Gone with the wind
Sat 3 Mar 2007 16:44
Noon position: 16.24.5N, 65.55.6W.
24 hr run 144miles
Distance to go to Curacao 321miles
This is a mad dash over the Caribbean sea from the Virgin Islands in the extreme north to the Island of Curacao in the South, just off Venezuela (this for Olivia, now she has given up geography)
First days run is close to our record, if not the record, which is excellent progress but also reflects quite windy conditions. There is quite a big beam sea running and whilst we are not getting rock and roll like on a dead run, the boat does lurch to leeward sometimes, with no warning, as it falls down a wave. Two reefs in the mainsail, about half the yankee jib unfurled. Comfortable like this at up to 25kts of wind, but a bit out of control when gusts come. Fortunately no squalls overnight, and none to see so far today. The cockpit is soaked with spray, so sunbathing difficult, in fact getting a comfortable position anywhere is difficult. It is very warm down below, and I can't open any hatches as the sea keeps running over the deck. Being alone I can at least dispense with all clothes, thank goodness there is no webcam.
Havn'tseen any ships at all since leaving, the Virgins really are a charter boat circus: boats going this way and that like Barnt Green on a sunday afternoon. They are bound by many regulations depending on experience: eg no anchoring, and be on a mooring by 4pm. My last night was in Sopers Hole: a famous centre for sailors, however it is now completely full of moorings, no room to anchor, and 25$ US per night. I was lucky to get one of the last moorings, and when I left at noon yesterday two new boats were arguing over who had got my space first: just like the supermarket car park.
Once again Fleck now lives up to her name, and we are but a small spot on this huge blue but rather bumpy ocean. Hopefully, (and I touch a piece of teak!) the main problem on this trip will be trying to arrive in daylight, or identifying an anchorage that I can get into at night safely. The wonderful full moon helps in this respect, but it has been my experience so far that squalls always arrive at the critical moments obliterating all visual clues for about 15 mins.
With obviously mixed feelings I hope to arrive back in the UK on 14th March. Will send a noon position report until I get to Curacao. I don't think I need any weather forecasts:my gribs show its due to be like this for five days!