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JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell #82470
01/16/2016 02:15 PM
01/16/2016 02:15 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 479
Austin, TX
TackingAg Offline OP
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Someone recently posted their favorite and least favorite anchorages when a north swell in running. (Thank you!). But I'm still trying to best understand why Little Harbor is much better than Great Harbor - or simply why GH isn't a good option in north swells. Is it from the wave action back off STJ? If so, again why is LH positioned better than GH? Thank you!!


============

My list of best anchorages in north swell season:

1. Little Harbor Jost Van Dyke
2. Bight Norman Island
3. Sprat Bay Peter
4. South Shore of St. John
5. Anywhere in the North Sound
6. Soper's Hole
7. Nanny Cay (few moorings mostly slips)
8. Little Harbour Peter Island
9. Leinster Bay St. John
10. Trellis Bay

Not happy places for folks with sensitive crew:

1. Cane Garden Bay
2. Caneel Bay
3. Great Harbor JVD
4. White Bay JVD
5. Maho and Francis Bays St. John


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Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: TackingAg] #82471
01/16/2016 02:26 PM
01/16/2016 02:26 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 982
annap, MD/BVI-Nanny Cay
hallucination Offline
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annap, MD/BVI-Nanny Cay
Not happy places for folks with sensitive crew:????

rephrase:

Can be extremely dangerous and can lead to the total loss of yacht.

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: hallucination] #82472
01/16/2016 03:01 PM
01/16/2016 03:01 PM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 198
TN
msdj69 Offline
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TN
That's interesting. I've always heard Great Harbour was a kind respit from swells --- and a good alternative to White Bay. I'd love to hear other opinions on that.

Also, I would add Cooper Island to the "Danger" list.


Mike
Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: msdj69] #82473
01/16/2016 04:22 PM
01/16/2016 04:22 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 5,340
An island state of mind
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An island state of mind
We've never had a problem in Great Harbour in a North swell. Another good one is Diamond Cay on the east end of JVD.

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: TackingAg] #82474
01/16/2016 04:25 PM
01/16/2016 04:25 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,575
VI,PR,NY,AZ
sail445 Offline
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Caneel Bay is the only place on St John that's tolerable in a N swell.
Little Harbor on Peter Island and the Bight are ok in a NE swell but if it's anywhere near a NW then the te rocking and rolling

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: sail445] #82475
01/16/2016 07:15 PM
01/16/2016 07:15 PM
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 55
NC
GoneSailing Offline
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For what it is worth we have spent at least 20 nights in Great Harbor and I can't recall a problem with swells at all. Now pick up a ball near the ferry dock and you will do some rolling when the early one comes in.


Be Happy or Leave
Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: GoneSailing] #82476
01/16/2016 07:25 PM
01/16/2016 07:25 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 1,908
Ontario, Canada
warren460 Offline
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Ontario, Canada
Cooper gets uncomfortable for monos with a small swell.

In a large swell people will surf past your mooring in cgb


Warren
S/V Scuba Doo
Lagoon 450
Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: GoneSailing] #82477
01/16/2016 07:53 PM
01/16/2016 07:53 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,575
VI,PR,NY,AZ
sail445 Offline
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Great harbor JD is ok in a N swell

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: sail445] #82478
01/17/2016 04:03 AM
01/17/2016 04:03 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
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Charlotte, NC
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NCSailor Offline
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No problem in Great Harbour or Little Harbour from north swells. They don't face north.

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: NCSailor] #82479
01/17/2016 06:13 AM
01/17/2016 06:13 AM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 1,908
Ontario, Canada
warren460 Offline
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White bay does not face north either. I don't know if diffusion of the wave around the western point of JVD is the sole cause of the problem, or if something else is in play.


Warren
S/V Scuba Doo
Lagoon 450
Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: warren460] #82480
01/17/2016 07:42 AM
01/17/2016 07:42 AM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 10,962
Macon, Georgia
GlennA Offline
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Both White Bay and Great Harbor are exposed to the reflected swell coming off the line of cays north of St. Thomas but White Bay is more open and shallow than Great Harbor and what anchorage there is is narrow and close to the reef.


Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. - Mark Twain
Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: warren460] #82481
01/17/2016 08:34 AM
01/17/2016 08:34 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,211
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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Tacking I agree with everything except Maho, which is our go to place in a swell, totally protected. Caneel bay is horrible, you might need a lee cloth is a swell

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: tradewinds] #82482
01/17/2016 10:45 AM
01/17/2016 10:45 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 31
Virginia
JohnV Offline
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Virginia
I was in GH while Sandy was hitting NJ. While it may have been safe, we woke up rolling and the harbor was full of trash. Foxys pier is crooked because of those waves. Waves were breaking over the bridge in front of the cemetery and it was impossible to go to shore. It may have been an uncommon event but it showed what could happen.

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: JohnV] #82483
01/17/2016 12:18 PM
01/17/2016 12:18 PM
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Posts: 1,049
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StormJib Offline
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If there is sand on the beach either man with a barge and crane put it there or surf put it there. It is just a matter of time before those wind, waves, and surf come back. Swell and waves can come from any direction. It could be a nearby storm or one thousands of miles away. When you pick a place for the night you should always note the areas that are open to the sea and any wind, swell, or waves that can come from the directions you are unprotected. There are many places for the night better than Caneel Bay. There are resorts that offer visiting yachtsmen better services and location more protected with less traffic. Between the ferries and crowds why go to Caneel Bay for the night?

Over the next few days the VI should see a 90 degree swing in wave direction. It is hard to predict what hour of the night the wave action might switch this week.

[Linked Image]

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: StormJib] #82484
01/17/2016 12:36 PM
01/17/2016 12:36 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 44
Laserking Offline
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Stormjib,

How about Diamond Cay on a ball or anchored in a north swell? Usually try to spend one night anchored off Green Cay, but wouldn't want to try it in a swell. Any experience at DC?

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: Laserking] #82485
01/17/2016 12:49 PM
01/17/2016 12:49 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,445
BVI
Zanshin Offline
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Diamond Cay is a great anchorage and is protected in a north swell, it is my personal second favorite anchorage in a north swell, second only to the North Sound of Virgin Gorda.

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: sail2wind] #82486
01/17/2016 12:51 PM
01/17/2016 12:51 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,575
VI,PR,NY,AZ
sail445 Offline
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Maho Bay can and does occasionally get 6' rollers when the wind is slightly west of north with the seas breaking about thirty feet from shore

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: sail445] #82487
01/17/2016 02:47 PM
01/17/2016 02:47 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 982
annap, MD/BVI-Nanny Cay
hallucination Offline
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Also with Diamond Cay, you get the sound of the surf smashing over the reef to the north. We were there with 14 foot due north swells and it was as calm as glass.

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: hallucination] #82488
01/17/2016 04:14 PM
01/17/2016 04:14 PM
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StormJib Offline
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I hate the idea of trying to forecast the wind and swell for others 365 days a year. That said the picture below reveals how many degrees of swell protection Diamond Cay offers. In a real blow you may not find the same level of protection from the wind in a place surrounded by almost 360 degrees of coral.

See ALL six images:

Arial Views Marina and Anchorage at Diamond

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: StormJib] #82489
01/17/2016 04:24 PM
01/17/2016 04:24 PM
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StormJib Offline
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Here is White Bay wide open on one side for 180 degrees of whatever Mother Nature and Neptune have in mind. White Bay is also cursed with a rapid transition from deep to shallow water. Very easy to get trapped in there by other boats breaking loose in the very confined space with your boat and crew with their backs to the wall.

[Linked Image]

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: StormJib] #82490
01/17/2016 10:03 PM
01/17/2016 10:03 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 222
California
Sunnykm Offline
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Storm

Thank you for the labeled photo. I don't understand north swells at all but seeing a photo really helps.

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: GoneSailing] #82491
01/18/2016 08:57 AM
01/18/2016 08:57 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,879
Charlotte, NC
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NCSailor Offline
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Charlotte, NC
Quote
GoneSailing said:
For what it is worth we have spent at least 20 nights in Great Harbor and I can't recall a problem with swells at all. Now pick up a ball near the ferry dock and you will do some rolling when the early one comes in.


My experience exactly. I would like to hear from someone who has actually had a problem in Great Harbour from a north swell.

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: NCSailor] #82492
01/19/2016 12:29 PM
01/19/2016 12:29 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 479
Austin, TX
TackingAg Offline OP
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I don't think I properly thanked everyone for the great input. This helped confirm some of what I was already thinking, but I definitely appreciate the advice!


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Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: Sunnykm] #82493
01/19/2016 06:09 PM
01/19/2016 06:09 PM
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StormJib Offline
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Quote
Sunnykm said:
Storm

Thank you for the labeled photo. I don't understand north swells at all but seeing a photo really helps.


The North Swell is from waves created by wind thousands of miles away. Particularly during the winter. The North Atlantic is a series of storms almost like a freight train. One swell creating storm after another. The last ten days and the next week are great examples. The intense winds from a North Atlantic storm creates massive waves 30, even 50 feet. Those waves travel south all the way to the Caribbean and arrive as swell. The swell created far, far away may be in a very different direction than the local wind. The swell comes along way , the wind and waves are local. All three can be in different directions at times. That is when the sea looks and feels like a washing machine. Yes, I know I left the more complex current out.

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: StormJib] #82494
01/20/2016 12:42 AM
01/20/2016 12:42 AM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 222
California
Sunnykm Offline
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Thanks SJ. I keep reading all the posts and hope in time I will understand it much better than I do now. The good news is I am not the captain! I just ask where I can help when on board.

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: Sunnykm] #82495
01/20/2016 12:48 AM
01/20/2016 12:48 AM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 1,908
Ontario, Canada
warren460 Offline
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Let's not forget the wave peaks and nulls.


Warren
S/V Scuba Doo
Lagoon 450
Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: warren460] #82496
01/20/2016 01:29 AM
01/20/2016 01:29 AM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 222
California
Sunnykm Offline
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California
Ok now you are just showing off!

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: Sunnykm] #82497
01/20/2016 07:23 AM
01/20/2016 07:23 AM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 1,908
Ontario, Canada
warren460 Offline
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Not really. Just high school physics. When 2 waves peaks pass through each other, the heights can add to make a bigger one.


Warren
S/V Scuba Doo
Lagoon 450
Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: warren460] #82498
01/20/2016 09:40 AM
01/20/2016 09:40 AM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 479
Austin, TX
TackingAg Offline OP
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Here is a good article if you can hang on to the end of it.

Wave Basics


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Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: TackingAg] #82499
01/20/2016 10:14 AM
01/20/2016 10:14 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 952
NC, USA
capndar Offline
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I'll never take a big boat into White Bay - too many variables and no time to react - swell comes up, someone else breaks loose and boom, you are both on the beach.

That said, my only issue with Little Harbor is that sometimes it is way too protected -the air can get quite still. I have rarely seen much of a ripple in Little Harbor.


Capndar
Masters 50 GT Sail/Power/Towing
3rd generation sailor
Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: Sunnykm] #82500
01/20/2016 10:15 AM
01/20/2016 10:15 AM
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Quote
Sunnykm said:
Thanks SJ. I keep reading all the posts and hope in time I will understand it much better than I do now. The good news is I am not the captain! I just ask where I can help when on board.


Accurately predicting the actual wind, weather, and waves may be close to rocket science. Understanding why is as simple as a picture. In the next seven days three major storms will thunder across the Atlantic with fierce counter clockwise winds. Each one will make massive waves that will show up as swell somewhere 1,000's of miles away.

Here is the first storm covering the entire North Atlantic today.

[Linked Image]

Here is the East Coast Blizzard(future VI Swell Producer) leaving the US on Saturday. It looks like the Blizzard will be strong and wide enough to make the wind move to the South in the BVI?:

[Linked Image]

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: Zanshin] #82501
01/31/2016 01:56 PM
01/31/2016 01:56 PM
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 80
Seattle, WA
mattt Offline
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Quote
Zanshin said:
Diamond Cay is a great anchorage and is protected in a north swell, it is my personal second favorite anchorage in a north swell, second only to the North Sound of Virgin Gorda.


This is interesting. The cruising guide actually says "If the wind is from the southeast, the anchorage becomes very sloppy and during northerly ground swells the surge can become excessive."

Last edited by mattt; 01/31/2016 01:57 PM.
Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: mattt] #82502
01/31/2016 02:13 PM
01/31/2016 02:13 PM
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Charlotte, NC
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NCSailor Offline
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I will go with Zanshin's observations.

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: NCSailor] #82503
01/31/2016 02:41 PM
01/31/2016 02:41 PM
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 80
Seattle, WA
mattt Offline
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Yup, I'm going to. smile

Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: mattt] #82504
01/31/2016 05:34 PM
01/31/2016 05:34 PM
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Posts: 507
Here and There in Michigan
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In 9 sailing trips to the BVI's, I don't recall a rough night in Great Harbor until last month. January 19 & 20 th were pretty uncomfortable in Great Harbor due to wave action which I can only assume was caused by north swells reflecting off of southern islands. I wish I had been in Little Harbor those two nights.

Last edited by HoosierDaddy; 01/31/2016 05:35 PM.
Re: JVD Great Harbor vs. Little Harbor in N. Swell [Re: NCSailor] #82505
01/31/2016 07:07 PM
01/31/2016 07:07 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,575
VI,PR,NY,AZ
sail445 Offline
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Zanshins talking about Diamond cay, Great harbour is affected by SE winds.


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