The challenges we face once underway never cease to amaze me. Sailing back from Union Island to Grenada via Carriacou (to check into Grenadian waters) we decided that the windward side of the island would be our route. We plotted our course in 15-20 knot winds to take us to the East of the islands called Les Tantes past Bird Island, and on down the East coast of Grenada, rounding the southern tip to do the final short hop into St David's Bay where we are now.
We knew the seas would kick up around Kick 'em Jenny the underwater volcano, but we didn't fully account for Kick 'em Jack adding to Jenny's maelstrom. Consequently, we found ourselves dodging and weaving through very rough waters which felt a bit like we were inside a washing machine until we had fully cleared the passage between Les Tantes and Grenada.
Should we have turned away from the seas and made for the relative calm of the leeward side of the island? No. To do that we would have exposed our stern to the savagery of the waves and we would surely have been swamped. The only option was to keep the pounding waves about 60 degrees off the bow and continue as quickly and as safely as we could, riding each wave as they attempted to twist and turn us every which way.
Once past the hairy bit, the seas calmed down by comparison and even though we still had 15 foot waves to contend with they seemed like chickenfeed. We still averaged close to 7 knots with the Jib out and 2 reefs in the mainsail. Not bad considering. The upside of handling all this bad weather is that we have both honed our sailing skills immensely. It would however be nice to have some calmer weather to look forward to!