To Martinique

A big day. We planned to cross the channel to Dominica, pass it, cross to Martinique, and head most of the way down it to our anchorage in Point du Marin in the South of Martinique.

That would be 110nm, almost twice the length of yesterday's passage. The previous owners claimed the yacht could make 200nm / day passages, but that means maintaining a 8.3kts average over 24hrs, we've been averaging about 7kts (and not sailing 24hr/day).

Got up at 4am, to be able to get going around first light. Got the sails up on 2nd reef again (maybe wiser sailors would have used the 3rd reef), and headed down across the channel, past Iles des Saintes towards Dominica.


We used the staysail a little more than yesterday, it was great for the channels between islands where the wind pumped. The seas were big, and winds strong, but we got across in a couple of hours, and started down behind Dominica. It was shrouded in rain-clouds, but thankfully no fishing buoys. The glimpses we did get were beautiful, we'll have to come back. Lush forests, and not very built up.


The wind shadow wasn't too bad, we did have to motor-sail a bit, but got wind most of the way down. The cruising guide warned about strong gusts at Scott's Head on the Southern end of the Island. The warnings were absolutely correct, went from being almost totally becalmed to wanting to reef our staysail a bit, because we were being overpowered by the wind.


Crossing the Martinique Channel to Martinique was a fairly brutal 3hr upwind pounding, into wind and big waves. We made about 7kts, but it was a struggle. The decks were constantly awash, and we had many waves breaking over the entire length of the boat. The dorades (air vents that don't let water in, pioneered by Dorade) were overwhelmed by some of these waves, and my bed got a good salt-water sprinkling. 3rd reef probably would have been better, but it was too late to take it in, and we seemed to be doing OK, so we stuck with it.

Our quarantine flag was still up from the night before, and the winds on the crossings shredded the edge of it. Not really made to be flown under way...


Finally, we got behind the shelter of Martinique's volcano, Mount Pelée. First a more leisurely sail, and then becalmed by the rest of the island's wind-shade. Motored-sailed down through this, but the motor started getting quite a bit of vibration to it, something wobbling on the drive-shaft, by the feel of it. John had a peek down under the stern, to see if we'd caught a fishing buoy line, but it looked clean. We'll have to have a proper look, and maybe get a mechanic out, in Martinique.


It was becoming obvious that we couldn't get down to Point du Marin, by sun-down, so we re-routed to Fort de France, half-way down the island. Got a nice bit of wind as we came up to it, a good last sail of the day.

With 97nm track miles for the day, it was tempting to sail a few more tacks to cross the 100 mark, but we were tired and wanted to get anchored while there was still good light. 100nm can wait for another day.

Anchored in front of the Fort, and got a swim in before the sun went down.


Martinique is very built-up, compared to the islands we've been on. It's quite a culture-shock after a week on Barbuda. But, very relieved to be able to take a day off, after some hard days sailing.

Time on the water: 13:20
Distance covered: 97.6nm
Avg speed: 7.1kts
Max speed: 11.4kts

Navionics Track


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