Today was a day spent sailing upwind to get to St. Martin. It sounds simple and concise and straightforward in the previous sentence, but it wasn't. I still firmly believe that the passage from the BVI to St. Martin remains the most miserable one in the Caribbean. Usually one will have either or both wind and waves dead-set against the boat and both are doing their best to keep one away from making any easting. This time I thought I'd got a good combination of the two factors, or as good a combination as I was going to be offered in the next weeks, so I woke up at 0:30 and with coffee in hand I set off out of the North Sound, between Neckar Island and Prickly and thence to St. Martin. I had planned on motorsailing, but after clearing the BVI and setting course for St. Martin (124° magnetic) I realized that the wind was just right and I turned off the engine, set the autopilot to wind mode (which adjusts the course of the boat and keeps the relative angle to the wind the same, a great feature so that with each wind shift I don't have to adjust the sails) and went into my solo watch mode - dozing in the wind-sheltered warmth of the dodger and using the kitchen timer to wake me at intervals to scan the horizon for anything. The AIS system was receiving and broadcasting and the radar had a guard-zone alarm set so I wasn't unduly worried despite the various cruise ships I could see on the horizon.
The wind alarm kept on going off, meaning that a wind shift of more than 10 degrees had occurred and I kept on getting up to cancel the alarm, since these alarms usually mean a light cloud-based wind shift has occurred and then the wind re-sets to the normal direction. In this case, the wind alarm meant that the wind kept on veering, and by sunrise when I went to check how much further I had to go I was dismayed to see that I was 40° off course and heading roughly towards the island of Saba.
Now came the miserable part of the trip, having drifted to the south of the course I had to get to St. Martin and now had both wind (at 15 knots constant speed, getting stronger as the day passed) and the waves (2 meters and also getting stronger) against me and after another 2 hours of sailing I realized that I would need the engine after all and ran it at 1800RPM which gave the boat a motorsailing speed of 6-7 knots against the waves. Every couple of minutes a big wave would cause the boat to slam and lose most of the speed, so the trip had turned a bit sour...
My ETA went from 1pm (with enough time to clear customs & immigration) to about 4pm (which is too late for Saturday in France) so I changed my destination to Grand Case instead of Marigot and anchored off the beach in great holding and in to 12 feet of water. Flying the "Q" flag I set up the dinghy, which I'd towed behind me empty of everything on about 100' of line, rested a bit until sunset then showered, changed and went ashore for a quickie dinner at one of the LoLos by the dock (Those are Locally Owned Locally Operated restaurants with BBQs outside and generally inexpensive prices).

Dinghy prepped after passage The dinghy was towed behind me sans engine, fuel tank. cushions, oars and other items; these are now back aboard so that I can dinghy ashore.
(2013-02-23 17:21:46 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/7.1, 1/50s] ISO 100 Focus 7.94m)
Dinghy prepped after passage
Yacht Akula in Grand Case The megayacht, which looks more like a work boat, Akula in Grand Case.
(2013-02-23 17:26:28 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/9.0, 1/50s] ISO 100 Focus ∞)
Yacht Akula in Grand Case
Zanshin at sunset in Grand Case Still flying the "Q" Flag after the passage from the BVI, Zanshin lies at anchor in Grand Case on St. Martin.
(2013-02-23 18:05:22 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/8.0, 1/200s] ISO 100 Focus ∞)
Zanshin at sunset in Grand Case
Grand Case panorama Grand Case shoreline seen from my anchorage position.
(2013-02-23 17:06:20 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/10.0, 1/50s] ISO 100 Focus 7.94m)
Grand Case panorama
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