We arrived in Virgin Gorda on Sunday afternoon! 1320 miles sailed in 8 days, 8 3/4 hours – therefore an average speed of 6.58 knots through the water. Our planned route was 1295 miles – so we therefore managed to follow the rhumb line very closely – and our average “Velocity Made Good” was 6.45knots. Not bad!
The trip started really badly! 6:00am – still dark: At the dock, I unclipped the electric hookup and the heavy bale end collided with the latch on our monitor windvane gate mechanism and knocked it to pieces – with two critical components ending up in the water! Fortunately, I was apparently wearing my MacGuyver hat and managed to bodge it back together with two hose clams and we were ready to leave by 6:30. Leaving was not pretty – but we managed to extricate ourselves from the pilings we were between with just a couple of non-damaging bumps! We were one of the last boats in the remaining 24 boat fleet to leave.
We motored out into the Hampton river where we raised the main in the building breeze and quite heavy chop. We’d just had the main repaired – with a new improved system to hold the battens in the sail – but on first hoist two of them broke out! What a waste of money that was! We ended up sailing without battens for the first couple of days and then managed to bodge something up once the seas had calmed.
The first couple of days were boisterous with big seas – and even though they were supposedly only 12-15 ft, that means we should expect some to come in at double that – seemed to us that most were coming in about 20 – 30ft! Toodle-oo! managed the seas with aplomb and we managed to get across the gulf stream in about 30 hours. Full foul weather gear was removed and replaced with shorts and tee-shirts.
We had a day or so of no wind and calming seas – so ran the engine which was a bit of a blessing since the generator had decided to quit working and we needed to charge the batteries – which were now being challenged significantly by the warmer water making the fridge and freezer draw considerably more power than normal. Without the generator, we also couldn’t make water – but that turned out to be a non-issue for us as we carried sufficient water for the entire trip.
The last few days we sailed – and were always in company with a couple of more boats from the fleet, or others that were part of the Caribbean 1500 rally – all rather reassuring. On one day, we had a deja vue experience in that like the time we sailed from the Azores to Ireland with great wind and the rest of the fleet were becalmed, on this day, we had good wind – 15 knots on the beam (perfect!) and boats that were within 5 or 10 miles didn’t have enough wind to sail! I couldn’t even blame it on the beans!
We fished the entire way – but caught nothing. I finally got Laurie to admit that our selection of lures was inadequate so with any luck, next time we’re near a fishing shop, she’ll let me loose! However! On the last day, we managed to bag 2 tuna! First a Bluefin – which sadly had been hooked without us knowing, so when I did notice about 20 minutes later, I just hauled in the drowned fish. I cleaned this guy out and prepared tuna steaks and then put the pole out again – and about an hour later we caught a Yellowfin – both of them were about 10lbs. We had enough Tuna now for a few meals!
The last day was great sailing, but unfortunately we had to turn into the wind after rounding Anegada, so we took the easy way out and motored the last 3 hours and took a mooring at the Bitter End Yacht Club.
It’s hot here! Really hot!
The arrival beverages were good, strong and plentiful! We slept well!