It's Too Windy. Can I Have a Refund?

I was in St. Thomas the last week of March on a press trip organized around the annual International Rolex Regatta. The welcome party at the St. Thomas Yacht Club welcomed not only the racers, but gusty winds accompanied by rainsqualls. By the next day, when we press people were out on a spectator boat watching the downwind start of the first race, it was threatening to blow the hair off the
Author:
Updated:
Original:
SAIP-080600-SAWAY-02

I was in St. Thomas the last week of March on a press trip organized around the annual International Rolex Regatta. The welcome party at the St. Thomas Yacht Club welcomed not only the racers, but gusty winds accompanied by rainsqualls. By the next day, when we press people were out on a spectator boat watching the downwind start of the first race, it was threatening to blow the hair off the dog. Twenty-plus knots sustained, I learned later, gusting into the 30s. The system, the result of stationary highs, lasted through the next week and hit most of the Caribbean, and by April 10, when I picked up a NWS forecast, it was gone.

Of all the places in the world where you might charter, the Caribbean is the one where it pays to bet on the averages. The trade winds always come from the east, slightly north of east in winter, when 17 to 21 knots is normal, and south of east and lighter in late spring and summer. The "Christmas winds" of December and January are stronger, up to 25 to 30 knots.

Yes, said John Jacob, of CYOA Yacht Charters, in St. Thomas, we've had charterers asking for a refund because there was no wind or too much wind. Although this year's experience was unusual, you should be prepared for anything—just as you would if you were sailing at home.

Every CYOA client takes a pre-charter sail with a CYOA crew for both familiarization and evaluation. The crew, who keeps up with the latest weather developments, will put in as many reefs as he or she thinks will be needed before leaving the dock. Jacob says that monohull sailors especially are often unaware that cats need to be reefed very early and require judicious use of the traveler.

CYOA encourages charterers to phone in with any concerns. "The charter company is your resident expert," Jacob says. "That's what we're here for." If the wind is rising past your comfort zone, you can call for weather updates as well as suggestions for anchorages that will be sheltered in the day's conditions. And, if your crew is threatening mutiny, you can check in with the base and get an escort.

Unexpected weather conditions on a charter can be disappointing, but unless there's an actual hurricane nearby, it's rarely a reason to throw in the towel. Instead, use the towel to dry off—swim, go ashore, take an island tour, go for a hike—there's always plenty to do and much to enjoy.

Related

pic00

Installing a Helm Pod

Our 1987 Pearson project boat came with an elderly but functioning Raymarine chartplotter, located belowdecks at the nav station. Since I usually sail solo or doublehanded, it was of little use down there—it needed to be near the helm. When I decided to update the plotter along ...read more

Panamerican

Pan American Game Success

Team USA’s young sailors went to the quadrennial Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru this summer with high hopes, and returned with a good haul of medals—two Golds, three Silvers, and two Bronze. Gold medals went to Ernesto Rodriguez and Hallie Schiffman (Mixed Snipe) and Riley ...read more

190916-AC75

U.S. Team Launches First America’s Cup Boat

Fast forward to around 2:25 to see the boat in action. First day out and already doing full-foiling gybes: not too shabby! Hard on the heels of the unveiling of New Zealand’s first AC75, the New York Yacht Club’s American Magic team has now launched its first America’s Cup ...read more

GGTobCaysHorseshoeColors

Picking a Charter Destination

Picking a destination should reflect the interests of your group, says People often ask about my favorite charter destination, and invariably, I sidestep the question with one of my own: “Well, what do you want to do on your vacation?” Most often I hear an incredulous, “Why, ...read more

sinking

Waterlines: Chasing Leaks on Boats

Chasing leaks on boats is a time-honored obsession. Rule number one in all galaxies of the nautical universe through all of nautical history has always been the same: keep the water on the outside. When water somehow finds its way inside and you don’t know where it’s coming ...read more

BestBoatNominees2020-Promo

Best Boats Nominees 2020

Bring on the monohulls! In a world increasingly given over to multihull sailing, SAIL magazine’s “Best Boats” class of 2020 brings with it a strong new group of keelboats, including everything from luxury cruisers nipping at the heels of their mega-yacht brethren to a number of ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Relieve the load  One of the ancient arts of the sailor is setting up a “stopper” to relieve a loaded rope without letting anything go. The classic use for a stopper is to take the weight off the genoa ...read more

05

Ask Sail: Water Getting into Coax

Q: While inspecting behind the nav station for my spring cleaning, I discovered water behind my chartplotter and VHF radio stack. Freshwater to boot! Do electronics leak? I didn’t think so. — Everette Gracy, Norton Shores, MI Gordan West Replies  Last winter your region was ...read more