Visit the calendar master page for the daily blog entries
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.