2007 Bermuda to St Martin

December 8th, 2007
Bermuda to St Martin FWI
The forecast wasn’t perfect as we had to take it easy heading south, not to encounter Tropical Storm Olga which was positioned SE of us and moving on an easterly track, at this time it was just a low-pressure system and hadn’t been named yet. But Herb the weatherman was predicting that it would develop into a Tropical Storm.
We upped anchor and headed out of St Georges at 13:00 hours LT in the company of two other boats heading the same way, Tortugeata a 42 ft Catamaran and Anastasia a 50-foot ketch that left 12 hours behind us. We would keep in touch with these two boats on SSB twice daily.
We set out on a course that would take us SE for the next three days to make easting as the forecast called for heavy trade winds from the east from the next day on. As we were getting out of the St Georges Cut we saw Gill Outerbridge taking pictures of us that are now posted on the website, this was one of those perfect moments in cruising. The other was when about two miles out of Bermuda we saw two Humpback whales, they came very close to our boat at about fifty yards, they would show as the fluke and come back up to the surface, the sound of the engine didn’t seem to bother these two whales as it usually does and they frolicked around us for about thirty minutes and then just disappeared.
We carried on motoring as there was no wind but we had a smooth swell coming in from the North East that would pick us up and show us how far the horizon is. We had a clear night with bright stars but the moon was new and would come out the next morning hiding behind the sun.
The next day brought us more clear skies and warm sunshine but still no wind. Then at noon, we noticed some breeze from the east but still not enough to fill any sail. At 1300hrs we hoisted the main with a double reef, hoisted the staysail and shut the engine off and started sailing in thirteen knots of wind on the beam making 3.5 knots which was good as we did not want to head south too fast. That afternoon Herb told us that the low has now become a Tropical Storm and named Olga. During the night the wind increased to 20 knots from the east with a 15-foot swell from the NE, which made the motion very uncomfortable.
The next morning we opened up some of the genoa and the boat lurched forward at 6 ½ knots we kept it like this for the rest of the day and then rolled in the genoa for the night as it made it more comfortable for sleeping and also slowed us down to give Tropical Storm Olga time to move west.
The rest of the days where the same with some higher winds and an occasional squall during the night, we would open the genoa during the day and roll it in during the night, the motion was very uncomfortable with the high swell but we pressed on south-east of our rhumb line until we were 30 nm east of the rhumb line. On our last 24hrs, we altered course towards the channel between St Martin and Anguilla on a SW course losing approximately 1 nm mile an hour from our easting. The worst night was the last night when we had heavy squalls come over us one after the other, with heavy rain and winds in the 30-knot range. In the morning we were 10 nm north of the channel and wind and swell came from one direction aft of us. For only the second time on this leg, I went on deck to remove the staysail. We had a great sail down the channel towards Marigot Bay.
The fishing on this leg was not good as we did not catch a fish as yet and lost 3 lures to the Saragossa weed, which this year extended south to St Martin. The time will come when we get the big one, check our website from time to time and you will find out why.