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Old 03-07-2017, 05:43 AM   #1
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Seakeeping requirements - Eastern Caribbean

When we discuss what types of boats are found in the Eastern Caribbean and why, the sea states are an important consideration.

Currently, most/many boaters here are waiting for a weather window. Mid - March is when many of the Eastern Caribbean boats start returning to wherever they haul out or store for the hurricane season.

Currently we are in a period of high winds and thus high waves (average 9- 10 feet). Since the wind and waves are generally from the east and travel is north and south this means waves on the beam. The typical higher than average waves and the shelves surrounding each island mean a jump up in wave height of 50%.

Many of us are looking at a short weather window next Monday (six days away) when the waves are predicted to drop to six feet for a day. After that it is another week for the same six foot average height. Six feet is doable, we have done that a number of times in a trip from Martinique to St. Lucia. However, the area of the shelf off of St. Lucia is rough as the depth drops to 150 feet and the waves mount and are confused.

A Krogen 42 with full displacement and hydraulic stabilizers is a good boat for these conditions but it is still not pleasant. A friend just came from St. Lucia in a high speed ferry (80 -100 feet) in these conditions and was affected and he was/is an ocean racer.
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Old 03-07-2017, 05:52 AM   #2
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I feel for you...


In general, I think many dreamers tend to downplay transiting to the Eastern Caribbean Islands..... even the trades make smaller power boat travel less than idyllic.

We have had a 20-30 knot blow here in the keys for the last 4 days....slowed a lot of people from moving around.
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Old 03-07-2017, 05:58 AM   #3
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If you could, when you go next week, how about shooting some video to give people an idea of what cruising in these conditions is like.

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Old 03-07-2017, 06:13 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
If you could, when you go next week, how about shooting some video to give people an idea of what cruising in these conditions is like.

Ted
Would like to see that action also.
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Old 03-07-2017, 06:42 AM   #5
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Will see if I can do a video.
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Old 03-07-2017, 07:02 AM   #6
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Seakeeping requirements - Eastern Caribbean

What's the wave period? I assume you are talking short period wind-driven waves. Short period 6' waves on the beam on my boat would be seriously unpleasant, possibly dangerous with all the crap flying around.
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Old 03-07-2017, 07:22 AM   #7
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What's the wave period? I assume you are talking short period wind-driven waves. Short period 6' waves on the beam on my boat would be seriously unpleasant, possible dangerous with all the crap flying around.
Eight to nine seconds.
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Old 03-07-2017, 08:13 AM   #8
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Seakeeping requirements - Eastern Caribbean

Oh. That's a longer period than I was imagining.

I would also like to see a video so I can wrap my head around it. Photos never give me a good idea of wave heights, but maybe a video of the waves and the boat's action would be helpful.
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Old 03-07-2017, 10:13 AM   #9
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Could you give an estimate of the percent of boats that haul for hurricane season?
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Old 03-07-2017, 12:02 PM   #10
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I feel for you...


In general, I think many dreamers tend to downplay transiting to the Eastern Caribbean Islands..... even the trades make smaller power boat travel less than idyllic.

We have had a 20-30 knot blow here in the keys for the last 4 days....slowed a lot of people from moving around.
that's the same system affecting the bahamas blowing north then east 20kt+ in since friday.. looks to be easing off in two days. I was able to motor into the wind inside the barrier islands (sea of abaco) but unpleasant at times near the cuts with perpendicular swell hitting the chop.

menzies turned me on to this site Sailing Weather - Marine Weather Forecasts for Sailors and Adventurers - PassageWeather I think its the same model that windy.tv uses.
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Old 03-07-2017, 12:20 PM   #11
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We came home last week after six weeks in the Eastern Caribbean. Our last couple of weeks there, conditions were rough to the East of all the islands but ok inside or to the west. However, as we were leaving, we saw it starting to sneak in and two days later the route we took home wouldn't have been as calm as it was. Right now everything there is between 9' at 8 seconds and 13' at 9 seconds. This system followed us home too with 8-10' off Fort Lauderdale and, even today, it's still 7' at 7 seconds. Tomorrow it starts to clear here, but still some lag in the Caribbean.

The current Eastern Caribbean sea states have nearly all recreational boats waiting. To me the big difference between the Caribbean and perhaps the East Coast is that there is no ICW to duck into. If you're going to cruise offshore you need to always be aware of conditions and forecasts but also have a boat that can handle some unexpected sea states safely, even if not comfortably.
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Old 03-07-2017, 04:30 PM   #12
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Could you give an estimate of the percent of boats that haul for hurricane season?
Simple answer 50%.
Complex answer. Several types of owners. Non French cruisers with a land base, 85% haul out. 10% store in water. The 30% of cruisers without a land base generally stay in water but head south to Grenada or Trinidad. Trinidad is below the hurricane zone and Grenada is 86 nm from Trinidad. A few stay slightly north in Bequia or the Grenadines, maybe 150 nm north of Trinidad.

There are hundreds of French boats which stay anchored or are on a mooring ball unoccupied for major parts of the year including the hurricane season. Basically their boats are kept in Martinique and the owner flies down from mainland France whenever he wants to use the boat. Martinique to the French, Belge and western Germans is similar to what Florida is to Americans and Canadians.
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Old 03-08-2017, 03:22 PM   #13
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I am sitting at Flying Fish Marina, Clarence Town, East Side of Long Island, Bahamas. Traveling south this is the first taste of the conditions you describe.

I can tell you in no uncertain terms that a 36 ft Marine Trader without stabilizers is NOT the correct boat for this part of the world. It is as far south as I will go this year.

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Old 03-08-2017, 09:03 PM   #14
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I am sitting at Flying Fish Marina, Clarence Town, East Side of Long Island, Bahamas. Traveling south this is the first taste of the conditions you describe.

I can tell you in no uncertain terms that a 36 ft Marine Trader without stabilizers is NOT the correct boat for this part of the world. It is as far south as I will go this year.

Arch
I can tell you a 36 ft Marine Trader without stabilizers has NOT been the correct boat for the east coast of FL this past week either. That doesn't mean it's not worthy, just means not the conditions to take one out. As to further south from Clarence Town, it is a questionable journey simply because the distances between shelter get further apart.
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Old 03-09-2017, 12:05 PM   #15
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I have a 36ft Marine Trader and am currently planning a 6 week trip. I did it in a 24ft. Sea Ray and it was like riding a jet ski. Not a lot of fun, but got the job done. Just have to plan it right.
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Old 03-09-2017, 12:10 PM   #16
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I have a 36ft Marine Trader and am currently planning a 6 week trip. I did it in a 24ft. Sea Ray and it was like riding a jet ski. Not a lot of fun, but got the job done. Just have to plan it right.
Wifey B: Hope you get to make your trip soon and I know you'll have a super duper blast. Plenty of people playing around the Bahamas in 17' fishing boats. It's like anywhere else, time and place.
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Old 03-09-2017, 12:42 PM   #17
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A little clarification. I love my Marine Trader! KaJen has carried me over 17,000 miles over the last four years. That includes the Great Loop, a summer on the Chesapeake, several trips up and down the ICW, and this, my fourth winter in the Bahamas.

My earlier post was meant to indicate my lack of willingness to be beaten up and the difficulty of traveling longer open sea passages in the trade winds with the accompanying large seas.

The Marine Trader is, in my opinion, a superb coastal cruiser and perhaps in the hands of someone willing to submit themselves and the boat to rough water punishment, a very good Caribbean boat.

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