Crossing BVI to Bonaire

The crossing was planned to take 3 days and did so but we were forced to reduce sail and depower the yacht in order not to arrive too early in the dark, partly from higher winds than forecast but also because of the extent of assistance from the current.

We had wind from E to ESE and so had a good reach to sail with. We rigged a preventer according to a design on the AAC website,

and this worked a treat.

There were good winds all the way with some squalls with winds up to 33kn and bigger seas but nothing that a bit of shortening of sail couldn’t make comfortable.

We spent a lot of time admiring our new sail.

We also played with the new Hydrovane wind steering system. This worked well except when the current, which had been flowing mostly from NE to SW, started swinging around during the second half of the passage.

The repaired autohelm (we had bought two spare bolts and had them machined to the right size) worked well when needed.

We had some lovely sunsets and good moonlight, which is always a pleasure at sea.

The Iridium Go system worked well and I was able to chat with some family members en route by pairing the mobile phone. We were also able to get regular PredictWind weather data downloads. It was interesting that the weather predictions changed quite suddenly during the last third of the passage (higher winds and swell). We think that it might have been the effect of Tropical Storm Alberto, the first of the season, to our north west, creating stronger and more SE direction winds.

Hurricane Alberto

After rounding the north west end of the island in the early hours, we sailed and then motored up through the dawn towards the mooring field. There were no moorings available (no anchoring is allowed on Bonaire) and when we hailed the marina on VHF just after 08h00, they said they were full. They told us and a catamaran, Tall Cotton (of which folks more later), to wait outside whilst they tried to sort something out. Eventually, both vessels were allowed in and they gave us berths on the megayacht facilities for reasonable rates, which was very pleasant.

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