20 May 2018
We have had a lovely time in Bermuda - such history, such scenery and quaint buildings from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
St George's presents its 18th century history with stocks and pillory and the reenactment of ducking a "scold and a gossip" - we are not sure if it is about demonstrating the advances in women's rights over the last 300 years [Careful. Ed].
Our friend Des arrived on Thursday and we took the ferry to the Naval Dockyard which has a superb museum in the Commissioner 's House. Then the bus to Hamilton for lunch and meeting a man near the Assembly we were ushered inside to hear an adjournment debate. Hm ... same the world over.
Now we are ready to head for the Azores. We will need to get in some northing to pick up wind but not too far north otherwise we will get too much wind possibly followed by easterlies. So we have a tricky course to sail but we have invested in the services of an experienced forecaster and router. Fingers crossed.
Departure then is Monday 21st all being well. We hope to arrive in the Azores around early June ... We are all looking forward to the trip and arrival in Flores.
A bit of tourismo then
14 May 2018
St George’s is absolutely charming with lots of buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries, so it is a delight to wander around.
The anchorage is quite busy as the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (Europe) is gathering for a departure on 16th May – some 35 boats. In addition, there have been some tall ships in and were an amazing sight as they departed the harbour with plenty of sail aloft.
We had a walk over to Fort St Catherine and Tobacco Bay where there are excellent, sheltered beaches.
Minnie B is getting even more into ocean passage mode with stowage and sail locations being made secure and easy.
We eagerly await the arrival of our friend Des on Thursday – he is accompanying us to the Azores and then his wife Alma is joining us for an Azores cruise. We will have a couple of days more tourismo with Des and then look for weather to set off.
14 May 2018
The anchor was raised in Marsh Harbour at 1015 on Sunday 6th May and we motor-sailed to North Man O’War pass which was in benign condition as the swell and waves had eased and changed direction from East to SSE.
Then it was out with the sails in 12-18kts wind SSE, making 6.5-7.0kts but then in the afternoon something happened to our speed and even with 18kts wind we could not make over 6.0kts. This persisted overnight and it was clear that we had snagged something. With >2metres seas, going in the water with mask and snorkel would have been somewhat hairy so we decided we would stop the boat and gingerly engage astern to see if what we had caught would fall away. However, we were smiled on and by 0700 on Monday our unwanted attachment had dropped away and we were making 7.0-7.5kts on a reach.
With seas on the beam we were subject to the occasional [One person’s “occasional” is another person’s “regular”] wave splashing over and around the sprayhood into the cockpit. As we were no longer in the Tropics the temperature was low 20s so we deployed the infill between the bimini and the sprayhood and the windward side panel of the cockpit enclosure. Hm … dry …
From Monday to Thursday morning we had 100 per cent cloud cover so our world was grey. We had just one squall on Wednesday with gusts to 33kts and a period when the wind veered to SW with sustained winds of 25-28kts entailing setting up our downwind rig of poled out genoa and main with preventer. However, after three hours or so the wind backed to SSE and eased to 12-6kts. We left the pole in place and just brought the genoa across to the port side.
Thursday morning brought us blue skies and this was quite cheering. The wind veered again to the south and stayed there until we made landfall at 1130 on Friday 11t May.
We had sailed 769nm at an average speed of 6.3kts. This was about 35nm further than the rhumb line as until Wednesday we had been keen to stay south of 28degN to avoid an area of squalls and thunderstorms.
We had set up an SSB net at 0800 with the other four boats that left Abacos at the same time. This was good because we shared position and conditions information, and checked how we were all doing.
Unfortunately the crews on three of the boats had bouts of sea-sickness for the first three days, but then the sea was particularly uncomfortable as there had been three days of >20kts easterly wind before we left.
Bermuda Radio calls up every boat approaching, at 20-30nm out – we had given advance notification of our arrival so we were expected and they had all our personal and boat details. Clearance was straightforward but the authorities insist that you go alongside their berth before going to anchor. This can be fun, especially when there are several boats arriving about the same time. Out of our little flotilla, only the two catamarans got in ahead of us and the other two monohulls were a few hours behind.
Overall the trip rated OK – not a WOW and not awful. We were glad to have arrived.
Weather to sail eh?
05 May 2018
With the weather forecast still unfavourable we returned to Elbow Cay for a couple of nights before moving back to Marsh Harbour as we now had a weather forecast that would enable us to leave for Bermuda.
So, having completed final provisioning, checked the weather forecast for the umpteenth time, and got Minnie B in offshore sailing mode we are ready for the off – Sunday 6th May and hope to arrive in St George’s, Bermuda on 11th or 12th May. We have some company on the trip – three German boats and another British boat, but some may leave on Monday. We have organised an SSB net for our small flotilla and we will be getting weather information en route. So, we seem to be good to go.
Great Guana Cay
05 May 2018
We moved on the 13nm to Crossing Bay with good shelter from NE to SE winds on 28th April. Here we cleaned the bottom of Minnie B and changed the propeller shaft anode.
This was another return visit and we had to go to the infamous Nipper’s on Sunday. Needing some exercise and rather than dinghy the two miles down the coast we went ashore in the bay and walked but we had not gone far when a local man working on the desalination plant for the cay stopped his golf buggy (the de rigeur mode of transport) and offered us a lift.
So. Nipper’s – the go-to place on Sunday for music and drinking and lots of people – with great views on the Atlantic Ocean side and a lovely beach too … and loud music and loud drinking …
Our exercise on the return to Crossing Bay was also cut short when a crew member from a megayacht stopped his golf buggy and offered us a lift …
Hope Town, Elbow Cay
05 May 2018
This is the home of the famous lighthouse with its red and white hoops and a light that is still fuelled by kerosene, the local people resisting all attempts to convert to electricity.
On 26th April we anchored outside the harbour and dinghied in to visit the lighthouse and the museum as well as taking a stroll on the Atlantic side of the cay. Hope Town is so picturesque with candy coloured houses, some with elaborate gingerbread/lambrequin features. However, most of the houses seem to be available to rent and there has been massive development since our visit 15 years ago.