatan.

Another idea. I haven't done this on the Cuban coast since 30 years ago Americans did not want to get close to Cuba, but I have done this on the south coast of Haiti and you might have some luck trying this technique. Sail NE from Jamaica on a course as close to the wind as is comfortable. If the winds are mainly NE then as you get close to Cuba you will be in the lee of the mountains in eastern Cuba and could see much lower winds. Then work your way east under the lee. May also get favorable land and sea breezes from Cuba or even very calm allowing you to motor comfortably,
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