RoRC Report - The Caribbean

From the Caribbean to the UK - weather notwithstanding.

By RoRCs Simon and Hilda Julien - 19/04/2018

Our winter Caribbean cruising season is over and we are writing this while skiing in the French Alps! This year we cruised slowly south from Antigua to Grenada, often in welcome company, where we laid up Brisa ashore in Clarkes Court Boatyard. Now we have to prepare our venerable Calisto for launching in Plymouth, UK.

It has been a very different season in the Caribbean. Winds, always fairly strong, were considerably enhanced this year possibly as a result of the La Niña period. This resulted in infrequent & short lighter weather windows interspersed between the extended periods of strong winds. Being forced to hunker down very close in at Bequia with 40 +knots for several days was unexpected. The result of this was more static time and less opportunity to explore the more exposed locations. On the plus side this meant that in almost every anchorage we like others elsewhere had more time to meet with OCC members and enjoy a broad range of social activities. And despite very difficult propagation conditions, over 90 vessels checked in during the season on the morning OCC HF net - possibly a record - and this greatly facilitated the arrangement of the customary ad hoc beach bbqs, sundowners, hikes, lunches and dinners which we all so much enjoy. A multinational group of net hosts (& others providing relays) did a great job in keeping us all in radio then physical contact.

Another strange feature was the massive amount of rain we had to contend with. In four months (without a water maker) we had only to take on a few gallons from ashore so reliable was our water supply from above!

The efforts made by many OCC members to provide practical assistance in Dominica have been reported elsewhere but we were gratified at the effectiveness of efforts by many OCC members to ensure visitor numbers were maintained or even increased. It was evident that the number of cruisers and chartered boats generally in the more southern islands was well up as a result of the havoc wrought in the Virgin Islands. Grenada we found was very busy for similar reasons and those that had not made early boatyard bookings were having difficulty finding a place.

Adding to this problem many marine Insurers seemingly intent on recovering their massive post hurricane losses in the shortest possible time have evidently imposed more conditions and extra costs. Reportedly one Antigua yard faced with a loss of clients following a failure to get adequate insurance coverage has even indicated they would accept boats with no insurance - this of course has massive implications for adjacent boats should there be another hurricane hit. A number of changes in insurance requirements will force many to review their plans.


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