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Old 26-12-2011, 10:38   #1
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Tortola to St Maarten

Hi there - it seems that sailing from St Maarten to Tortola is very straight forward as there is normally a following wind - has any one done it in the opposite direction and what is the journey like in normal wave and wind conditions?

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Old 26-12-2011, 12:27   #2
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Re: Tortola to St Maarten

I would go up to Virgin Gorda, anchor in North Sound at Drakes Anchorage off the old hotel, and then depart at about 4 pm. If you're lucky you can sail, but we usually ended up motor-sailing to Marigot, arriving after dawn. Make sure you check the weather forecast before shoving off. We always had good weather, but I've talked to folks who have been beat up pretty good when the wind piped up.
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Old 26-12-2011, 13:21   #3
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Re: Tortola to St Maarten

Huds advice is very good, but in the six times I made the passage I found that no two trips were the same. Once I tacked to just north of Saba and then layed a course to Simpson Bay(took awhile).
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Old 26-12-2011, 13:21   #4
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Re: Tortola to St Maarten

have done it many times both ways delivering boats,.
as hud reccomends,leave earylish,be prepared to motorsail if time is limited.

this brings to mind ,one time in a moorings jenneau 39 around xmas with 25-30kt trades .
i had a crew develop a burst ulcer and start vomiting blood.
as we were closer to sxm than tortola and better hospitals there any way
we rolled in the genoa cranked up the engine and powered to windward witha full main,i remember it as being a hellish night and i swear we were airborne at times!!

but we arrived in oyster pond at dawn and got the crew into icu on the french side.

so beware it can be very bouncy with reinforced trades!!! this time of year
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Old 26-12-2011, 13:36   #5
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Re: Tortola to St Maarten

Sail it. You'll have to take some tacks under most conditions but the ride will be more comfortable. If it feels bumpy crack off and take longer, wider tacks.
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Old 27-12-2011, 06:45   #6
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Re: Tortola to St Maarten

I personally think that the BVI - St. Martin passage is the most miserable one in the Caribbean. The first time I did that passage I was too proud to turn on the engine and it took just over 24 hours of hard sailing. Since then I've lost any vestiges of pride and (a) choose my weather window and (b) motorsail. Since I've gone that route my fuel consumption has gone up but my comfort level has increased even more.
I am in St. Martin right now and have just cleared out for the BVI - but I need to return here next week and really hope that the weather plays alongs as I need to pick up friends at the airport and as we all know, sailing on a schedule is a bad idea.

The passage is only just shy of 80nm so at least the goal close enough to make any discomfort tolerable.
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Old 27-12-2011, 07:36   #7
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Re: Tortola to St Maarten

The wind can vary in direction from SE to NE, so pick a good day. Last time that we sailed, we left from around Spanish Town, sailed North of Anegada, tacked, and laid the North side of Saint Marten easily. The passage can be rough as the current is against you. I,m in Oyster Pond at the moment and the wind is less than 10kts out of the NE. This would be at good day to make the passage. last week the Christmas winds were blowing at 20+ and the seas were > 10 feet - not a good time to make the passage.
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Old 27-12-2011, 08:49   #8
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Re: Tortola to St Maarten

Yeah, it would be a good idea to check windfinder.com or windguru.com before committing to get an idea of when the wind might cooperate. Next Monday or Tuesday looks good for Zanshin's trip back to SXM.
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Old 27-12-2011, 09:33   #9
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Re: Tortola to St Maarten

Major sailing alert!

When you travel from West to East in the Alantic Ocean North of the equator, and South of about 40*N you sail to windward and beat against the current.
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