When/If you get to the eastern Carib islands which run north/south in an arc
- and - want to sail close to the western side to view the fabulous topography then there are the following things to watch for.
- - At the north end of each island, from the island to about 3 to 5 nm northwest is an "acceleration zone." This area has wind speeds 10 kts or more above the normal winds. It is caused by the trade
winds wrapping around the high volcanic mountains and bending southward. Much like air over an airplane wing.
- - Shortly thereafter, the wind dies or totally reverses or even totally clocks around the compass
. It is a bit of a hassle if you are using your sails
. That is why a lot of folks who want to pure sail (not motor-sail) stay out 5 nm or so west of an island. Of course, if you plan to stop there you don't have much choice and accept the flukely winds to avoid all the extra miles of being out "west" and then having to turn east to get to the anchorage.
- - For some unknown reason the acceleration effect is not as bad on the south side of each island and in fact helps you when going north as you tend to fall west of your course line to hold wind in the sails
. On the south side the winds allow clock around allowing you to head up more towards your destination
as you near the island.