Winds were howling after we left Sainte-Pierre and got out of the shelter of the large volcano and into the open ocean passage north of Martinique. When it was time for us to sail north to Dominica, we knew to expect big seas and big winds. All our weather resources like Chris Parker, PassageWeather, grib files and PredictWind, said the passage from Martinique to Dominica would be “spirited sailing” and it was! We had steady winds over 30 knots, with gusts to almost 43, courtesy of the squalls in the open ocean between the two islands. We listened to a lot of Neil Young as we sailed and loved the energy of the passage.
The squalls whipped the seas into a frenzied state. The rain came down in sheets and we had moderately high waves with breaking crests forming spindrift. Occasionally, we had waves that crashed over the top of the boat and a number of times our sturdy windshield took heavy spray, but did its job well and kept us dry and cozy in our cockpit. We saw well-marked streaks of foam blowing over the water and there was considerable airborne spray. Even if our wind anemometer hadn’t registered over 42 knots, that would have told us we were experiencing a “fresh gale’ and a solid 8 on the Beaufort Scale during the squalls. I hope our video will give you a sense of what it was like to sail in these conditions. We had a great time!