Skip to main content

Decisions, Decisions Page 2

"If I were on my boat, I wouldn’t go out today,” says Harry from the wheel. Of course he wouldn’t. Harry and Lyn Wey—friends, neighbors and lifelong sailors—keep their boat in Maine, where even a tiny splash could freeze you in the winter. Harry, who is on his first Virgin Islands charter, hasn’t quite tuned in to the essential facts of Caribbean sailing: any splash will be as warm as bathwater
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

It’s Time for a Tropical Drink

We drop off our skipper at Trellis Bay, circle around Guana Island and head for Jost Van Dyke. By mid-afternoon, when we reach the entrance to Great Harbour, the bay is clearly full. We try White Bay, which isn’t all that big, and it too is full. Back we go to Little Harbour, the easternmost anchorage on the island, and see, glittering in the distance, some empty moorings. Sold! It is indeed time for a tropical drink, with or without an umbrella, so we dinghy in to Abe’s By the Sea in search of Painkillers. Pain is further reduced when we learn that there’s no charge for the mooring if we have dinner at Abe’s. Sold, again.

Our drinks at Abe’s are as desired, the dinner is tasty, our onboard cooks are pleased to have a night out, and the anchorage is placid all through the night.

Note: If you buy something—say, a meal or gas or water—you often get something in return. This might be a mooring, or water, or garbage disposal. It’s worth asking about.

The Circumnavigation Continues

It’s fair to say that most BVI charters involve a circumnavigation of Tortola, and some passages between islands can take somewhat longer than you think they will. We thread our way through Thatcher Island Cut, wait out a nasty squall in Soper’s Hole, and cross the Sir Francis Drake Channel for a stop at the Indians. There we pick up a National Parks Trust mooring, admire the view and think about snorkeling. There are a number of other boats there, but few people in the water and no volunteers from our boat. After numerous years of telling my children not to swim alone, I can’t quite bring myself to jump in and swim by myself.

Peter Island has a number of good anchorages. We pick up a mooring in Great Harbour on the eastern side after consulting with the chart and, once safe for the night, jump into the dinghy and go ashore. Ocean’s Seven is a restaurant I’ve never visited and it’s happy hour or close enough. The restaurant’s menu looks quite attractive, but we’re still working on our provisions. Instead, we park ourselves in their beach chairs, drink our colorful tropical drinks and play in the water.

We spend our last full day on a mooring in the Bight on Norman Island, overcome by sloth (or, more likely, sorrow that all good things must come to an end). We’re taking our chances here, I think. The Willie T., normally a rowdy, noisy bar, has risen from the ashes of a nasty fire and is open for business again; fortunately, it’s quite quiet, and there aren’t many boats in the anchorage. In the absence of boat traffic, we swim off the boat, do a little snorkeling, swim ashore and wander around.

The Beginning of the End…and the End

For some reason obvious only to them (I think it’s a gender thing), the guys are anxious to get going—back to The Moorings base—even though the whole day is ours. We’re gone from the Bight by 0930 and have such a perfect sail across the channel that we turn around, sail back to the Bight, and sail to the base again. Still, we accomplish some things: we dispose of extra food, pack, do our boat checkout, and still have time to go to Road Town for a look around and lunch at the Roti Palace. Rotis, ubiquitous in parts of the Caribbean, are a kind of wrap filled with a curry of your choice (chicken, with or without bones; meat or seafood, usually conch; or vegetables) and served with chutney or hot sauce if you’re brave. We have dinner at the base at Charlie’s restaurant, named for the late founder of The Moorings, Charlie Carey, and it’s good.

Related

Rescue

Cruising: Safety Lessons Learned

It’s not often that sailors get a chance to put their rescue and MOB training to the test, rarer still that they do as quickly as newbie California sailor Khosrow “Koz” Khosravani did recently. If and when an emergency situation ever arises, though, it pays to be prepared. This ...read more

01-LEAD-'22.01.10_FALKEN-Maiden_Emma-Bow

At the Helm: Sailplans

The first thing you notice when you look at the sailplan for the Farr 65, Falken, which Mia and I recently added to the fleet here at 59-North, is the sheer number of headsails. Falken was built in 1999 as a racing boat to go around the world, and the crew would have carried the ...read more

01-PR-2-Throwing-it-Back-_©LaurensMorel

Racing Class Reunion

Where does an old VO70 go to retire? Right back to the racing circuit, apparently. This spring saw a remarkable contingent of Volvo Ocean Race one designs back on the water and duking it out on the Caribbean circuit. While it’s no surprise that some of the VO65 teams intending ...read more

05-Sailboats-moored-in-sheltered-waters-off-of-Kärrsön

Charter: Sweden

With 2,000 miles of coastline, 270,000 islands and seemingly countless bays and inlets, Sweden is truly a sailor’s paradise. One of the top sailing destinations here is the archipelago just outside the country’s second largest city Gothenburg (locally known as Göteborg), on the ...read more

fa70b13c-8eec-4c35-b30f-f89e497b469a

Crowdsourcing Age-of-Sail Weather Data

Although big, multi-million-dollar projects like the Large Hadron Collider and the human genome project with their legions of PHD’s tend to grab headlines, there’s still a part of play for the “citizen scientists” of the world. Amateur birders have long contributed to an ...read more

01-LEAD-Ultime-race-Yvan-Zedda,-OC-Sport-Pen-Duick

Ultims to Race Solo Around the World

For years now, maxi-trimarans, both solo-sailed and fully crewed, have been racing the clock on their own around the world in an effort to set ever faster records for the world’s fastest circumnavigation under sail. Back in 2000-01 there was also a no-holds-barred ...read more

P1-01-LEAD-018_CARYNBDAVIS_AMISTAD

Juneteenth on the Water

Discovering Amistad and Mystic Seaport Museum have partnered to organize their third annual Juneteenth festival, featuring concerts, speakers and a reflection on the lasting legacy of racial injustice in America. Declared a National Holiday in 2021, Juneteenth celebrates the end ...read more

Lead-2021-01-17-vue-03-34-av-tb-01

New Multihulls for 2022

Lagoon 51 In keeping with many of the more recently launched models created by French multihull builder Lagoon, the Lagoon 51 is all about comfort, “en plein air,” in particular, as the French might say. Topside, a whopping 80 percent of the boat’s flybridge is given over to ...read more