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Old 22-02-2011, 15:38   #1
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Saba Island in North Swells - Lunacy or Contentment

We are planning to leave Nevis tomorrow morning for Saba Island as a stop over enroute St. Martin. I am a bit concerned about the NHC forecast for large northerly swells and its impact on the moorings on Saba. Anyone with recent experience there?

The past two days here in Tamarind Bay, Nevis, have been rather uncomfortable and I don't want to jump from the frying pan into the fire.
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Old 23-02-2011, 06:45   #2
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Re: Saba Island in North Swells - Lunacy or Contentment

Hello John,

I left St Kitts (White House Bay) and Nevis last week before the swells hit, but I would not recommend Saba in any kind of swell at all as it is unprotected and you will be rocking and rolling all night. If you really need to head out, then a better alternative might be Statia - it isn't too far, is at least partially protected, and is an interesting island.
White House Bay is quite well-protected and one can hitch a ride from there into town, if necessary. Just in dinghy distance are 2 bars/restaurants but apart from that there isn't much there (oh, but there is excellent free WiFi despite there being nothing ashore).
Here in the BVI the swells are over 3m but at 13 seconds period they don't impact sailing, just anchoring. Even in the well-protected North Sound I can feel the swell and am waiting for it to diminish before heading to other ports.
Have fun and good sailing!

p.s. If you do head to Saba it would be great if you could post your experiences here.
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Old 23-02-2011, 06:51   #3
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Re: Saba Island in North Swells - Lunacy or Contentment

I spent one of the most miserable nights of my career on a mooring at Saba in northerly swells. They won't let you use the moorings on the southern side of the island.
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Old 23-02-2011, 07:08   #4
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Re: Saba Island in North Swells - Lunacy or Contentment

I also don't suggest stopping at Saba. You could sail North to St. Barths.
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Old 23-02-2011, 07:28   #5
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pirate Re: Saba Island in North Swells - Lunacy or Contentment

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Originally Posted by speciald@ocens. View Post
I also don't suggest stopping at Saba. You could sail North to St. Barths.
Which will also be uncomfortable... bite the bullet and go hang out with MarkJ at the Soggy Dollar, Palapa..... Sint Maarten
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Old 23-02-2011, 10:33   #6
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Re: Saba Island in North Swells - Lunacy or Contentment

If you head to St. Martin - Barnacle's (old Shrimpy's) is becoming a cruiser hangout and the beer is cheap, the happy hour long, and the food excellent (the rigs are to die for). Just down the road/water from Palapa.

St. Barths in Colombier on the north corner tucked way in to shore might be tenable, but those spots are probably already taken. I really did like White House bay and it is only about 8-10nm from where you are, a short crossing past the Narrows and Bob's your Uncle! I can't imagine that any Nevis anchorage is calm with this pure north swell.
If you show up here in the BVI the first rounds are on me
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Old 24-02-2011, 12:27   #7
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Lunacy!!!

We were aware of the recommendations against visiting Saba with north swells and strong northeast winds but decided to go for a couple of days based on a forecast for mild wind (10-15 knots) and moderate seas (4 foot). It sounded great, until we got there and the weather window collapsed on us. True to everyone's predictions, Saba is not a place to be with wind or waves. The wind howled (20-23 knots) and the waves slapped so badly that neither of us could sleep. We ended up leaving at 0500 to beat to St. Martin. So much for planning ahead.

When will we see the weather forum so I can find a weather forecast that doesn't lead me astray?
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Old 25-02-2011, 06:51   #8
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Re: Saba Island in North Swells - Lunacy or Contentment

Dreaming - just imagine all of us sitting back and smugly nodding our heads in that the predictions we made and warnings given were correct; then smile to yourself when you think that we all went through sleepless nights at anchor somewhere because we thought we knew better and we've fared no better than you at times.
In my case my Waterloo was at Basseterre in St. Kitts and it was rolling so bad at anchor I crawled and slid on the floor because I couldn't use the handholds without my feet leaving the ground the whole time. I didn't stick it out until sunrise, but left at 2am with no real goal except to get out of there.

Were you able to go ashore at Saba or were you stuck on your roller-coaster the whole time? Were there other boats there or were you a solitary camper?
I like using WindGuru for short-term wind and waves predictions and they are usually pretty good on waves and wave periods. Apart from that the weather can be a bit of a roulette game. Good luck in St. Martin (did you go inside the lagoon?)!
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Old 27-02-2011, 09:08   #9
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Re: Saba Island in North Swells - Lunacy or Contentment

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Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post
Dreaming - just imagine all of us sitting back and smugly nodding our heads in that the predictions we made and warnings given were correct;
Thanks for not saying, "I told you so". The prediction I am upset about was the weather forecast that showed mild conditions for 3 days that should have made the visit at least tolerable, if not enjoyable. We knew based on Doyle's cruising guide and comments from others here on CF that it would be uncomfortable in heavy weather.

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Were you able to go ashore at Saba or were you stuck on your roller-coaster the whole time?
We never made it ashore as the water was too rough to safely take our dinghy around the corner to Fort Bay.

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Were there other boats there or were you a solitary camper?
Two other boats were on the moorings just to the north of us. From the way their anchor lights bounced around, they had just as much "fun" as we did.

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I like using WindGuru for short-term wind and waves predictions and they are usually pretty good on waves and wave periods. Apart from that the weather can be a bit of a roulette game. Good luck in St. Martin (did you go inside the lagoon?)!
I have used Stormsurfing.com for a number of years with relatively good success with the qualification that anything more than 3 days out is a WAG. In this case, the weather window slammed closed in less than 24 hours - very disheartening. I have registered with WindGuru but haven't had good enough internet here in the Lagoon to play with it much yet.

We really need a weather forum!!!
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Old 27-02-2011, 12:38   #10
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Re: Saba Island in North Swells - Lunacy or Contentment

Thats ashame, we were there 2/14 - 2/16. beautiful island !!! Great people.
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