Just a quick note to say Anahata has arrived safe and sound in Virgin Gorda, BVIs yesterday Thursday 27 November. I have just completed my first ocean 850 mile passage. Dreams do come true. Or as my mate Tara would say Wousa we made it.
The last 18 hours were really interesting as one of the lines on my wind self steering chafed through just as it was getting dark. We still had over 100 miles to go.
As it is my only self steering the prospect was hand steering all the way to BVIs. Then thoughts out Slocum and other who had had just balanced their boats and got by without self steering to mind. There has to be a way.
At the time I had 3 reefs in main to cut down on the heel plus genoa partly furled. After an hour of playing around I discovered that if I let out the main as much as I could, I could let go the helm completely and the Anahata’s heading would wander a bit but would roughly stay on course.
I radioed Vince on Flight Plan, they were within VHF range and told him my great news and he responded that as a pilot they could do the same thing on a plane and the wandering settles down. Sure enough the heading’s wandering settled down pretty good. The net result was I was not going as fast as we could but we were going and in the right direction. Plus most important I could sleep. I did 1 hour naps and would check my heading and everything was ok, reset iphone timer and head back to sleep.
Ruffian by this stage was also in range and we all set a radio check in every 3 hours. You won’t believe how much that meant to me just having two other boats in the same area that I could chat to.
By 6 am wind and seas had backed off a bit and I was down to 4 knots. Time to get this puppy moving . Unfurled the genoa and unrefined the main for the first time in 5 days and we were off. Back up to 6.5 – 7knots. Down side boat no longer self steering it was going to be a long day.
Thankfully wind did not die as predicted and arrived in Virgin Gorda by 1 pm. I was met at the entrance by two dinghies from Salty dawg rally to help me come in as I could not put my engine in gear. I has suspected that it had picked up sargasso weed or something in the prop. These things happen when you have spent 6 days T 15 – 20 degrees heal. As it turned it was grass that had fouled the folding prop.
Anyway 2 salty dog guys Ron and Skip jump about and we sailed in through the entrance and when wind died the two dinghies, Bill from Saphire and Craig from insogno closed in, tied along each side of Anahata and acted as her engine. Mat from Gypsy another salty Dawger was in another dinghy stationed at a mooring ball ready to pass us the mooring pennant. Cruisers are amazing. I can’t say enough great things about them. Always ready to help as they know next time it could be themselves.
Sure I could have dropped anchor somewhere checked the prop and carried on but what better way than this kind of arrival. Thanks Salty Dawgers all.
Ok this wasn’t a short note. I will write about the entire trip when I have got Anahata sorted and relaxed a bit.