Vivaldi Passages

Welcome to our cruise. I would try to share as much as I can of our experience of our sail experience from Marion to Guadeloupe and wherever I sail

Vessel Name: Vivaldi
Vessel Make/Model: Hinckley 51
Hailing Port: Marion, MA
11 April 2018 | Emerald Bay Marina - Exumas
26 February 2018 | Nanny Cay Marina, BVI
16 February 2018 | Jolly Harbour, Antigua
11 November 2017 | Jolly Harbour Marina, Antigua
10 November 2017 | 20 06.2'N:61 38.9'W,
07 November 2017 | 28 03.2'N:62 46.2'W,
05 November 2017 | 32 17.9'N:64 36.5'W,
01 November 2017 | 38 09.9'N:69 59.5'W,
16 October 2017 | 41 42.4'N:70 45.3'W, Marion, Ma
08 June 2014
29 May 2014 | 40 12'N:71 22'W,
27 May 2014 | 37 52.9'N:71 36.3'W,
23 May 2014 | 28 21.4'N:79 56.3'W,
05 March 2014
19 January 2014 | Antigua
17 January 2014 | 17 22.5'N:60 00.3'W,
15 January 2014 | 17 31.3'N:54 31.8'W,
13 January 2014 | 17 53.7'N:48 36.6'W,
Recent Blog Posts
11 April 2018 | Emerald Bay Marina - Exumas

BVI to Bahamas

After spending a delightful week with Angela, Thomas and Maria Cristina cruising from Peter Island to Trellis Bay, to the Baths where we couldn’t swim, to Anegada, to the deserted Virgin Gorda, to White Beach on Guana Island, to Great Harbor on Joist Van Dyke, to Sopers Hole back in the BVI where I [...]

26 February 2018 | Nanny Cay Marina, BVI

Full of obstacles from Antigua to BVI

We departed Jolly Harbour on Saturday to sleep outside the Harbour and have an earlier start the next day. I already knew that the skills of my crew were diverse and minimal but, I had accepted the reality of the situation.

16 February 2018 | Jolly Harbour, Antigua

The crew...

Since my arrival in Antigua in November, I’ve spent most of my sailing thinking time searching for crew for the next legs of the trip. It has not been easy. I exhausted my sailor friends who have their own boats, works and lives. So, I started to look for crew outside my circle. I tried the OCC who [...]

BVI to Bahamas

11 April 2018 | Emerald Bay Marina - Exumas
Gian Luca Fiori
After spending a delightful week with Angela, Thomas and Maria Cristina cruising from Peter Island to Trellis Bay, to the Baths where we couldn’t swim, to Anegada, to the deserted Virgin Gorda, to White Beach on Guana Island, to Great Harbor on Joist Van Dyke, to Sopers Hole back in the BVI where I prepared Vivaldi for the crossing to the Bahamas. The weather during the week was perfect, 10kn of wind from the east most of the time, which made for a nice sailing cruise. It was impressive to be here after Hurricane Irma. The Bitter End was totally destroyed, the mooring field was there but there were no boats on those moorings. There were 20-30 boats at that end of the bay. Anegada was packed and we end up anchoring next to the missing green mark where you make the left turn into the harbor. At Sopers Hole, same story, no fuel, no electricity, no docks. Pusser’s restaurant and the Oasis Café were the only place functioning plus the yard that had plenty of boats to repair. Thomas and Maria Cristina were great company. Fun and plenty of interesting conversations. The week put a bug on Thomas to sail south during the winter soon.

As I waited for the crew to arrive, I did groceries, rebuilt the deckwash pump, replaced a hose that was leaking fresh water at the vacuflush and changed the propeller zinc. I lost the first one trying to do it with just my lungs, but with the tank the replacement was very easy despite of all the scuba preparation for such a short project.

My crew arrived on Tuesday. First, Joe F who had sailed with me from Antigua, then Thomas H and Joe D who I picked up from OPO. It was full OPO crew with varied experienced. All of them have sailed in the ocean somehow.

We left Sopers Hole to Joist Van Dyke to top off the fuel tanks and sailed towards Turk & Caicos. The route proposed by Chris Parker took us inside leaving T&C on Starboard and treading through the South Bahamas Islands. I was thinking to go outside of everything and questioned Chris Parker. His response was that it was a longer route and I had to push downwind. I decided to go with his suggestion but in retrospective, we could have sailed more and motored less. We spent 6 days with less than 36 hours of sailing time. The wind was light and downwind. On our first night out, we hit something in middle of the night while sailing. Vivaldi jumped up twice like we were aground, the speed dropped to 2kn and rebuild to 5kn; another thud and we were back at 6kn. I looked over the board and I didn’t see anything and we were in really deep water. It must have been a log or similar. So, we proceed as we were since there was nothing that we could do; it was a pitch black night. The wind died and we motored slow to avoid stopping at T&C for fuel but it was too close to call and I end up stopping anyway for fuel at Turtle Cove marina. We tried Blue Haven marina on the Leward cut that was easy to navigate. However, even if they had fuel at the dock, it was too high with menacing overhanging concrete, so it was not reachable. I decided to go back to Turtle Cove where they sent a guide to tread us trough the reef for at least a mile. After filling up, we had lunch at the restaurant nearby and left at 2pm with no breeze at all on a very hot afternoon. We motored all night and at dawn. We changed course and we sailed nicely on a reach until we cleared Atkins Island and then wing and wing, the whole day towards Long Island. The wind died at night and we motored the rest of the way to arrive to Emerald Bay marina around 9am next day. Believe it or not, it was an 800 mile passage. Joe D was an avid fisherman and worked the rod big time, but we only caught a good size Mahi for two meals. One afternoon, we also had two Yellow Fin tunas swimming along the boat for a long time. It was strange to see tunas so close and for so long. We tried to get them enticed to the hook but, they were not interested. Even more strange.

These passages are not as fun when sailing with unknown crew. The three of them were nice people with very diverse personalities and sailing skills. I needed to be alert all the time which was not a big problem. I was lucky that there was not too much wind so the navigation was basically to stay awake. The watches 2 on/ 6 off at night and 3 hours on during the day worked very well and provided me plenty of sleep. Most of them are learning how to sail at different degrees and I’m sure that they are and will become better sailors with experience. They have the most important ingredient that is the love to the sea

Full of obstacles from Antigua to BVI

26 February 2018 | Nanny Cay Marina, BVI
Gian Luca Fiori
We departed Jolly Harbour on Saturday to sleep outside the Harbour and have an earlier start the next day. I already knew that the skills of my crew were diverse and minimal but, I had accepted the reality of the situation.

The anchoring outside the bay helped me to train Joe in the art of deploying my anchor, and to prepare Vivaldi for an earlier departure. We left at 6:30, got the main doubled reefed, and 3/4 Genoa out and had a beautiful sail downwind to St. Barth. Joe showed me that he was able to steer Vivaldi on a course. We arrived to St. Barth and anchored in a spot that was good for the night. The wind was up around 20kn but the anchor held without a problem.

Next morning, the first problem was that the little engine for the dinghy didn't start. I waited to get a ride from someone but, Murphy's law in action, no dinghies were in town. After a while, I attempted to row with 15-20 gust of upwind; surprisingly, I made it to customs and I got the clearing. As soon as I was back aboard, we left to Marigold in St. Martin. I got a dock reservation at the Marina Fort Louis so I didn't have to row to clear customs. The ride was downwind and very comfortable until we turned the sw tip of St. Martin to work upwind the last 1.5miles. It took almost three hours to power to the Marina. The wind was up to 25-30 and we didn't make any headway in very choppy seas. At the Marina, the help was very skilled and they assisted me to get Vivaldi in a tight spot with cross winds. Finally a night where we could sleep without worrying of dragging anchor. The clearance was done at the marina with every one ready to help. The impact of the hurricane was very visible. A lot of boats damaged, half sunk or destroyed. There were boats sunk right at the dock and more than half of the marina was damaged. In town, a lot of damaged building in the process of being fixed.

My weather picture was challenging. I had to cover almost 90 Miles to get to the BVI. I was planning to leave on Wednesday morning super earlier but we had to move from the marina on Tuesday evening and anchor in the bay. I had to lift the anchor at 4am with all the issues from an inexperienced crew that was not familiar with my anchor. In addition, the forecast for Wednesday was showing 30kn wind plus lots of squalls. Instead the forecast for Tuesday night was still decent at 25kn without little squall activity. I decided to leave Tuesday evening straight to the BVI. The course was a wide reach so with the Genoa half unfurled, we were moving comfortably at 7kn. With the autopilot on, it was smooth sailing all the way to BVI. The only excitement of the night was a close encounter with a cargo ship called Midnight Chief. I called them and they confirmed that we were crossing port-to-port. However, he was getting very close and I radio them again and he agreed to give us more room. They still crossed us very close, less than a mile away.

Knowing that we had strong winds on Wednesday, I decided to clear customs at Road Town in Tortola. What a nightmare! I had to anchor in the bad area of the bay; then, row to a dinghy dock were the ferries used to arrive but everything was destroyed by the hurricane. Then walk to the Immigration and Customs building that nobody new exactly were it was located because it was destroyed also by the hurricane. There was no building; it was a kiosk where 7 officers were cramped to do clearance for the Ferry from St. Thomas and pleasure vessels. They had to direct their discomfort to me. They were not welcoming, they were demanding about the rest of the crew and the worst part, they wanted to see an exit airline ticket that I didn't have. She sequestered our passports and told me that I had to come back before 2:30 pm with the tickets because she was going home. In addition, I had also two fill two forms in triplicates but they didn't have a copy machine or carbon copy paper so he told me that was my problem. I had to walk back to the boat, a couple of miles, row back and start buying tickets. My retired flight attendant crew travels on stand-by so she didn't have what we expect to be a ticket. The only concession that I got from the customs office was that they let me use one of the nine empty moorings in front of their kiosk. After getting the tickets, moving Vivaldi close to the Kiosk, rowing to the dock with my flight attendant crew, showing the tickets on our phone that she didn't even look, we were able to be accepted partially into the BVI. I still had to fill the two forms for the $200 temporary import duty which I eventually did two days later.

The day still didn't ended throwing me more obstacles. I called the marina to tell them that I arrived two day earlier and they told me that they didn't have space until Friday when my reservation started. So I decided to go to Peter Island and anchor or moor there. But at that moment, a super squall unleashed with all the force 30-35kn, pouring rain that was like needles in my face, visibility down to a fraction of a mile. We arrived to Great Bay in Peter Island and we picked up a mooring with the squall in full force. After making sure that the mooring was going to hold us, double lines and, we finally had a rest. The wind kept hauling during the night but the mooring was good.

Regarding my crew, it was challenging. The skills were minimal but over the week, I was able to use the strengths of each one to assist me. It required patience and grace and acknowledgement that they were aboard voluntarily to help me.

The crew...

16 February 2018 | Jolly Harbour, Antigua
Gian Luca Fiori
Since my arrival in Antigua in November, I’ve spent most of my sailing thinking time searching for crew for the next legs of the trip. It has not been easy. I exhausted my sailor friends who have their own boats, works and lives. So, I started to look for crew outside my circle. I tried the OCC who has a sponsorship youth program but the 6-8 candidates offered didn’t work out. I started to look at web sites; basically, they are dating sites for sailors. I posted on Crewseekers.com where I got several responses but most of them where from candidates located in Europe that were interested in the long legs but not the short ones. I wanted to use the short legs to meet new people before embarking on a long leg with a person that I don’t know and possible, we didn’t like each other. The search was not progressing in the right direction and I was getting disappointed of not being able to sail long distances because of lack of crew. While I was watching the divisional game of the Patriots at a bar in Jolly Harbour, I met a Captain of a larger sailing boat and he recommended OPO, Offshore Passage Opportunities. I found them and spoke to Hank who runs personally this dating service. After understanding my needs which are not unique, he sent an email to his 400 members and I started to get responses. These candidates were located in the US, mostly retired, average age around 55 and with some varied sailing experience. I interviewed 8 of them and selected five to try.
I’m off to the BVI with Donna and Joe. I’m planning to day sail from island to island and learn to sail with unfamiliar crew.
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Vivaldi's Photos - Main
Nov 2017
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Created 13 November 2017
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Created 27 October 2009

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