This was the last day of our wonderful yacht charter sailing vacation to the BVI’s. :(
From beautiful Manchioneel Bay, Cooper Island, we set sail at about 8:30am to Road Town. The wind was again out of the east at about 15 knots and so the eta was approximately 9:30.
However, in calculating eta’s, one should also take into account contingencies. What proceeded to happen was that while raising the sails the reefing lines at the end of the boom were wrapped around the boom and were tangled. This became apparent when the sail was ¾ of the way up. In these conditions, it’s pretty dangerous to try to unravel the reefing lines and so we lowered the sail, tightened the main sheet and proceeded to untangle the reefing lines. We then pulled the reefing lines in tight at the gooseneck so that they would not tangle again on the way up. We then raised the sail. However once again the shape was wrong. We discovered that in releasing the reefing lines, like a bunch of amatures, we’d also released the outhaul allowing the clew of the sail to rise up and flap around. We lowered the sail again, tightened the outhaul, checked everything else then raised the sail again for the third time. As you can imagine this all took awhile. And all this time we were headed into the wind which was int he wrong direction to the Sunsail Base.
This all could have been prevented by tightening the mainsheet the day before. The calm overnight conditions along with the hype from coconut rugby lulled us into a false sense of security. If we’d tightened the main sheet the boom would not have kicked the dangling reefing lines up and over the boom. LESSON: Tighten the mainsheet at night – allow for contingencies.
Once sailing however, we were able to partially surf the waves and made good time to the base at about 7.5 knots to put us into the Sunsail Road Town base about 15 minutes late at 10:15am.
Since we were on a downwind run – I wanted to get the head sail out as far as possible and so did a few tricks to stop it being shadowed from the main so much.
So I took the lazy sheet and pulled it across to the outer leeward cleat.
This had the effect of moving the head sail out farther downwind and allowed it to catch more wind. To remove the lazy sheet from the cleat under tension, just tighten up on the working sheet.
When ever you’re on a sailboat, you should always be watching the loose sheets so that they do not catch on anything right before you tack or jibe. I took this photo of a sheet perfectly aligned for creating a havoc jibe.
Upon reaching RoadTown Harbor we doused and stowed the sails.
I like to take the halyard lines and pull them down under the winch or a cleat on the mast. In this manner the sail can be pulled down tight and there is no chance of the mainsail being blown out of the sail bag.
After all the maneuvering practice through out the week we perfectly backed the Catamaran into the slip and received a “well done” from the Sunsail dock hands.
We packed up our gear, got off the boat and had a FANTASTIC lunch at the new Moorings facilty next door. The food, facility and service there is highly recommended. The fast ferry to Charlotte Amalie was at 2:30pm.
Once in Charlotte Amalie we caught a local taxi to Mafolie Hotel were we stayed for two nights to wind down from the trip.
The Mafolie Hotel is – well – advertised a little better than it really is. However, having said that it has a very stunning view over the Harbor and the restaurant serves great food. The breakfast in the morning is pretty basic. It is not really practical to walk to town due to the distance and steep hill so you must catch a taxi each time. At 10:30am they provide a free taxi service downtown but you must ask for it the night before. The rooms are a bit old. It has a nice pool and a pool bar which closes at 5pm.
We relaxed that evening and told stories about one of the most fantastic trips that we’d taken to the BVI’s.