You can watch this week’s YouTube video here. 🙂
Last Tuesday was a perfect example of the uncertainty of boat life. We woke up that morning to a warning from our weather router: there was an unusually high degree of uncertainty in the forecast. We planned to embark on a seven-day passage the next day, so we took a closer look at the projections and decided that a Friday departure would be better.
We went about our day, finishing our chores and enjoying the sunshine. We made lunch and settled into the cockpit with a cocktail and our books. We made dinner plans with friends for 6 pm. I started researching what we could do for Thanksgiving in Exuma since we would be here until Friday.
At 4 pm, Ray gets an email from our weather router, looks up at me, and says, “we’re leaving tomorrow at 7 am.” We both spring into action. I start prepping food for our first few days at sea, knowing they’d be bumpy and we’d want something easy. Ray starts putting his tools away and filling our jerry cans with diesel. Somehow we still manage to shower and make it to our dinner plans on time. Ray stays up late putting together our final route.
What a whirlwind.
We left Emerald Bay Marina Wednesday morning.
We brought the sails up as soon as we cleared the marina exit. We knew we’d have a lot of motoring ahead of us, so we wanted to sail for as long as we could while we could! We had about 15kn of wind and 4-6ft seas. I had taken Dramamine that morning to help me acclimate quicker (I learned my lesson last time!). I was feeling fantastic, so I took the helm for the morning while Ray caught up on sleep.
Sleeping in shifts felt easier than usual; maybe we were still in the groove from our last passage. The wind had died entirely, but given the nature of our route (going East, against the trade winds), no wind was ideal. We made good time/speed while switching off keeping watch, and relaxing in the beanbag chair on the bow.
I decided to throw together some semblance of a Thanksgiving dinner despite the heat, lack of wind, and rolly waves…
It’s not my best work (yes, that’s a chicken thigh), but it made us both smile. ☺️
We fell into a routine quickly, and the days began to blur together. We kept an engine on and would periodically fuss with the jib to see if we could get an extra .5-1kn of speed whenever the wind wasn’t directly on our nose.
Aside from the typical evening squalls, we didn’t have much wind to work with. We loved seeing the sunrise/set, rainbows, and the occasional dolphin, but sailors would always rather be sailing…
We tapped into our jerry cans on the 5th day, funneling three into each engine. This brought us back up to ½ tank on either side.
The wind started to pick up that night, and we were able to shut off the engine and fly the gennaker for a few hours the following day. We furled it in when the wind shifted, brought out the jib, and turned an engine back on.
Like clockwork, the evening squalls rolled through. The wind picked up as we approached St. Thomas, and we rode a few squalls without assistance from our engines. The sun set and we dropped the sails shortly after that. The current stirred up some waves, which we took on our beam. It was a rolly 2hrs.
We dropped anchor just before midnight and split a bottle of champagne and a sleeve of ritz crackers for dinner. 😂
We woke up to a beautiful view…
…but a messy boat. We spent the morning tidying up and rinsing the salt water from our passage off the boat. Once we decided we’d been productive enough for the day, we changed into swimsuits and spent the afternoon lounging around, drinking gin and tonics, and cooling off in the water. It was a perfect first day in the Virgin Islands. ❤️
We spent the rest of the week relaxing, enjoying being on anchor in the tropics, and trying to get back onto a regular sleep schedule. We’ve been ashore a few times to check out the local bars/restaurants but haven’t had the energy to explore. Our friends have left us their car keys, though, so we’re planning on running some errands and checking out the island more soon. ❤️
Overall, our trip from Virginia took us 13 days, ~1800nm, with one stopover in the Bahamas.
We faced the harshest weather during our Gulf Stream crossing but had relatively good conditions otherwise. Would it have been easier if we had a couple of extra crew members aboard? Absolutely. Is it kind of cool knowing we pulled it off by ourselves? 100%. 😎
I hope you had a great week! ❤️