can we help
+44(0)1983 296060
+1 757-788-8872
tell me moreJoin a rally


Starblazer - 10/05/2016 – BVI and onwards towards Bermuda

Thursday and Friday in Nanny Cay passed in a blur of activity: safety check,
washing, cleaning the log impeller, haircut for me (the best one in over two
years!), shopping, farewell dinner, skippers’ briefing, ‘Happy Hours’ and a
final BBQ.

The start was at midday on Saturday with nearly 40 boats on the start line
though the Florida bound group had left earlier as they were taking a
different route out of the Virgin Islands. We were within the first 6 or 7
boats to cross the line, brilliant for us! Shortly after the start the huge
Advanced 80 came powering past us at probably more than twice our speed, and
we were doing well. That’s the last we saw of them. The wind freshened
as we reached the western end of Great Thatch Island and needed to gybe. We
copied several boats ahead of us and tacked through the wind as gybing with
only two of us is difficult in strong winds. For non-sailors, the gybe
would have been a 90 degree turn to the right with the wind passing behind
the boat with us trying to control the mainsail as it tries to fly across to
tha other side; instead we sailed the long way round, making a 270 degree
left hand turn with the wind passing in front of the sails, slower but

Since then we have had a whole range of wind conditions to contend with.
Largely the winds have been benign, barely enough to sail by at an
acceptable speed. When our boat speed dropped to 2 knots we started the
engine. This is a competitive leg and we know, from, bitter experience,
that we have been beaten by faster boats with fewer motoring hours on
several legs of World ARC, however the stopover in Bermuda is short and we
need to get there. It is a question of balancing speed and time. On
Sunday evening John woke me up early because the wind had piped up and the
forecast had suggested the possibility of gale force winds in squalls, we
needed to reef down. First of all we rolled away some genoa to the second
reef mark then I went to the mast to reef the mainsail while John turned the
boat closer to the wind. The reef itself went in well and relatively
quickly but, as I was at the mast, the rain started and I got absolutely
soaked to the skin in very few minutes! The wind didn’t climb above 20
knots again so the reefs were unnecessary and, during his next watch, John
let the genoa back out. I pulled the mainsail back up after breakfast on
Monday morning.

Yesterday afternoon the wind dropped again, we pulled up the cruising chute
to increase our boat speed as the wind was on the beam. For a couple of
hours it worked very well, then we had a 40 degree wind shift and an
increase in wind, time to bring it down. This is usually a relatively easy
job but this time it wasn’t completely plain sailing (forgive the pun) as it
took both of us to heave the sock down. We had left the dinghy inflated and
upturned on deck rather than deflating it for this passage so foredeck space
is very limited. I decided there was no chance that I could heave the sail
inboard and stuff it in its bag while John lowered it so I sat down and
dragged it onto my lap then we carefully stuffed it in the bag together.
Think we managed to stuff it without putting a twist in it, we’ll find out
next time. When that ‘next time’ will be is anyone’s guess as the bowsprit
was pulled sideways and has bent one cheek of the stem head fitting.

At least the engine is running well! Unfortunately we now have problems
providing 220/240 volts for the battery chargers of the Milwaukee (my
electric winch handle!) and the computer. No big generator (still in
Grenada), no Honda (it just won’t start) and now both inverters have failed.
John has dug out a small unit which provides 17 or 18 volts at 3.5 amps to
run the computer but it isn’t charging. Blogs may be infrequent until we
can replace the inverter, hopefully in Bermuda.

It’s a beautiful, sunny morning and the seas have calmed down again, but at
a cost! The wind has dropped and so has our boat speed…..


Previous | Next