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Old 05-11-2014, 18:58   #1
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Location: Newport, RI
Boat: Little Harbor 53'
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Newport to Virgin Gorda - a chronicle to come

Hi all,

Well we are awaiting a weather window to head south from Newport to Virgin Gorda with an expected departure of Saturday though the weather is looking like maybe we are deferred to monday... I have learned so much in the preparation alone for this trip, i am starting this post for others to follow along. I have hire a captain to join us with 120,000 miles under his belt and literally have gotten every check list and precaution brought my way. A lifetime of experience that has come our way. Though not much here now in this post here is what you can expect.

Pre departure checklist, provisioning, weather services, communication tech decisions and plan selection, boat prep, route, and of course, our recount of the actual trip. so stay tuned! and to those out on the open ocean now, stay safe!

Jonathan S/V Robin Hood
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:18   #2
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Re: Newport to Virgin Gorda - a chronicle to come

Looking forward to following along, all the best in your journey!
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:08   #3
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Re: Newport to Virgin Gorda - a chronicle to come

What type of sailboat is robinhood?
Hope your crossing of the Gulf Stream goes smooth
Pete


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Old 08-11-2014, 06:46   #4
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Re: Newport to Virgin Gorda - a chronicle to come

53' little harbor

We are provisioned and awaiting our weather window for a departure early am. Should be able to write up pre-departure post this evening.


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Old 28-02-2015, 06:19   #5
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Location: Newport, RI
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Re: Newport to Virgin Gorda - a chronicle to come

Been a great winter so far in the BVIs. A short recap.

Tried leaving once early November from Newport. 80 miles offshore noticed a coolant leak. Turned around and went back to our marina for repairs. Missed our weather window, lost our hired captain and didn't get back off the dock until the day after thanksgiving.

Once we did leave it was with 20 degree temps and now flying!

That said an uneventful but bitterly cold sail in 5-8 ft following dead until we got to the Gulf Stream. Temps started to rise and we had a rather benign crossing.

Once 50 miles south of the stream we went to fire up the motor. Starter trouble. Translation - starter housing cracked in half and started to smoke - we were 330 miles from Bermuda and had to way to fire up the engine. No problem. Except the wind completely died. I mean to the tune of 1 knot. We drifted around in circles (the plotter screen taunting us with our looping circle tracks) for 30 hours. With a north breeze in our forecast we were still optimistic and the installation of our iridium go had allowed us to already have parts sourced and being overnights to a mechanic in Bermuda. It's a sail boat. We'll sail there. Then I looked up at the genoa and noticed what looked like a tear. Dropped the sail and were fortunate it was just the sun shield. That's why we have an extensive sail repair kit! Sail back up and literally 2 minutes later the breeze starts to fill in. To a whopping 7knots. But it was just enough to move us on a reach.

A few nasty weather systems rolled through our path en route but with reefed sails we were pretty confident (though our brand new furling line for job did snap - something that of course added to our frustrations but was an easy fix). We used our iridium go to communicate with "mum" at Bermuda Yacht Service and they were waiting for us first thing upon out Bermuda arrival at St. George's. A tow through the cut and then carefully placed at a slip right next to customs. Can't say enough about them.

Mark at spar yard hooked us up with a repair. The starter of course arrived damaged but we were able to use the solenoid off the old starter to make the repair. A couple other repairs (voltage regulator was acting funny so that got replaced along with a new alternator just in case), sail repaired by Steve at Doyle sail in St. George, new furling line to replace the new one that snapped and a new outhaul since it was the only line not replaced this year.

We waited a week for our weather window watching boat after boat come in with blown out sails (74 Hinckley, 72 S and S which also had a boom snapped off from an accidental jibe, 80 ft cat with a hole in their main) due to late starts and leaving New England with a tight window. They all missed it seeing gales with winds 40-50 knts. Bottom line we were lucky.

Once we buried Bermuda behind us we caught our first fish, a 25 lb tuna as we were literally looking at the canned version in the galley. FISH ON! And with that fish and a beautiful NNE breeze around 15 knots and a gentle 6-8 following sea our luck had changed. The first half resembling the nasty sailing stories you read about and the trip south of Bermuda being the one they write beautiful sailing songs about. We added 2 mahi mahi and 2 wahoo to our fridge and for the last 30 hours we had a sustained 18-22knt breeze putting our fuel concerns at ease since the breeze was expected to be very light for 4 of the 6 days. We ripped along at 9-11 knots which for our boat is hair on fire speeds! And not one person touched the autopilot or jib sheet for 30 hours until we spotted anegada. We arrived in virgin gorda around 8PM, grabbed a hook at bitter end and hit the bar for several rounds of pain killers.

One of the best trips of my life. And thankful we took such attention to detail around our preparation. The one thing I'll never be caught without again is a back up starter and alternator. Both which now grace our forepeak.




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