Wednesday, November 14, 2007

We are in the Virgin Islands

Howdy! We sailed over to the Virgin Islands to attend two charter yacht shows. The first one was at Village Cay, Tortola and the second one at the new Yacht Haven Grande Marina, St. Thomas.

We were delayed leaving St. Maarten because we decided to replace the crappy Forespar winch we had for our roller furling jib with a small Harken. We bought a pair of the small Forespar winches to control our boom brake on the port side, and the furling jib on the starboard side. Shortly after installing them they both froze up. You could get the drum to turn a bit if you were highly motivated and stressed, and saying some magic words. It says not to lubricate. Bob has taken them apart but there are not any noticible defects. It was well worth delaying our passage by a day to buy & install the Harken as it works properly and it is now easy to reef in the jib.

Then we were delayed another day because we had to patch the dinghy... 'nuf said about that :)

There was not much wind a few miles after leaving St. Maarten and it was directly behind us. We arrived around 5pm at Baugher's Bay at the opening to Roadtown harbor on Tortola and took Promenade's mooring (Thanks, guys!). We had to take the dinghy off the deck, mount the motor, and get our papers together but we were very pleased that we made it over to Customs & Immigration by 5:30pm. We found out that overtime rates begin at 4:30pm and we were told that Sunday costs double for Immigration (not sure about Customs). I think we paid about $28 to clear in.

We went to the show the next morning and started our day with Yes Dear who had invited us for breakfast (very good!). Even though it was the last day of the show, we saw all of the boats that we had planned to see. Oh yes, except for one big cat that was too busy to see us and after finishing the can of Coke they had left us with in the cockpit we decided to go see other boats. Never got back to them since they were at the end of the dock. We'll probably go aboard at the Antigua show.

The next morning we left for St. Thomas whose show was to begin the following day. There was just a breath of wind as we left Roadtown and zip wind later. We did reef down once (hurray new winch!) as we had a short squall followed by no wind. You know the type where you spin in a circle? Well, at least the current was going the right direction :) We decided to turn on the electric motor and after about 2 minutes we felt a light kiss of a breeze on our cheeks and switched it off. Our CAL-34 is really impressive that it can sail in such light winds... our charter friends with their big 52-72 footers can take quite a bit to get moving. AND I must say that Bob did an excellent job of keeping a steady and proper course in such conditions as well.

We arrived in Long Bay, St. Thomas just after midnight and even before we put the anchor down we were greeted with the sound of a gunshot... welcome back!