Marine Industries Association of St. Lucia
[St. Lucia Info] [Sailing Conditions]
Sailing Conditions Around St. Lucia.
The Caribbean island chain sweeps in a huge arc from Florida in the north-west to the north-east tip of South America, between 30deg and 10deg. Latitude. The islands separate the Atlantic Ocean with its pounding swells breaking on their Eastern coasts and the Caribbean Sea which borders the Leeward sides where there are a myriad of beaches and tranquil anchorages. Castries Harbour in St. Lucia is one of the best natural harbours in the Caribbean.
The chain of islands is divided into groups: The Bahamas, Greater and Lesser Antilles, the latter being the Leeward and Windward Islands; St Lucia is one of the most easterly of the Windward Islands. The British chose to name them Windward because to reach them from their larger colonial possessions it was necessary to beat to windward against the trade winds.
These Tradewinds, blowing from the east and northeast, provide some of the best sailing in the world. Cruising both north and south from St. Lucia is a mixture of boisterous sailing between the islands and frequent calmer spells in the lee of each island encountered enroute. It is almost possible to sail the full span of the Eastern Caribbean on daytime passages while spending each night in a comfortable anchorage.
St. Lucia is located in a perfect position for those crossing the Atlantic on the Tradewinds to make landfall prior to visiting either the well-known Grenadine Islands, exploring up to Antigua and the Virgin Islands, or even continuing West along the Venezuelan coast to Panama and the Pacific Ocean. This is a natural cross-routes location with sufficient support facilities and international connections to make an excellent choice for preparation of further cruising, changing crews and keeping a yacht conveniently for use on later visits from Europe or North America.
There are seasonal variations in the weather conditions. Most visitors are attracted by the Tropical conditions while their home country is in the winter season during December through April, and winds are usually reliable, quite strong and tend to be from the NE to East. There may be some influence from storm swells coming down onto the NW coasts, and this makes some anchorages rolly, but there are choices where yachts can avoid this situation. These months are dry and considered cooler than the rest of the year; cooler is a relative term as the average year round temperature is close to 30Deg C.
The balance of the year from May to November features a gradual increase in rainfall; generally rain is in short heavy downfalls with fine sunshine between and often at night; it is also warm rain and good for a pleasant, fresh shower.
There is an official Hurricane Season from June until November; however, the normal period for storm activity is August, September and October with a peak just before mid September. Even then there is a lot of good sailing weather.
There are no set rules for storms but St. Lucia at 14deg.N lies close to the lower latitude where the risks are considered less ( 12deg N) the average yacht can easily reach an alternative location 120NM south in 24 hours. In recent history there have been exceptions to the norm, as a result definite predictions are hard to make.
The sailing weather between any systems is normally dictated by a swing from NE to SE winds with each tropical wave passing. There are some periods of very light winds when the mid-Atlantic high pressure is not predominant.
One aspect of the "low season" is that the anchorages have many less yachts and often there is some where there is only a single yacht. The vegetation is lush green as soon as the first rains occur; making views of the coast and the high mountains a vivid picture from the deck of a yacht. In St. Lucia we call it, ”Simply, Beautiful".
[St. Lucia Info] [Sailing Conditions]
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