I asked WRI's Jeremy Davis to elaborate on 1). how the storm formed; 2). what makes a system 'tropical' anyway, especially these that form outside the actual tropics; 3). could this have been 'missed' in the past prior to the high-resolution imagery weather forecasters have now; 4). how rare it actual is; and 5). if this means we're setting up for a busy hurricane year. Jeremy's discussion follows:
The last Caribbean trip for a while and it is a bit bittersweet! Crew joined us up in Trellis Bay, BVI and the plan to stay there for the night changed quickly. The wind swung us around a bit too close to a nearby boat and since we had to re-anchor anyway, we decided to head over to Spanish Town straight away where we had to clear out of custom before departing the BVI.
...Sideways to the wind, the mainsheet is at the knot. With wind in the sail, we start to accelerate. I think we can thread through the first two moored boats, then jibe and slide out into the channel. Just beyond though lies the inner reef, in the center of the mooring field, right where we’re pointed...
Photo by crewmember Nick W., taken from the masthead!
“You know, most people don’t love ocean sailing anyway. It’s something you endure to get to where you’re going.”
Sometimes. But sometimes it’s the entire reason you go from A to B - to experience the highs and lows, the joy and anguish of sailing over the horizon and into that ocean wilderness. I actually do love it.
Today is ‘Day 0’ of our final Caribbean passage for almost two years, until our return in 2019. Isbjorn is bound for the Grenadines for the second time in 2017, a change in our original schedule, which had us going back to St. Barth’s and on to Dominica. Why the change? Because the sailing passages will be longer, and having been once in the Grenadines already this year, we felt compelled to return. They are a neat place.
The fastest trip so far on Isbjorn! Our intern Liz joined us a few days early in Grenada and helped us prep the boat for departure. Crew Todd, Reed, Harry & Leon met up with us in Prickly Bay, Grenada and we spent the first day and night on anchor planning the trip and geting to know Isbjorn. The diesel tank needed to be topped up but the the fuel truck was late so we headed up to St. Georges and filled up before setting sails to St. Croix.
Weather was excellent, with 15 -20 kt on the beam making close to 400 nm in 48 hrs! First 200 nm day for Isbjorn! The trip was full of surprises, started with a birthday cake for Todd who celebrated his 50th onboard!
Prickly Bay is wonderful. It’s huge, fringed by reefs around it’s edges and filled with a myriad of cruising boats of all types, from the two-masted steel schooner behind us, to the tiny European 26-footer we saw in at the dock. Beautiful houses with immaculate gardens surround the waterfront, and postcard-worthy palm-fringed beaches beckon just off the bow. A catamaran anchored near us has a rather noisy chocolate lab onboard who has a real disdain for passing dinghies - he sounds the alarm anytime someone moseys past within a few hundred yards. Mia thinks he is annoying. I think he’s cool.
It’s been a long time! Andy and I were first in Bequia and to the Grenadines in 2009 during our trip on Broadreach. We sailed a 50’ Beneteau with 11 teenagers, a month long sailtraining camp starting in St. Martin and finishing in Trinidad. We truly fell in love with the smaller islands in the southern Caribbean, but since then I have not been south of St. Lucia. It was about time!
Welp, we did it! Isbjorn, finally, and one year later, completed the brutal and exciting RORC Caribbean 600 race in Antigua! If we took it for granted and failed in 2016, we had nothing of the sort in 2017, and showed up more prepared, more rested and better equipped than the year before by a long shot.