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Old 30-04-2009, 18:18   #1
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Mona Passage

Are the seas always confused through the Mona or is it like the gulfsream in Florida where it could be flat calm or 15' seas. Looking to pass sometime in June.
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Old 30-04-2009, 18:54   #2
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I've only sailed there twice, in good weather, and it's been calm both times but with a lot of current. A friend crossed it twice in the same week, again with good weather, with the same experience -- calm but with a lot of current.

I've not sailed it in bad weather, but have watched from the shore as the summer t-storms built up over the mountains in PR and went out over the Mona passage, and I wouldn't want any part of being out there -- some of the nastiest lightning and squalls I've ever seen outside of tropical storms. This was in July, and it seemed to happen every day, not many weather windows that entire month. I haven't sailed the gulfstream, but sounds like it's similar, but the weather windows may be narrower for the Mona passage, at least in July.
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Old 01-05-2009, 13:40   #3
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We've crossed it west to east during tropical storm Claudette in 2003. Not a problem for a good boat but nonetheless, 3 boats went missing in the Mona passage that night. The seas were 16' at least and some much more. The lee of PR is amazing... had to use the engine for the last couple of miles.

But most others don't cross it when a wave is passing (4 hours before Claudette hit us, the forecast only said weak tropical wave with 20-25 knots maximum wind) and have calm conditions so must use the engine all the way.

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Old 01-05-2009, 18:46   #4
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Went thru two days ago. ^-7 ft seas, confused. Wind was over 35 kts the previous four days. Every time I've made the trip it has been rough.
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Old 01-05-2009, 19:23   #5
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Thanks for the replies. Working up the courage to make this trip.
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Old 04-05-2009, 02:42   #6
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The seas are not confused they know just what they are doing question is do you! Plan for the worst and enjoy it when it isnt. Why not save the headace and sail the north coast protected and pleasent . That is if you are heading from the Caribbean.
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Old 04-05-2009, 06:07   #7
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jpsailing, the term 'confused seas' is a term of art for sailors and not an invitation for ridicule. It seems to me that dcarpentry is doing his homework before a passage that is intimidating for him and is looking for specific experiences and advice derived therefrom. As to sticking to the 'north coast', last I looked there was still open sea between the islands.

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Old 04-05-2009, 07:44   #8
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Mona passage

I am well aware of the term confused sea. I have been through Mona many times My point is the protected north coast is rather in the lea and the seas though O My are open ocean are at least running and not confused. For centuries the pirates and the trade ships avoided mona for good reason it is unpredictable. It is chosen often because it is the shorter and closer to the coast route . However at times standing off and avoiding confused seas might be the prudent method. Thats all Im saying .


An unexamined life is not worth living . Safe harbor, fair wind
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:07   #9
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if you are truly cruising and your plan is to have no plan then you can wait for good weather and have a pleasant trip. have not done the mona passage but that has been our experience with the anegada passage. (currently in the BVIs)
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:11   #10
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I am well aware of the term confused sea. I have been through Mona many times My point is the protected north coast is rather in the lea and the seas though O My are open ocean are at least running and not confused.
Now you've got me confused. The protected north coast? Of what?
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Old 04-05-2009, 23:28   #11
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Confused here too... with the wind N of E, the N coast of the DR isn't fun and the N coast of PR won't be much better. When we were tacking E in the Mona Passage, every time we got too far N the seas went from 16 to over 20' so the protection is definitely not there (not N I mean). However, coming from the N coast of the DR, don't wander too far S because that's where the Hourglass Shoal is and that one is just unsafe during stormy conditions.

What we did (and it worked okay I guess) is stay as far N as needed to clear the squalls (it's really the PR coastal front which moves W at night) use radar to see them. The only trouble we had was a tropical wave passing. We went very close to that little island off the NW coast of PR and that was where we entered the lee of PR and could see the lights of Mayaguez.

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Old 05-05-2009, 05:21   #12
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Caribbean 2 step, short chop on swells. Wonder why they call them swells, they aren't.
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:48   #13
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Confused here too... with the wind N of E, the N coast of the DR isn't fun and the N coast of PR won't be much better. When we were tacking E in the Mona Passage, every time we got too far N the seas went from 16 to over 20' so the protection is definitely not there (not N I mean). However, coming from the N coast of the DR, don't wander too far S because that's where the Hourglass Shoal is and that one is just unsafe during stormy conditions.

What we did (and it worked okay I guess) is stay as far N as needed to clear the squalls (it's really the PR coastal front which moves W at night) use radar to see them. The only trouble we had was a tropical wave passing. We went very close to that little island off the NW coast of PR and that was where we entered the lee of PR and could see the lights of Mayaguez.

cheers,
Nick.
I see I wasn't the only one. I don't know of a lee north shore in the caribbean, maybe he meant the south coast. But even then, you can't hide on a south coast in the Mona either.

Your description is very good, and should help dcarpentry plan. That little island you refer to I believe is Desecheo, nothing there, run by the fishery dept. And once you make it there, you're right, you can enter the lee of PR, and this is where I've sailed without problems on calm days.

The problem, as you note, are these squalls that come through in the summer, picking up strength over the mountains before they come over water. And they are just starting although it's early and they are still weak. In June, when he plans to go, he needs to keep a good eye out for weather and have enough schedule slack to wait for a weather window.
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Old 05-05-2009, 06:37   #14
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Mona

We made the passage west to east in early March (2000), hugged the DR coast until abeam of Punta Macao in early morning hours, upon leaving the DR coast sailed north easterly direction to avoid the hourglass shoal (seas were lumpy, but not un- managable), approached PR in mid morning and got hammered by a front coming off of the south coast, wind increased from flat to 50kn in what seemed like a heartbeat. Seas were close together and steep, at first we just tried to motor into it (had been flat calm) as we had but a short distance to go; this is where we first experienced the carribean two step (2 forward and one back), quickly switched to motor sailing w/ deep reef main and staysail, short tacking into Boqueron.

Steve
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Old 05-05-2009, 18:45   #15
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Yes, it was Desecheo, a good waypoint for this short but nasty trip ;-)

cheers,
Nick.
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