The jump off the East Coast U.S from the Gulf Stream and through the islands of the Bahamas are good training grounds for the trade winds. The Bahamas gets you 3 days of calm and then 4 days of 20 to 25 knt winds with the wind clocking like, well... clockwork. "Head south young man", says a voice in my head! We'll enjoy 20 to 25 knts every day and then as we do our "easting" through the northern part of the Caribbean, we'll really know we're sailing. We've graduated to Trade Winds sailing.
If getting bored with monotonous easterlies, we can spice up our lives with some "cape effect" sailing, providing an opportunity to drop into the washing machine. Waves bob and skip as the wind tries to counter all tacking efforts to make forward progress towards the next island. The wind will persist in all directions to land straight on our nose. Then to top it all off, why not throw in a little treat for young players; an early morning squall with a 30 knot gust or two. What we wouldn't do for a wind-less day.
So what is there to like about the Trades?
- Mosquitoes get blown all the way to Mexico.
- After a day in the sun the gentle gale blowing across the deck helps soothe the sunburn.
- The wind chop gently rocks you into an afternoon siesta and suddenly builds to wake you for dinner.
- The bbq grill stays clean due to the fact the wind blows out the flame before you get a chance to land the chops.
- The wind generator keeps those batteries topped up.
- You can hone your sailing techniques by tacking endlessly to windward.
- Wind and waves create humorours moments getting on and off the dinghy.
- Guaranteed dinghy butt (as in wet duds) with every outing - the signature of a real cruiser.