A Travellerspoint blog

Jost Van Dyke

N18 26.509 W64 45.086

sunny 80 °F


This has to be trophy home heaven. This picture is Mosquito Island, which forms the NW barrier of Gorda Sound. Every home on the island, and there may be a dozen, possible more, has to have cost millions since each yard of cement had to get to the island by vessel. We saw a lot of these in the Bahamas, which are much more accessible from the USA. Regardless, I think that these islands must have 10 times the number of homes. Saw even more on one side of St. John in the USVI as we sailed past. Very few are near the water's edge, which eliminates hurricane storm surge.


This morning we woke a little later than usual, that means about 0630. I ran through my checklist; this boat has lots of boat stuff, some new to me. That didn't take too long and by 0700 we were ready to get underway, except no one was around to help with the lines. No hay problema. The wind was helping, pushing us away from the seawall. The boat got crooked the wrong way, fixed that and we were off for Jost Van Dyke.

First thing, after clearing the harbor into open water, deal with mooring lines and fenders. On the 38-ft. boat there was room for that in the lazarette. Bigger boat, the lazarettes are completely full, so less room. The oxymoron of bigger boat, less space, continues. So, Carol and I are on the deck, the boat on autopilot, while we tied everything on the handholds just after the mast. Nothing new to this, it's what we did on our boat. However, in these parts that makes us look like low renters but who cares.

This boat has the same B&G navigation system as the 38-ft. boat. So, no learning curve should have been necessary, except that one was. The same system, displayed the data boxes differently, with no waypoint information. I must have spent 30-minutes trying to find a way to rearrange the data boxes. No luck although I knew it could be done. There is an obscure gauge on the port side, one of which I knew nothing, not even why it is there. Started scrolling though those menus and, voilá, there it was: the perfect display of all waypoint data: direction, distance and time.

All of this stuff must have taken an hour. Now we were ready for a new and improved mainsail adventure. Our mast was 51-ft. so this one must be at least 60-ft. Could be more. My guess is that the sail is at least 45-ft. top to bottom. It can take a while to raise this sail a few inches at a time. On competitive racing boats, think America's Cup, they have guys called grinders, whose sole job is to work the winches. They all look like linebackers, something to which I have never been compared. Eventually, we got it to-block. Carol, for the first time recently, actually held the boat in irons which made the whole thing easier.

We passed through a bit of the Sir Francis Drake Channel, and headed for the off ramp: the Narrows. Not overly narrow, to me anyway. The wind was right over the stern, but was bouncing a little from side to side which made it impossible to set the foresail. It would luff to one side and then luff to the other. Having proven that we can sail with just the foresail, today took in the foresail and we proved that we could sail with just the mainsail and do it equally well. Maybe the final exam is to use both sails. Might be too hard for us.


We made surprisingly good time through the Narrows, passing small BVI islands to starboard and USVI islands to port. This is Whistling Cay, forming part of Francis Bay, a very sheltered anchorage in the USVI, which may have had 20 boats in it as we passed by. At the end of the Narrows we made a northerly turn. It was dramatic. With the wind over the stern, the boat cruised like a luxury car on the interstate... smooth and quiet. When we came around to the new point of sail, a close haul, again, it was like my 4-wheel drove truck going up our driveway ... loud and bouncy. And the thing is that the speeds over ground on both points of sail were about the same.


Today, the wind was more like what we have experienced. 10-15 knots with gusts, down from 15-20 knots with gusts. Back in the day, if the winds were too high we would hunker down and wait for a better day. In that respect it was an easier day for us. Sailing is work; the higher the wind speed, the more the work to do it.

We were moored on the second pass at a mooring ball, about noon. By 1300 we had Carol ashore, at the clinic to have her stitches removed. No infections so she should be good. Asked if she wanted to celebrate with dinner on shore. She demurred, too tired. Anyway, this is her new stitchless look. Closed mouth, of course, a tooth is broken. Strange picture, she actually does have clothes on. This evening I almost blew it. Getting ready to dive into the water and remembered that my hearing aids were in. I really cannot form a picture of Great Harbour from those years ago. Kind of fuzzy. However, I do remember that we ate at Foxy's because I had a t-shirt with Foxy's on it. There is still a Foxy's, a venerable place by now, although the real Foxy may be different than the one in the early 90's.

This place holds little allure other than noisy people at a bar serving not very good beer. I think tomorrow we will head to Anegada, a longish trip of about 25nm.

Posted by sailziveli 21:57 Archived in British Virgin Islands Tagged islands sailing british boating virgin bvi

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