A Clumsy Trip to Some Crumbled Islands

The 2.5-day trip from Union Island to Tortola in the BVIs was spent sailing upwind in >30 knots, a little more than forecast. The boat was thus lying for the entire time at a 45 degree angle, meaning that all of our regular daily movements and positions needed to be altered somewhat. Opening cupboards on the windward side of the boat became extremely hazardous and generally resulted in a mad juggling act and a sigh of relief if successful or a mumbled expletive if not.

I learned rather abruptly that there is one cupboard that requires extreme care as carelessness can have disastrous results.

Oh, yes, the entire dry provisions shelf tumbled out box for box spreading flour, pasta, sugar, oatmeal and other crumbly delicacies on the floor to mix with the salt water residues we traipsed in on our feet. That stuff gets into every nook and cranny and sticks like glue to every surface. Botheration (and some other ruder things…).

And on top of this the auto pilot started acting shifty again. We generally do not install a preventer (a strong line to keep the boom/mainsail from gybing) when we were sailing upwind as the risk of an unplanned gybe is extremely small. However, at dusk on the second day, the auto pilot decided to take a break and the boat made an abrupt turn downwind. Before I could reach the wheel we gybed with a loud and alarming bang and the sail bag slung down with a thud as the lazy-jack lines had been sheared through with the force. Not a fine voyage.

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