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
. 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
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
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
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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