The passage from the BVI to St. Martin is, in my opinion, the worst in the Caribbean. The wind, current and Atlantic waves are always against the intended direction of travel and I've given up tacking upwind and now motorsail the whole way and get it over with. This time was different. The forecast had north to northwest wind at 10 knots and although I didn't believe it for a second it meant that at least I wouldn't be fighting my way directly into the wind the whole way. I set off at dawn and motored to Neckar Island, where the real ocean wind would show its true direction. The wind was indeed from the NW but unfortunately was still weak at about 5 knots, so I motorsailed but when pointed at Antigua the boat rolled relentlessly and the sails flopped around, so I altered my plans and pointed the bow at St. Martin and that gave me a nice angle to wind. Within an hour the wind had freshened and I turned off the engine, sailing at 6-7 knots constant and later doing 8 knots with peak speeds just over 10 knots. The seas were calm apart from the irregular north swell but it remained by far the best passage I've done for that stretch and I dropped anchor in Grand Case after just over 11 hours sailing; my previous record was 14 hours and that was 100% motorsailing the whole way.
The side-effect of this wind and north swell was that the anchorage at Grand Case was very uncomfortable. As soon as I dropped anchor and thought about a post-passage libation I was regretting not having just continued onwards towards Antigua. But the boat was safely anchored and I was hungry, so I made dinner aboard (holding the plate so it wouldn't slide around) and went into a fitful sleep. By 02:00AM I realized I wasn't going to get real sleep so I weighed anchor and departed the anchorage.


Dinghy towing at sea The yellow line is 80 feet or so long and allows me to tow the dinghy, outboard removed, in most sea conditions
(2017-02-21 15:33:30 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/5.6, 1/320s] ISO 100)
Dinghy towing at sea
Sombrero Island The uninhabited island of Sombrero belongs to Anguilla and is the northernmost point of the Caribbean.
(2017-02-21 15:34:21 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/6.3, 1/1250s] ISO 100)
Sombrero Island
Approaching Anguilla and St. Martin The passage from the BVI to St. Martin was, for the first time, a lot of fun and easy. The wind was from the NW and my average speed quite fast all the way.
(2017-02-21 15:32:23 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/5.6, 1/100s] ISO 100)
Approaching Anguilla and St. Martin
Maltese Falcon behind  Blowing Rock The megayacht Maltese Falcon passing behind Blowing Rock off Anguilla while under engine
(2017-02-21 16:38:32 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/6.3, 1/500s] ISO 100)
Maltese Falcon behind Blowing Rock
AIS plot of the Maltese Falcon Those engines are probably only idling along, too.
(2017-02-21 16:39:44 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/18.0, 1/30s] ISO 100)
AIS plot of the Maltese Falcon
Approaching St. Martin The island of St. Martin is steadily growing dead ahead as I approach it
(2017-02-21 15:33:47 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/5.6, 1/250s] ISO 100)
Approaching St. Martin
Eleonora under Sail Schooners, with their multitude of sails, always look impressive when underway.
(2017-02-21 17:06:11 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/6.3, 1/320s] ISO 100)
Eleonora under Sail
Sunset in Grand Case This was the view that greeted me soon after the passage was finished - while it was a nice sunset the anchorage was very rolly
(2017-02-21 18:01:24 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/5.6, 1/800s] ISO 100)
Sunset in Grand Case
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