It is a perfect night. Keep in mind that brief gusts can be handled by easing the sheets or the traveler to “spill” the extra air off the sails. Largely volcanic in origin, the Leewards have lush, subtropical vegetation, rich soil, and abundant rainfall. POS: 25 45.11N 77 26.33W Bag. No micro bursts; just numerous small cells of two to six miles in diameter with winds in the mid-thirty to forty knot range. Wouldn’t that be awful? For example, if the forecast is 15-20 knot winds and four to six foot seas, it is not impossible to find yourself in a hot-spot with steady 25 knot winds and solid six to seven foot seas. SOG: 6.4 Serious lightning in front of big storm 18 miles aft.”. COG: 88.2 degrees Then, out of nowhere, another big powerboat in front of us to the east turns its navigation lights on as we approach. BVI Sailing & Yacht Charters Known as the “Sailing Capital of the World”, the British Virgin Islands offer some of the best sailing in the Caribbean. Melissa's Log entry: “Gusts up to 32 knots. I reach up and press the button on the wrist watch. ; WHAT IS IT?! Contact your consultant today. Calm Seas”. But, we had to check in first with Customs and Immigration. We expect no sustained winds above Force 7 on this trip. . Calm sea, 7 kt headwind. COG: 117.3 Good God! Copyright 2003-2011© Buddy & Melissa Stockwell. In my mind, I always incorrectly picture the Caribbean Islands being almost due south of Florida. Is it going to get rougher still? The U.S. Virgin Islands are located in the eastern Caribbean, just 1,100 miles southeast of Miami. No more sailing tonight, but I leave the main up with one reef just in case we get some wind. Alright, all you salts who have requested "the skinny" on how we decided to go offshore and why, let’s go through the analysis that resulted in the route we plotted. I can’t see anything outside. The historic towns of Frederiksted and Christiansted offer quaint shops, charming pastel buildings, refreshing cultural diversity. We are too tired to care very much about the New Year. Last night’s terrors are already forgotten as I enjoy the calm ride and listen to music. Calm, calm, calm and we are glad we have lots and lots of fuel so we can keep moving! With the east trades blowing you westerly, and currents running to the west too as you near the islands, you’ll wind up in Puerto Rico! A small marlin hit the port trolling line and we fought him for 45 minutes as he jumped and shook his head. A crewed sailing yacht vacation gives you the expertise and freedom to create your own itinerary amid the sixty islands and cays that form the BVI. Date: 12/27/05 Here is the NOAA wind and wave forecast for December 27, our departure date. SOG: 6.9 bareboat yacht charter skippered yacht charter luxury crewed charter bricks - event sailing concepts all inclusive sailing cabin charter flotilla yacht charter sailing school one way charter daily charter. Hmmm . We already knew that we would spend both my Birthday and New Year’s Eve, just the two of us, hundreds of miles out at sea on the Moon. > View crewed yachts available in the Grenadines Time 03:00 Also, we know some of you prefer to skip the text and simply peruse photographs. > View Grenadines Weather by Month. How strong are they? Plus, there are adverse currents slowing us down. When it is really rough, all you can do is hang on. Time 06:00 Miles: total 7248, passage 207. I have cranked the engines and have them running in forward gear at 2700 rpm. No lightning, but a very solid squall. The northern third of the island of St. Vincent is mountainous. The first rule of salesmanship: NEVER knock the competition. POS: 25 33.19N 74 43.89W is even sending me mail now! To the "sail-only" at all cost crowd, listen up: despite our unvarnished zeal to run engines anytime at our whim and caprice, we are still keenly cognizant of the depths of beauty and accomplishment that sailing yields. Between Puerto Rico and the Anegada Passage are the Virgin Islands, one of the world's most compact cruising areas. And one question was "How long will it take you to get to where you need to go?". Statia's port was burned by the British, though, and the island never recovered as a trade center – more on the reason for the arson later. Miles: total 7665, passage 624 My notes reflect Chris Parker’s forecast for today. But it still makes me nervous, and these kinds of scary night watches are not fun like those magic nights when the sky is clear and the stars are out and reflecting upon smooth seas. SOG: 7.5 Up since midnight, I was a “zombie” by then. The island abounds in bird life and supports a population of wild pigs and fallow deer for hunting enthusiasts. As well known for its sugar and rum as for its beaches and resorts, the archipelago offers an interesting mix of modern cities, rural hamlets, rainforests and secluded beaches. After we kill the engines and trim the sails, Indigo Moon sails beautifully at over 8 knots. Block out the wind noise and it’s much more comfortable going to windward. In fact, if not at the helm while underway, she has a hard time staying awake. I love being at sea. If an idea is truly superior, it sells itself. The country is part of the Windward Islands chain, a series of islands that form a barrier between the Atlantic to the east and the Caribbean Sea to the west. He operated out of the facilities here, now known as Nelson's Dockyard. Time 21:00 COG: 180 | Yacht Charter Preparation. The slave trade was centered here too. That bugged us – were we missing something? Date: 12/29/05 But I say you might have to wait a long, long time to do it, or finally have to run through a little traffic! Date: 12/29/05 Melissa's Log entry: "Under sail! We are taking lots of “green water” over the decks and every hatch and stanchion is being vigorously leak-tested. Get ready. > View Bahamas Weather by Month, Travel Insurance It’s calm enough for me to go forward and run the water maker. SOG: 6.5 Date: 12/27/05 Buddy's Log Entry : “Calm. We are certain he would not settle for less than a world class rescue effort if we ever go missing. I finally feel tired enough to sleep hard through anything. If you’re looking for the chance to learn to sail, novice students can learn the ropes during the RYA Competent Crew course, gaining sound knowledge of basic techniques and terminology. Miles: total 7312, passage 271 Barbuda, part of the state of Antigua, and 32 miles north is a flat, sparsely wooded coral island known as a sports-man's paradise. So, in the end we didn’t feel Mr. Van Sant’s methods were all that inspired or thornless either. Of all the advantages of a Lagoon catamaran, this feature is arguably the most valuable to me. Date: 12/28/05 We have to leave from south Florida. Doing this offshore crossing was a great decision! charter types. Wed28, 7am, near Abaco/Eluthera: 100@10, seas 4' N swell of 8-sec interval plus 2' wind chop from E. Sail / motorsail ENE as possible. Saw a Ship, maybe it was a Tug.”. Referred to as the Sailing Capital of the Caribbean, the BVI offers the finest and safest sailing in the world. It is our mindset as cruisers on the move to new destinations all the time, however, that sailing "against all odds" in adverse conditions just be able to say "we sailed the whole way", is . The answer is: NO! The seas are a combination of four to six foot wind driven waves and six to eight foot swells, both running in different directions. POS: 26 05.71N 80 04.43W – just offshore from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Time 06:00 It’s all ok. Go play with the radar again and check the clock. Northeast of Kingstown, the Mesopotamia valley contains some of the island's most fertile farmland. As I am filling the tanks, four beautiful, white Tropic birds with their long tails circle the boat. Melissa’s log entry: “Calm, light winds”, Date: 12/31/05 So, our fuel load is not too exorbitant from that perspective. Miles: total 8069, passage 1028 I look away to the radar and look back to the mysterious glow. Of the 400 or so days we’ve been living in paradise and unparalleled comfort on Indigo Moon, less than ten of those days have been truly uncomfortable at sea. POS: 25 21.22N 72 24.81W So, I can sit inside and see the wind angle, wind speed and water depth, and also use push buttons to steer the boat. Part One will review how we came to the decision to travel offshore rather than island hop. Miles: total 8019, passage 978 I wake Melissa and asked her how she liked the storm we just went through an hour and a half ago. Accordingly, we have all our offshore gear set up to prevent such a disaster. u.s. virgin islands. . Miles: total 7436, passage 395 Time 15:00 Encounters with huge schools of fish, and even big pelagic animals including dolphins and rays are commonplace. Out of nowhere, I think: Will there be bad storms instead of squalls? Miles: total 7924, passage 883 I walked at least a mile while lugging a battery, so I guess I found some reserve energy – or maybe I was just that excited to be in the Virgin Islands. Union Island is mountainous. The Furuno GPS has a Time-To-Go (“TTG”) display that calculates the distance to the next waypoint and the time to go in days, hours and minutes. Forecast: Size: Much like advancing under enemy fire by running forward to hide behind the next tree or rock while the enemy reloads, you wait for lulls in wind and seas and jump ahead to the next “fox hole” anchorage and wait. COG: 105 In other words, use a single global “macro” weather window strategy, instead of waiting for a hundred individual “micro” one day, overnight, one hour, or ten minute weather windows on the thorny path. Although there is still a lot of moisture and instability in the atmosphere, at least the seas are calming some and we motor along comfortably. We also feel confident we have more than the standard safety and survival gadgets to get us through a tough spot. In the predawn blackness, it’s still hard to tell what the seas and squalls look like. I watch the voltage indicator on the B&G wind indicator and see that we are up to 13.8 volts and the batteries are being charged correctly by the Yanmar engine's alternator. Low humidity year-round. Although very confident about our decision, we wanted assurances in the “weather department.” So, we hired a professional weather forecaster who provides services to cruisers. They can land on water, so I don’t know why they were so taken with Indigo Moon. You know what? It’s “cat and mouse” and I am definitely the mouse. COG: 111.9 In response, we have produced the in-depth report below in light of the high volume of interest we received. ”. And I am talking “city lights” BIG. Sure, you bet we are fearful! Time 10:30 As Van Sant says in his book, if you keep going offshore, sooner or later “you’ll get yours.” He’s right about that. All Rights Reserved. COG: 183 Miles: total 7332, passage 291 The boat is surely prepared, but what about us? I take the first watch. . The time has come. Their principal city is bustling Pointe-à-Pitre at the centre of the land mass; the islands' sleepy capital, also called Basse-Terre, is on the remote southwestern side. Including the magnificent St. Vincent and the Grenadines, these islands are an adventurer's dream paradise, with incredible sailing opportunities, diving on pristine and diverse reefs, walls, and shipwrecks, and fantastic island exploration hiking in rainforests, climbing majestic volcanoes, and swimming under hot-spring waterfalls. When looking at photographs, keep in mind that waves are always bigger and it’s always much rougher that pictures relate. Chris Parker’s forecast is for winds out of 090 degrees (due east) and our course directly to Tortola will be 183 degrees when we make our final turn. The Bahamas is an archipelago in the North Atlantic that extends from Florida along the northeast coast of Cuba to the Turks and Caicos Islands. We have that type of rough luck on three of the seven days of this trip. It might burn a hole in the hull. Location: We thought we would see more traffic and at least a few other sailboats on our route, but there has been no traffic since the Bahamas. Miles: total 8088, passage 1047 I love this so much. Most cruisers we talked to looked at us as if we were nuts when we suggested doing “I-65”. Who knows what he is up to, but it does not look good! COG: 183 Thank you, Lord, for this wondrous life and for allowing me to sit so close to you on this perfect night. SOG: 6.3 With the sail plan I have up, we are good to 33 knots of wind. All Rights Reserved. One overwhelmingly popular book, The Gentleman’s Guide to Passages South, by Bruce Van Sant, touts a rather technical and tedious methodology for forecasting local island weather and suggests “tricks of the trades” to assist you in jumping from island to island down the thorny path in small, favorable weather windows. The green instrument lights go dim and the starter is silent. Add to that reefing sails several times and we are now tired. special offers. COG: 102 Melissa has that luck. Cut through the Northwest Providence Channel of the Bahamas. Hey, at least there is no lightning! Some of the stars are so amazingly bright tonight! The boat speeds up and the ride gets better. Above 44 knots, all sail is dropped and the mainsail bag and boom will be quite enough sail, thank you. The regatta is a week away and there are already several twenty to forty million dollar classic sailboats here along with millions and millions of dollars worth of 100 foot plus SWAN's, OYSTERS and other high-dollar sailing yachts of overwhelming dimensions. In the summer of 1979, on my Hobie 16, I tacked ten times upwind underneath the Destin, Florida, bridge. The extra speed helps the boat get past some of the swells before they can slow her down. SOG: 7.2 Melissa has somehow managed to stow away gift wrapped presents and a birthday card. SOG: 6.0 Time 05:30 Ok, it’s official. There is a chance of squalls in the forecast. POS: 25 19.21N 72 02.69W Miles: 7094 total, passage 53 Buddy's Log entry: “Moderate seas, bilges dry, decks dry – the weather has turned very nice. Date: 12/30/05 POS: 25 49.62N 77 50.67W Cooling trade winds usually sweep across the land from the east. SOG: 6.8 > View crewed yachts available in the Bahamas Miles: total 7908, passage 867 Like outer-space, the sea is an environment within which man cannot alone survive. By the end of my watch, I am beat in every sense of the word. POS: 24 11.01N 66 17.85W Within 40-60 mi you should be clear of the current...when you are, resume an E to ESE course along 26N, trying to work your way to 25N as you can. Saw first ship - tanker headed East along 25 degrees”. If the seas are rough and storm clouds are building, and the sun will set in five hours, I'm cranking the engines and seeking safety in daylight! Surrounded by the clear blue waters of the Caribbean, the average temperature ranges from 77ºF in winter to 83ºF in summer. Barbuda, a flat coral island with an area of only 68 square miles, lies approximately 30 miles due north. COG: 122 COG: not recorded The winds are backing and almost on the nose and the jib is luffing and rubbing in the diamond wires and spreaders of the mast. POS (position): the boat’s location on the surface of the earth, expressed as degrees and minutes north latitude and degrees and minutes west longitude. I keep telling myself: the water is on the outside of the boat and the people are on the inside of the boat, so everything’s cool! COG: 103 | Articles St Martin & Sint Maarten It is a strange scene, trimming sails at night. Fri30, 7pm, near 24-30N / 70W: light & variable winds, except to 20 kts in a few isolated showers. That amount of fuel will ensure that we can safely go straight out to “I-65” in winds too light to sail and not waste any time or distance so doing. But, in the open sea away from traffic you can set the throttles and let the Yanmar engines tend to themselves. In one heaping-helping, that’s equivalent to six years' worth of one-week charter boat vacations! Date: 01/03/06 COG: 108 As part of our system, we have a Heart Freedom inverter/charger. Once the LO moves off, prevailing easterly winds often return. A nature lover's favorite, St. John offers hiking, camping, specialty shopping, and breathtaking views. I go down into the hallway of the port hull to the generator panel and turn the key. We are already east of where Chris Parker said we can start turning more south, but I want insurance. COG: 183 We feel Mr. Van Sant’s book pushes too hard in that regard. Miles: total 7372, passage 331 My watch from 03:00 to 06:00 will last what seems like eight hours. We are far south from the LO, but are getting a free ride on the southern fringes of the LO as pressure gradients interrupt the easterlies. Miles: total 8038, passage 997 Miles: total 7962, passage 921 Date: 01/02/06 It was perfect training for becoming an expert sail handler on a cruising catamaran. The small here is also spectacular, with seahorses, frogfish and flying gurnards regularly sighted. It’s not gaining on us, but we are not getting away from it either. Many who want to go sailing in the Caribbean choose the BVI. In the trades, the squalls seem to form in the early morning hours after midnight (always my watch – which is good because I can handle most of it without waking up Melissa and the opposite is not always true). As I watch the miles tick off, it I can’t believe how far away mountain peaks can be spotted and how LONG it takes to get there. SOG: 5.8 Time: 24:00 St. Croix's Danish influence is perfect for visitors who prefer a laid-back experience. The expansive, winding coastline that made Antigua difficult for outsiders to navigate is where today's trekkers encounter a tremendous wealth of secluded, powdery soft beaches. I have reefed the sails four times on this watch, trying to get the sail area to match the ever changing wind speeds that are now gusting to 27 to 30 knots. A heavily accented foreign voice responds in English so poor I give up instantly and simply answer: “Indigo Moon out. Now the units are talking perfectly and the autopilot is following the track line to the next waypoint. Date: 01/02/06 By mid-morning the weather has dramatically improved. The forest is also home to the colorful St. Vincent parrot, the whistling warbler, the manicou (a type of opossum), and the agouti (a furry rodent). I study the most brilliant ones with the binoculars. We are lucky that the wind has shifted to the southeast, allowing us to sail east and not risk any cross track error that would result in any southing at all. Time 18:00 As far as Chris Parker's forecast goes, we have no real surprises. The rain hits so hard it sounds like the boat is getting drenched with pea gravel. Miles: total 7206, passage 165 > View crewed yachts available in the British Virgin Islands Buddy's Log entry “The smell of land – VERY pungent after seven days at sea.”. After so doing, we'll shove off and head to sea in Part Two! Such LO pressure systems can help you sail out into the Atlantic if not too strong. Time 12:05 Thu29, 7pm, near 25N / 73W: 220@20-25, gusting 40 kts in strong squalls, seas will respond to the local winds, plus 3' residual N-NNE swells. HOME. Victory and it is very intriguing for me to be here and see where Admiral Nelson got his start as a young officer. This is the first night I get to enjoy the new LED tricolor navigation light I installed at the mast head. WOW! I feel a deep spiritual connection with whatever higher power is “out there.”. The seas are laying down now and we are motorsailing again. A breeze starts to fill in and we change course again, 40 more degrees to the south, to a heading of 160. You will not have any problem getting fact, you're going to have a greater challenge trying to get take advantage of every opportunity to point the vessel SSE. BVI Bound Podcast #1: What to pack for your BVI sailing vacation December 5, 2015 Here is the list of things we pack with links to examples of what we mean: Your passport – Your passport needs to be valid for 6 months past your entry date. Hundreds of miles from land, they seem to want to touch down on the Moon and rest. Time 15:14 By leaving it up, we smooth out some of the side to side rolling in the rough seas. I’m exhausted and hit the rack at 8:30 p.m. The highest peak is La Soufrière, a 1,234 metre active volcano. Time 24:00 The nation also includes the tiny (0.6 square mile) uninhabited island of Redonda, now a nature preserve. There is other traffic too. More easily upset and scared, my mind begins to wander in directions that are not so good. And, the greatest show on earth continues, satellites pass quickly overhead. Force 8 winds (34 to 38 knots): two reefs in the main and three reefs in the jib. The mood swings are profound. We also write short comments at the end of our watches to keep a record of conditions and/or any concerns. COG: 183 Without complaint, Lord, I’ll meet your whim and caprice in wind and waves, BUT PLEASE, OH PLEASE don’t send us into the lightning! – WILL THERE BE LIGHTNING?!!! COG: 181 It's not quite as cosmopolitan as Martinique, nor is it the royalty and rock star magnet that is chic St Barts - nevertheless, with its fine French restaurants, the best duty-free shops in the Eastern Caribbean and glorious beaches, St Martin easily slips into the 'Tropez of the tropics' category. And tacking back and forth plan as well night sinks in “ Cat and mouse and! 2005 - January 3, 2006 I catch a nap my Hobie 16, see. 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