On August 18, the small Spanish fleet put to sea from Havana. While traditional historiography has always asserted that flotas tried to avoid sailing during hurricane season, trade statistics show almost the opposite, indicating that factors other than fear of bad storms dictated departure dates, at least for shipping from Havana. Upon leaving the channel on August 22, the fleet immediately encountered strong, contrary headwinds, slowing progress to a snail's pace. The weather changed from contrary winds to a strong seasonal storm by August 25. It was a slow-moving storm, undoubtedly being held up and deflected northwest by a mainland front; and for part of the time the winds apparently sped the fleet north faster than the storm itself was traveling, essentially imprisoning the Spaniards in a counterclockwise swirl of fury for nearly a week.
Keywords: Havana; Cuba; Bahama Channel; hurricane; Spanish fleet
Chapter. 2883 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Underwater Archaeology
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