June 26, 2010... Landfall, St. Kittts

Friday morning we left Saltpond Bay to begin the 140-mile passage south. We expected a moderate 13-18 knot ENE wind and seas of 4-5 ft. for the initial part of the journey from St. John SE past St. Croix, then slightly higher seas in the Anegada Passage. Our plan was to make as much south as possible, then wait for the weaker SE winds from the backside of the NW-moving tropical wave to make the turn east to St. Kitts. OK, so we made a few assumptions. First, that the weather service forecast was accurate. Then, that we would miss most of the 'bad parts' of the tropical wave (which we had heard only involves a windshift anyway.)
So, first the good news: we sailed (not motorsailed, but actually sailed) all day Friday and into the night to Saturday. The not so good news: we had rain, thunderstorms, lightening, up to 30 knot winds in squalls, and tremendous waves. We were no sooner out of Saltpond when the wind was up to 20 knots and we were galloping through huge crested seas. Hanging on to the boat as best we could we set the main and jib and they stayed set all day. As the winds increased and the helm got harder to hold, we eased the main so that we could stand up straight. We reefed. Still it didn't prepare us for the lashing we took in the squalls as the waves came over the side and into the cockpit and the kayak decided to take a walk down the sidedeck. All day, all night. We were so wet, our fingers pruny, we began to wonder if it would ever end. But morning did come on Saturday, the winds died down and the sea was calm, and miraculously, the sun shone! (Though we did get a few more squalls on Saturday...) We motorsailed into St. Kitts and couldn't believe we were in the same sea we had been in the day before. Welcoming us was a fabulous red sunset that highlighted the towering clouds that hung on the mountains. Anchoring in Ballast Bay, we celebrated, we made it!

Ballast Bay, St. Kitts: +17° 14' 22.44", -62° 39' 36.66"

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