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Exody - May 7th - "Contestants its time to plate up!"

The Masterchef analogy, coined by Steven of Adagio at the bar last night, is a great one to describe the fear, tension, anticipation and excitement in the final run up to the start of an ocean passage! Forty four boats are assembled at Nanny Cay, Tortola, for the passage to USA or Europe via Bermuda including a handful heading straight for Florida. For Exody, it will be about six days at sea.

It is nearly two months since we completed our last ocean passage in Grenada. So, just like a potentially fine meal, the ingredients are together- fuel, provisions, water - but some of the detail stuff has not quite been done and 'presentation' leaves a little to be desired. Just check the storage gloryhole that Exody's forecabin has become since the crew moved out in April, the dust everywhere after our varnishing job and the rusty stains creeping back on the hull,deck and stainless. However, I've been up the mast to check the rig and the comprehensive ARC safety inspection gratifyingly required no remedials. We found a man to fix our minor gelcoat dings and another to scrape our rather unexpectedly early accrual of barnacles from the hull. So we are ready enough to 'plate up' or 'ship out'!

It has been good to meet some of the crews including some Scots and to meet up with our World ARC friends (nine of the 14 boats here), to see new and familiar World Cruising Club yellowshirts and to have a good chandlery to hand for minor spares.

We had arrived in Nanny Cay, Tortola on May 3rd, taking in 'The Baths' on Virgin Gorda and the anchorage at Peter Island en route.

The Baths we were told were a 'must see' for our all too short stopover here, so we were up and away at dawn from our peaceful anchorage at Long Bay for the few miles motoring to the very western tip of the island. The official moorings were already humming with charter catamaran activity well before eight and we picked one up close enough to swim ashore. You walk amongst, under, over and inbetween massive boulders, as if sprinkled randomly by some giant into the turquoise water and pristine sand. Shady pools,reef fish, shafts of sunlight and stunning views out to Sir Francis Drake Channel. Back on board and mooring slipped as the first tourist boats arrived.

We could not miss stopping at my namesake Peter Island - it has an upmarket resort and marina. We anchored for lunch in the relative quiet of Deadman Bay next to Dead Chest island - the names resonant of the piratical history of these islands!

Next stop Bermuda, 845 miles away.

Peter (Skipper)

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