16 Dec 2014, Back to the VI…

I left Le Marin, Martinique for BVI Nov 14. One last stop in Petite Anse D’Arlet for some baguettes for the trip, then set mainsail and genoa on a beam reach up the leeward side of the island with changable wind and some motoring until I was near the north end. Then more wind shadows  behind Dominica and Guadeloupe. Made 105 nm the first 24 hrs. The Aquagen towable water generator made 4-5 Amps at 4-5 kts of boat speed. Over 24 hrs that’s not bad. Unfortunately there’s quite a bit of sargassum (a floating seaweed) that catches and stops it rotating. Not too bad to clear on a close reach or beam reach, harder on a broad reach. In any case slowing the boat down enough to bring it in is not easy. With all the practice I’m getting better.

On Nov. 16 the autopilot mount broke and I had to hand steer. Not good, especially when solo. I hand steered about 10 hours and was getting pretty tired. I made for St. Eustatius just north of St Kitts, but as soon as I got north of St. Kitts, the wind increased dramatically shooting thru the channel between the islands. I got “headed” or turned more to leeward and couldn’t get close enough. The next bit of land is Saba. A great Dutch Island Colleen and I visited in 2013. It’s tiny though and turned out little protection. With the wind direction and speed, there was no way I could make anything north like St Barth’s or St Martin, so I hove too and spent several hours repairing it in the lumpy seas. Good thing! I was ready for some sleep. You never want to get too fatigued out there in case there’s an emergency. With the AP working and a decent lunch made, I was on my way again.

After that it was beam to broad reach to Virgin Gorda. No problems, except lumpy and the dinghy kept trying to surf into the big boat, plus bad timing. I had to slow her down to get to the harbor about sunrise. There are enough reefs there, even though I know it pretty well, I don’t like to go in while very dark. Nov. 17 I anchored by Prickly Pear Island in North Sound, Virgin Gorda, …and slept. Ahhhhhh.

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