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Old 28-10-2010, 12:27   #1
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Weather in the Leewards

We are chartering out of St Martin next week. I have been following the weather activity in the region on the National Hurricane Center's website (National Hurricane Center) and it looks like there are still several large systems with the potential for hurricanes in the area. One in particular concerns me, being just south-east of the Windward islands. My question is, what affects will these systems have on the Leewards from where they are now with regard to wind and swell? And how close would a cell have to get to an area before it starts to change the local weather conditions? Thanks to all in advance and to Hud specifically if he would weigh in. Are you concerned with any weather activity in your area right now or in the next two weeks?
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Old 28-10-2010, 12:49   #2
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I'll be down there at the same time and am also watching the weather. The system you are talking about is projected to move west or wnw which should miss us completely. I'd recommend windfinder for your weather. Have fun.
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Old 28-10-2010, 13:30   #3
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That tropical wave is about 800 miles from the leewards and since the Bermuda high is actually north of Bermuda there is lots of room for the wave to pass way north of you.

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Old 28-10-2010, 13:55   #4
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Hi, luv2.

I've been watching it. All the analyses I've seen to date call for it to pass over Trinidad and into the Caribbean. It's moving relatively quickly, 15-20 kts, so it won't be hanging around. It should bring rain and gusty winds to the islands beginning tomorrow, mostly the Windwards. A couple of the models show it angling up over St Lucia or Guadeloupe, but south of the Leewards, but the consensus is that it'll stay south until it passes over the ABC islands. Storms that far south can't develop much spin, since the Coriolis effect is weaker, and it'll be interacting with the South American landmass, too, which should retard development. It does look like it's packing a lot of moisture, though.

Once it gets past Aruba, the experts expect it to turn NW and develop in to a stronger system, perhaps even hurricane strength.

It doesn't seem to me like it's going to be a problem for us up here in the Leewards. It looks like we'll have a rainy weekend with some gusty winds, but the Trades should be back by Monday afternoon. You should have some nice sailing weather. Enjoy your charter!
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Old 28-10-2010, 14:18   #5
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Thanks Hud, that is reassuring. Do these far off storms affect the local sailing in the Leewards with regards to wind speed and direction, swell, or water visability? And off topic, what is the best place to anchor on Nevis for an overnight where we can have calm water for sleeping and go ashore to tip back a few pints? Can I clear out of Nevis the day before in St Kitts? And finally, is it a reasonable sail from Nevis to Deshaise for the following day? If so, what would be the best achorage in that area. We are there for the diving. I greatly appreciate all your local knowledge of my favorite cruising area!
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Old 28-10-2010, 14:56   #6
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This one looks like it'll be a fairly strong tropical wave, and we'll likely catch the northern tip of it as it goes by. Waves bring moisture (humidity and rain squalls), and sometimes gusty winds. The winds normally back a bit north (ENE) in advance of the wave, and then veer a bit south (ESE) as it passes by. You don't have to worry about winds coming around to the west or anything that radical. Swells shouldn't be much of a concern next week. The two systems in the Atlantic, north and northeast of us are kicking up a little bit of a swell, but nothing to worry about.

In Nevis, just anchor at the south end of Pinneys Beach, where the mooring buoys start. It's an easy dinghy ride to the pier in Charlestown, where you can clear in. It's the first pier south of the larger concrete ferry dock. There are no piers along Pinneys Beach, so you'll have to beach your dinghy when you go ashore for drinks and dinner. Luckily, the restaurants along the beach don't insist on shoes.

You can clear out in Charlestown, and then have 24 hours to actually depart the Federation. If you go to St Kitts, you're technically supposed to clear out of Nevis and back in on St Kitts, a PITA. Go over on the ferry if you want to sight-see on St Kitts.

The trip to Deshaies is generally hard on the wind, and about 75 nm. It almost always took me 12 hours, motorsailing the first leg to Montserrat. Go north through The Narrows to get your best angle on the wind, then pass north of Monserrat, after which you can bear off a few degrees. The anchorage is right there in Deshaies. Leave at dawn. If it's dark when you get to Deshaies, just go right up the middle of the entrance, between the cliffs, and find a spot to anchor. It's pretty straightforward. Keep away from the fishermans' marina to the right (riprap).

You can walk up to the Douanes (Customs) to clear in, but I've never, ever, found them open. There's a Customs office in Basseterre, also, but they may be closed, too. I always waited until I get to Les Saintes to clear in and out. The French aren't too uptight about that sort of thing. Are you diving around Pigeon Island? There are some moorings there, and a small bay. I've stopped for snorkeling, but never spent the night there.
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Old 28-10-2010, 15:27   #7
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We are planning of diving at Pigeon Island. I thought we could sail by the volcanoe on Monserrat on the way and continue on to the diving around the Cousteau Underwater Marine Reserve. But sailing into the wind all day and then struggling to clear customs makes me think it may not be worth the effort. We don't plan on setting foot on land in Guadeloupe except to clear customs. The next stop will be Antigua. Do you think it might be more efficient to just sail straight there and give Guadeloupe a miss. The only reason we would go would be for the diving. Although I was interested in seeing the active volcanoe on Montserrat. Any suggestions? Could I sail to see the volcanoe and back to Nevis in one day and then go on to Antigua the next day? I was thinking the sail to Antigua from Nevis or St Kitts would have the wind on the nose the entire time.
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Old 28-10-2010, 16:04   #8
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I'm not a diver, so it's hard for me to advise you on that--don't know if bashing for 12 hours would be worth the diving or not.

Regarding clearing in, I know that Martinique has instituted new procedures for clearing in where you can do it at various businesses in some of the towns. I don't know if Guadeloupe has gone in that direction or not--it's been four years since I was there. Maybe another member who's been there recently can comment. My experience was that the only office I ever found open was in The Saintes.

If you want to skip Guadeloupe, beating up to Monserrat will take 6-7 hours, usually. Then you could continue on to Antigua on the opposite tack, another 24 nm or so. I'd do that rather than sail to Monserrat, back to Nevis, then to Antigua. Antigua is dead upwind from Nevis, about 45 nm to Jolly Harbour from Pinneys Beach.
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Old 28-10-2010, 16:25   #9
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Awesome! This is why I love this Forum! Thanks for the tips. I will skip Guadaloupe, see the volcanoe and the change tacks and hurtle over to Antigua. I can't wait!
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Old 28-10-2010, 17:08   #10
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I think that's a good decision.

My son and I snorkeled all the way around Pigeon Island. It was OK, not great. Maybe the diving was better.

DO NOT sail south of Montserrat. I did that once. Big mistake--it's the downwind side. Gritty dust all over everything.
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Old 28-10-2010, 17:25   #11
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Perhaps go to Antigua first and then a reach to Deshais???
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Old 28-10-2010, 17:37   #12
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That would work. Good suggestion.
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Old 29-10-2010, 09:13   #13
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Weather Update

As of this morning, it looks like the models have it going a bit more north, right through the Grenadines. They still show it intensifying once in the Caribbean.

It still doesn't look like it's going to have much effect on the Leewards, at this point.

Here's this morning's model results from Tropical Storm: Computer Model Hurricane Forecasts : Weather Underground
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Old 29-10-2010, 09:26   #14
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I like the windfinder forcast better then wundergrounds. One shows sun every day the the other shows rain.

That's a pretty agressive sail plan you have lov2. Good for you to venture that far. Most of the charter companies won't let you out of their support areas. Are you going to Saba?
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Old 29-10-2010, 09:27   #15
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FWIW,

In Deshaies, Guadeloupe, you clear in/out @ the internet cafe that is right on the main street in town. IIRC, it's about 10 euros pp.

That is a change from 2009, when you had to walk out of town and up the hill to the customs office (Douane).

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