Friday, February 13, 2009

New Canvas!

Capt Chris, 80's, winds ENE 10 to 19 knots
02/13/2009, Honeymoon Beach Water Island St Thomas USVI

Check out Christa's belated Christmas presents! Hale and Susan from SV Cayuga finished up said project this morning. My is Christa happy. You can see that I have a new mainsail cover made with "Christa" stitched in with 7 inch letters and I've now changed most of the outside canvas to white. Also that is new dodger canvas as well. Notice the canvas spray shield just forward of the stern anchor. Since Christa is a wet sailing boat this will help protect me more in the cockpit while beating to windward. Not that I plan on ever doing that again. But just in case. You may also note I fashioned up a piece of mahagony, sanded it and put multiple coats of Cetol that soaked right into the wood. You can see it is used as a fuel jug rack. While at sea and hard on the wind with water gushing down the side of the boat the last thing one would want is fuel jugs breaking loose.

So the lastest sailing plan is still up in the air. Although I will be moving. My latest plan is to wait and depart early Monday morning. The winds are going to be very light and variable to 10 knots. Where I land is unknown and I really won't make the call until I'm at sea. I am giving serious thought to motoring the 125 nm toward St Maartin arriving sometime on Tuesday morning. If the forecast holds, the winds should be clocking to the north. If this occurs and the timing is right I would then broach reach another 100 nm to Jolly Harbor Antigua. However, all of this is up in the air and is incumbant on how tired I get and the conditions. The forecast really appears to be wonderful and now it really is just a matter of timing the clocking of the wind. Mid week next week a large north swell will be spilling into the Caribbean basin which limits some of the places I can safely put into. If I were to bet, I would say Christa and company will make either Antigua or The Saints just south of Guadeloupe in the Leeward Islands.

More later as the forecast becomes solid....well as solid as weather forecast go.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Could Have A Weather Window on the Horizon

Capt Chris, winds NE 24 KTS GUSTING HIGHER
02/11/2009, Honeymoon Beach Water Island St Thomas USVI

I'm watching the weather closely as a major pattern change envelops the Caribbean basin. This week the trades are cranking driving ENE winds at 25 knots and 13 foot ENE swell are being generated. I'm happy to be safely anchored here in Honey Moon Bay. But toward the weekend the trades are going to start easing and the wind may come around to the north north east to 10 knots throughout the entire Caribbean. It is amazing to watch the GRIB FILES display the predicted changing conditions as the computer models chew on the latest runs. I am excited.

So at this early juncture I tenatively will be leaving the Virgin Islands on Sunday with a forecast of northeast wind 8 to 13 knots. The plan is to put Christa on a comfortable sailing course with the wind about 60 degrees off the port bow and sail toward the southern Caribbean. Where I make landfall will depend on the weather conditions I experience. Generally I think I may make landfall somewhere near Dominica in 3 days. But if I run into any dead calms, which is possible, i could simply motor east toward the closest island. In any event I really am looking forward to doing some open ocean passagemaking. I'll blog as the weather conditions become clearer so I can make a good choice in terms of departure time and date.


Capt Chris