Where in the world?

Where in the world are Mindy and Reinhart now?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Rockhoppers of the Caribbean

This blog post is being published via satellite phone with our super secret weather email account. More to come on that subject some day.

We are currently anchored in warm and sunny Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. We arrived late Tuesday night and headed straight to bed, and spent a couple of busy days checking in with customs & immigration and cleaning up Rockhopper. It always surprises us how long it takes to desalt the entire boat and bring it back from passage mode into cruising mode.

The winds for our passage were much stronger than expected most of the time, so we sailed faster than expected once we got through that pesky Gulf Stream. The winds were almost always coming from ahead of us, so we also spent a lot of that time heeled over. The waves were naturally higher with the increased winds speeds, and they sometimes slowed us down; they were well spaced, but 10-12' at some point in the trip, and kept Rockhopper rolling at interesting angles. Of course there would also be those times when the winds went from 20 knots to 5 knots for a little break, and we were happy to motor at that point and replenish the battery bank (and take showers!).

We planned on 10-14 days and it was looking like we'd make it in 8 days, but then the winds and waves stopped cooperating. We tried to sail close to the wind then we tried to motor into the wind and waves, and nothing quite worked. The only course that worked was sailing east, which we needed to do considering the predicted winds later in the trip. It is disheartening though, sailing off in the wrong direction and getting further from your mark. We lollygagged 95 nautical miles one of those days, but only 12 nm of those were towards our goal. Our wind vane was a great asset at this time; we set her to keep us as close to the wind as possible, and she turned us with the winds as they became more favorable.

Once we got far enough east we could close haul our course down to the islands, with a little help from the motor when the winds dropped every once in a while. Overall it was a comfortable (bearable?) trip of 1312nm. Out of about 251 hours total we only motored 74. Reinhart became seasick the first night, and remained that way for 12 hours, Mindy was grumpy for about 20 hours and only cried about an hour total…all in all a good show for us.

You can check out our track at the link in the post below. Those nice straight courses are sailed by our Al, our power hungry autopilot. The meandering eastern course in the bottom third is steered by Windy, the earth friendly wind vane.

Now we are enjoying watching the charter boats come in and out of the popular anchorage every morning, and playing in the water in the afternoon. It is fun to spy on everyone getting gussied up for a big night at Foxy's. We've walked around "town" a bit, but it is time for a big hike over the hill to stretch these inactive legs; we need a little more activity than swimming laps around the boat. We don't have wifi out in the anchorage currently, so if you are waiting on an email reply from us, we'll try to get to you as soon as we are back on land.

Rockhopper Anchorages:
34°37.483N 076°32.880W; Cape Lookout, NC; 29Jan16
18°26.462N 064°45.060W; Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke; BVI; 09Feb16

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