Great Inagua, Bahamas to Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
This is for our friends who are on kinda the same route as we just did.
The winds started out as forecasted Easterly in the mid to high 20’s with quartering seas on the bow of about about 1.3 to 1.5 meters. The ride was fun and we were making good time.
The Windward Passage was very busy with a constant flow of shipping traffic through the marked channel. We had to keep a good watch because there were many trees and other large debris floating in the water that we had to steer around. We even saw a small home made boat, with hand made sails that had about 10 people on it, floating by. With all the obstacles I am glad we did this part during daylight hours.
The forecast was for the winds to decrease and swing around from the South as we rounded the South Eastern tip of Cuba and made our turn to the West. At this point the winds completely died and we had to turn a motor on.
We encountered a major counter current of 1.5 to 2.5 knots for the entire 110 miles of the Southern coast of Cuba and could barely keep 4 knots SOG. This current did not seem to be dependent on tides and remained with us along the entire Southern coast; even when we were 12 miles off the coast passing by Guantanamo Bay. We anticipated a counter current and planned for only 5 knots along this stretch (22 hours), but it actually took us over 28 hours. Luckily, we originally thought we would arrive around 9-10am and not later in the afternoon because this extra time could have caused us a second night of sailing. So, others coming this way, plan accordingly.
The crossing from Great Inagua to Santiago de Cuba took us about 33 hours total. Now, it’s time to get checked into the country.