We departed from Virgin Gorda, in the British Virgin Islands, on Wednesday, February 4th, in, what should have been winds from the east-north-east [ENE] Any winds north of east would have suited our purpose of a non-stop sail to Barbados. In the event, after one hour, the winds clocked round to south of east [ESE -SE]. We found ourselves heading straight St Croix; an island which we love and will want to visit…..but not now! It became necessary to put in a tack, which brought us parallel to the Virgin Gorda coast. In fact, we saw Virgin Gorda for hours oon end! We tacked, again, and sailed, roughly south-east. During the course of Wednesday night, the wind backed to north of east and we started heading towards Dominica. We, really, had a choice of passing between Dominica and Martinique; or between Martinique and St Lucia. On Thursday, I made the comment that we had seen no sea life, whatsoever. Come Friday, Maggie found a squid in the cockpit, followedsome hours later, by a flying fish! Disappointingly, the wind swung back to south of east, during Friday and we had no choice but to turn south. The Dominica-Martinique passage was no longer an option; and, as Saturday approached, the Martinique-St Lucia passage faded from reality. The forecast was for heavy swells from the north, expected on Saturday; a decision was made to make a stop-over in Rodney Bay, in the NW corner of St Lucia.
The new strut did not appear to be effective in reducing the explosive type of slamming; but, at least the floor remained intact. The seas were, however, nowhere near the size of the ones we experienced in the SW North Atlantic. One change, though: With a particularly explosive slam, the freezer door would spring open. This is no mean feat, as the freezer is a top-loader and the door has 7″ of insulation! It just shows what kind of force hits the under-surface of the bridge-deck.
During our crossing from the BVIs, the mast began to sway, quite alarmingly. The rigging had stretched, somewhat; a feature I had been warned about So, this week, a rigger will join us to show me how to “tune” the rig. I have, also, asked a radio specialist to sort out the unpleasant whistling we are experiencing from one of our stereo speakers. My fault, really: when we werer in Florida and had access to cable TV in the marina, I had asked for the TV to be connected to the radio speakers, as the TV speakers were too quiet, in the presence of air-conditioning. Prior to the new arrangement, the system worked well and we had beautiful music. The whistling is loud enough for me to hear…and that is loud!
The next windowto access Barbados is Sunday, when he winds are cheduled o be north of east and, more importantly, the wave height will have reduceed from nearly 4 metres to just over 2 metres. The next bulletin will, I hope, be from Barbados.
posted Monday February 2009