From the Sailing Blog of S/V Island Spirit
“July 2nd, 2022, Our wonderful winter cruising adventure concluded when we sailed into Rock Hall, Maryland, our home port since 1991. We both agree the sail home from the Caribbean took much longer than first expected. We departed USVI on April 2, 2022, and we arrived at our home dock on May 31, 2022. A total trip of 3,319 nautical miles was traveled this season, including Puerto Rico to Antigua. The total NM sailed from St. Thomas USVI to Rock Hall, MD was 2,410! We both agree the sailing was fantastic departing the Caribbean. With an approximate course of 300 degrees and with the Tradewinds blowing from 090, that makes the wind 150 degrees off our starboard bow for a broad reach all the way home. Well, at least it is a reach from the Virgin Islands to The Exumas in the Bahamas!
Once we sailed north of the Bahamas, we began to get into the coastal frontal winds coming off the USA east coast. These frontal winds pull the trades south or southwest and then the front blows in with northwest and north and northeast winds making for a challenge to plan passages north. We easily sailed 3 days out of Puerto Rico to reach the Bahamas, and then we sailed easily northwest thru the Exumas, but once we reached the Nassau, Bahamas area, we were firmly controlled by these coastal weather patterns. These delayed us a month on our way from Florida north to the Chesapeake Bay. Many cruisers ahead of us were “stuck” for weeks waiting for weather windows to simply move a day or two up the coast or even in the ICW, Intracoastal Waterway.
Highlights of the Season
As I reflect back on the season past, I have many fond memories and images in my mind: the Southern Cross constellation rising over Antigua as seen from the blackness of Barbuda at 3 am. Code zero sailing and reaching downwind for many, many miles under autopilot vane steering. Coffee shops of French St, Martin. Sunsets over St. Thomas as seen from St. John. Happy hours at the rebuilt Saba Rock. Watching the sunset while anchored off St. Barts. Day after day of beam reaching for the Bahamas at hull speed 7.0 knots+ and discovering the beauty of Conception Island with great buddy boat IP370 SEA LYON. This winter and spring were pure joy and a wonderful escape from the hibernation of Covid. We really enjoyed this sailing season!
The Decision to Sail Back
This photo says it all. As we set sail out of St. Martin with the sun setting on the French harbor of Marigot, Radeen and I decided that it is all simply too beautiful to sail out and head home with the thoughts of never coming back. So this photo was taken the moment we both agreed to sail back next season because this is just too beautiful not to. We have fallen in LOVE with the Caribbean Islands of USVI, St. Martin, St. Maarten, Antigua and Barbuda, and Martinique. We must return, so that is our plan. The boat is in our home port, where we will refit all systems for maintenance and upgrades. We will sail right back to the Caribbean Sea ASAP in the late fall of 2022. This is why we have the boat we have, she is meant to sail, and Island Spirit loves to sail the ocean. She will take us there!