There's nothing jolly about Christmas Winds
Dec 09, 2006
At anchor, air temperatures can be relied on to be summer-like and cool enough at night for comfy sleeping, but with frequent "squall drills" forcing us out of bed in a dash to close hatches to arriving rain. Fortunately, the reputed “dry season” is arriving and the squalls are fewer and farther between, especially after we had moved northward away from the tall, rainmaking islands.
The weather has been a challenge since we departed Grenada back on January 20. The wind has been very strong from the NE to ENE - not a favorable direction for heading north up the Windward/Leeward Island chain. The high winds produce high seas and when the waves are coming forward of the beam, it's a rough ride. Wind speeds have hardly dipped below 20 knots for what seems like months, usually being in the 20 - 30 knot range with higher gusts in squalls. Usually by February these "Christmas Winds" decrease and settle into an easterly direction with fewer days including a northerly component, thus making the northbound sailing angle much better. Until that happens, we find ourselves shortening sail, clamping on our safety harnesses, and timing our passages for the least worst conditions. We are told that this year's weather and wind has been much harsher than usual….