Friday, January 13, 2012

Atlantic passage summary: the weather

It was not like we expected – we've been sailing in Caribbeans for several times now during six years now and we thought we knew how the weather in the trade winds zone looks like. We were expecting more days with nice sunny weather and wind about 20 knots. Of course we knew there would be some rain and storms occasionally and some calms with not enough wind. What we got was a very adrenalin sailing from Canary island almost down to Cap Verdes, then couple of days of “normal” weather, then lots of wind and waves again. We got wind up to 30 knots, high waves and much more rain than we wanted. Then couple days before Antigua wind died, waves also, then wind started to blow from west. We certainly didn't expect that. And the last couple of days the wind was again over 25 knots, waves high and there was plenty of rain. It was like traveling from one bad weather front to another with two short breaks. Even arrival in Antigua was stormy, just as we were preparing to throw the anchor, rain came down with full force. I heard a lot like how this passage was an easy one and how getting to Canary islands could be tricky and that getting back from Caribbeans is hard. Our passage from Portugal to Canary island was really easy, but for now i have no desire to try the passage back to Europe very soon. So we are staying here until we get tired of it.

After a week on the passage we were able to tell which clouds are coming our way and do they carry rain or not. Radar was a big help, it showed the rain quite clearly, if there was enough of it. So sometimes we were able to maneuver to avoid the rain. We also learned a lot from a great book – The RYA Weather book.

This is how rain looked coming towards us ...
.... and so it looked on the radar.

This is the latest in "Atlantic passage" hairdos: the form is kept by 30+ knots of wind and sleek and shiny look is result of frequent rain showers .... forget the 3-weather Taft

 This was on "good weather" day .... still it could be called "extreme washing"

 As already said, the waves don't photograph well - this doesn't look as wild as it really was

 On a day with no wind the big Atlantic roller waves were still rocking and rolling the boat

 This photo was taken after the passage on our way from Low bay to Coco point, both on Barbuda. Believe it or not, we were able to keep sailing east through the crack in the clouds (in the middle of the photo) and hardly got any rain at all.

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