A Cruiser’s Musings on Wind

There are two kinds of wind. The wind you want and the wind you don’t want.

We’ve been in Green Turtle Cay’s Black Sound for a week. We snuck in here to escape wind we didn’t want (30-40 knots) as a result of another winter cold front. We’re glad we did because it’s blowing outside as I (Steve) write. Haven’t seen much rain, but clouds dominate the sky most of each day. The good news is that the temps are in the mid 70s. Bad news is it’s blowing so hard and steady, it’s just not pleasant on deck – especially if you get wet.

To cruisers, the wind is a double edged sword. There are advantages to steady trades and gusty accompaniment … some being:

– When blowing in the right direction – it’s a great sail to where you want to go.
– When blowing (period), it drys laundry in minutes!
– Airing out the cabins is a breeze.
– Flies and no-see-ums can’t hang out with you.
– Gus hair is less prominent on our white decks…yes, the “boat dog” sheds a bit.
– Other cruisers tend to anchor a bit farther away (in bigger wind) – giving you more privacy and swing room.
– Winds (and high pressure gradients) often blow the clouds away revealing the sun.

Some disadvantages include:

– When blowing in the wrong direction – you’re stuck until it changes.
– You can’t hear (on deck) with 25+ knot winds rattling your ears.
– The dinghy ride to town is often a wet experience and tying it up at the dock is more of a challenge.
– The bottom is less visible with surface disturbance.
– If it’s not tied down…you may lose it (fill in the blank).
– Gus doesn’t always hit the pee pad (on deck) since he hasn’t quite grasped the concept of not pissing into the wind!
– Less people answer the radio since they are more likely hunkered down below decks.
– It’s noisy at night when trying to sleep-it doesn’t matter how tight your running rigging is…something’s gonna slap in 25+ knots.
– Chafe is more likely to happen on your rigging and gear. We sawed through our mooring line the other day (chafe) in 28 knots…if not for the redundant secondary, we’d have been set adrift and blown into our neighbor and then aground!
– Opposing wind and current at anchor make the boat float in funny directions…you could be stern to the wind with the anchor rode under the keel!

All of the above being said…our cruising adventure is a blessing. The wind is the tool that got us here. There are certainly inconveniences … like our attempt to dinghy ashore yesterday in 28 knots that resulted in an aborted event when we got soaked by water washing up over the bow in a gust. You get used to a new normal in areas where the trades blow…embrace the wind as a phenom of change.

– When the wind changes-go someplace new,
– When it pipes up – get off the water (ashore) and do something different.
– When it calms – enjoy the water (snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, swimming).

Mother Nature has a rhythm you can feel – and she will tell you in sudden as well as subtle ways what’s coming next. Learn to read the signs, or connect with someone who speaks her language (like Chris Parker), and make the best of what’s next!


Stay Tuned!