Thursday, 7 April 2016

Dominica to Guadeloupe

Hi everyone,
This morning we sailed from Portmouth in Dominica to the island of Terre de Haut in Les Saintes, Guadeloupe.  We logged 25nm in 4.75hours.  We're now all cleared-in and enjoying a quiet afternoon under an overcast sky.

We departed Portsmouth at 0630 in almost calm conditions.  Once we cleared Prince Rupert Bay we found a nice NE breeze.  There was a large area of very grey cloud to windward, in a line N-S between Guadeloupe and Dominica.  We sailed along its leeward side, enjoying the nice NE breeze it created.  Here are the usual plots...

Zen Again Track
Our track is interesting since we held the same heading almost all the way across the channel.  Our course over the ground varied hugely with the current.  Across the channel the current was from ESE to WNW.  The screenshot below shows us heading about 350T (shown by the small red circle on the larger red circle) and tracking about 330T (the long dashed line).
Heading versus Course Over Ground - 30 degree difference
The wind varied from 15 to 25 knots and we set between one reef with one furl to two reefs with three furls.  We were very close to close-hauled, what I'd call "full & bye".  Just cracked off a touch to keep the boat powering through the waves.  We kept up a pretty good speed...

Zen Again Speed over Ground
As we closed Les Saintes the current swung more to the N which slowed us down but allowed us to lay well E of Roche Percees, the eastern cape of Les Saintes.  By then the cloud bank had moved overhead and we had steady light rain.  Once around the cape we could bear away and run down into the anchorage at Terre de Haut.

Arrival Track
Overall it was a great sail.  A bit grey overhead but it was fun to keep the boat tramping along to windward in varying conditions.
Cloud bank over N of Dominca on departure
Cracking sail towards Les Saintes
Approaching Grosse Pointe and Roche Percees
After a quick tidy up of the boat we dinghied ashore to clear in.  Unfortunately the customs agent had just closed for a 2 hour lunch so we had lunch ourselves and did a quick recce of the town.  It's a pretty little place, obviously very tourism-oriented but nicely done.  It has a nice church and town hall.


Town Hall
Pedestrian Mall Shops
The "White Ship" House
We returned to Zen Again for a while to finish tidying up.  I replaced one of our gas detector system sensors which I killed with fly spray a few days ago.  I had "hot wired" the system initially until I could dig out one of our two spares.  I need to be more careful with those toxic sprays!

A brief trip ashore again got us cleared-in (and out), and the mooring paid for.  A total of 22 Euros for  clearance and two days on the mooring.

Last night we had a sundowner aboard with Pieter and Monique of Dutch sv Deesse, and Pieter's visiting sister Mika.  It was great to spend some time with them after speaking on the radio so often.

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