“Everything on the boat is either salty or sandy…or both”, Andy commented as we deflated the dinghy in Grand Turk. He was exaggerating a bit; there was only a little sand in the cockpit and almost none down below. The interior of the boat was pretty dry as well. The sand in the dinghy was worth it. Grand Turk had been a nice interlude as we made our way east from Key West to the British Virgin Islands and onward to the windward islands. The diving was phenomenal, the people were friendly, and the food was tasty (but expensive). Now the real sailing would begin.
We pulled up the anchor and motored over to the industrial dock where we had arranged to meet a fuel truck. After fueling up we started the engine only to have it die in a few seconds. We cast off anyway and set sail. The passage to the BVIs was all into the wind and we were close hauled the entire time. I have always found heeling the boat to be exhilarating, but staying heeled at 20-25 degrees for over six days is exhausting. Cooking was very difficult, but we took turns and had a hot meal most nights. I got covered with bruises and head butted the galley wall pretty hard once when I broke the “one hand for you and one hand for the boat” rule. We had some squalls with 25 knot winds but generally had about 15 knots (18 apparent) the whole way. I was very glad when the lights of Saint Thomas appeared and I knew we were close to our next stop.
Andy got the motor running again on the day we got to Jost van Dyke so we picked up a mooring ball. After all the pounding into the waves I was worried about water getting into the V-berth through the anchor locker. Unfortunately not only did we get water in there but the port window had been closed with a piece of string in it so it leaked as well. Now much of the boat contents were wet and salty (but still not sandy).
We spent six relaxing days in the BVIs, but time was passing and we needed to get to Grenada by August 1. We left and this time had a much better passage to Grenada. We were still close reaching, but not as tight on the wind so it we only had about 10-15 degrees of heel. We were able to make 120-140 miles a day and arrived in 3 1/2 days. Now we will be able to get some repairs done and hopefully also get a bimini made. I have to fly home and work for a month, but Andy will stay and work on the boat projects.