Log 5th May 2019 - "St Pierre, Martinique"

s/v Safena's blog
Simon Ashley
Sun 5 May 2019 13:14
Pos: 14, 43.9 N; 61, 10.86 W

We set sail from The Saintes just after 0600.  We decided to bypass Dominica this time and head straight for Martinique, a passage of some 76 miles.  It was windy and initially squally with a massive downpour as we set off!  The wind was 20-27kts mainly east but sometimes a little south of east. The sea state was moderate to rough and we did have a few waves over the bow!

The staysail has really come into its own and we have used it a lot.  We are learning that with strong wind forward of the beam we really to reef the mainsail right down. This provides stability with most power derived from the headsail.  With this set up we comfortably achieve speeds in excess of 8 kts.

The wind was patchy in the lee of Dominica but at times we achieved speeds of 9.5kts plus with full sail in flat water.

As we approached the north west coast of Martinique the wind increased to a steady 25kts plus!  In addition to an already very reefed main we now reefed the staysail and Safena was very manageable.  It is remarkable how quickly the wind and sea become calm once in the lee of the island!

We anchored at St. Pierre.  The bay is deep with a fairly narrow shelf on which to anchor.  Our initial attempt to anchor close to the town failed as we couldn’t really get close enough to anchor on a flattish sea bed.  We found more room in the south part of the bay at Anse Latouche and anchored her comfortably in about 7m.

After showering and then a sundowner aboard it was almost dark by the time we took the RIB with the intention of eating ashore.  We stopped at the Ferry Dock but as it was Sunday it seemed very quiet so we decided to return to Safena for an impromptu dinner aboard followed by cards and an early-fish night!