28 November 2016 | Palm Beach, FL
Nov 7-30. preparation. The adventure begins. Due to a series of events it was time to have Petite Cordelia (PC) leave the Bahamas and to explore new areas in the Caribbean. The thought started as a seed in November 2015 when Narda and I set off to Cuba from Georgetown. It was time to leave the Bahamas after 5 years cruising this area. However, due to an equipment breakage we had to return to Freeport for the repairs and were stuck there waiting for the boatyard to get the work done for many months.
After a lot of thought and discussion, it was decided to get PC down to the BVIs. The next decision was whether to take the coastal route jumping island to island through the Bahamas to the Turks & Caicos, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and to the BVIs or to do the offshore route directly east from Florida out into the North Atlantic and the south to the BVIs. I had already done a delivery of another sailboat in 2014 by the coastal route and it was very hard battling the trade winds every day for 3 weeks. This time I decided to do the offshore route and to challenge the 1200 nautical miles from Palm Beach to the Virgin islands in one voyage. I had never done this before with Petite Cordelia and it is a somewhat intimidating voyage to undertake.
After many months in Freeport waiting for repairs and surviving Hurricane Matthew, Petitie Cordelia was ready to make her way back to Florida for her final outfitting. Marty, a retired tug captain came with me to get the boat ready to cross back to FL at the beginning of November. In only 2 days, we had her ready to go and we set off on Friday, November 11. It was a quick uneventful overnight crossing of the Gulf Stream and the conditions were perfect. During the crossing Marty informed me that because of his recovering knee he would not be able to undertake the larger voyage to the BVI's in the coming weeks. I was disappointed but respected his decision as I knew he was thinking of the overall team and how the trip would be physically challenging for everyone aboard.
While in Florida, i started the final outfitting. I tried to do the work from an anchorage in the north end of Lake Worth but it was too difficult having to constantly be taking the dinghy ashore to get parts and supplies. I moved to the Old Port Cove Marina in North Palm Beach. It was an exceptional marina with great facilities and staff and only a 10 minute walk to West Marine and a supermarket with free shuttle service provided.
Over a period of 2 weeks, I installed the Vesper AIS transponder, the Iridium GO satellite communications, 4 new Rolls 6v 230 amp batteries, repaired some damage from Hurricane Matthew, installed new sails and an offshore liferaft. It was a very busy 2 week period with only one afternoon/evening off to have a visit with Pierre and Heather who came up from Ft. Lauderdale. I also had to recruit a new crew member for the voyage and found Jeff, who sails out of Toronto and joined the team as our third member. The departure date was set for December 1, ironically the first day after the conclusion of the 2016 hurricane season.
The only things missing by November 28th was the provisioning and the arrival of the crew.