Crossing the Caribbean from South to North.
On the 20 of November, we left Curacao Island on board “Pluto”. She is a beautiful 47 ft catamaran build in 2004 with Panama flag in top shape.
It was about 4 in the afternoon. The plan was to go to St Martin, but before stop in Bonaire, US Virgin Island, British Virgin Island and then St Martin.
We have to run the first charter on the 11 of December and still some jobs to finish once we pick up the glue for the new windows in St Thomas and meet Dick in Tortola and more.
So we star our trip Captain Vince, a new crew Bill and me Lulu.
Sails up and testing the brand new two engines we left Curacao Marine. Grab bag, arnes, flares, flash light, water, food etc. Safety gear check!!
About two hours after, we face the first problem. Port engine start to have revolution problems over 2000 RPM, so we stop in Caracas Bay play with the fuel line and intake and finally realize that the “Racor” filter wasn’t really clean and we have to change it. So captain Vince decided to spend over night in Bonaire buy the filter in Budget Marine, fuel and water the boat and departure in the afternoon.
No wind and calm seas, we spend the first night motoring with port engine 55 hp Volvo “Penta” that we change in the yard after two month of refitting Pluto. Some of the works that we did was to change windows, new engines, and new teak flour on the cockpit, change all the lights inside the boat, new spreader lights, intensive cleaning, and the antifouling, weld the rigging on the mast etc. hard work but finally on course.
There we was next morning off shore, full main sail and jib up with only 13 knots, close hull very tight angel. Wind direction NE.
Captain decided to start starboard engine to give a brake after the first 21 hr of the port engine. Our course now was 36 degrees crossing 6 knots and still 350 nautical miles to go to St Croix our first destination. It was a sunny day some clouds and the seas remain calm.
To take watches the Captain decided to make two hours each from 18 hr to 6 hr and during the day freestyle witch results been very comfortable and everybody was well rest.
So far we didn’t see any other boat just a crew of dolphins that’s shows often playing in the bow.
It was 10:30 am wind pick up 15 knots finally we turn of the starboard engine and now we was fully sailing.
Main sail and jib, we were crossing at 6 knots, and 291 miles to go. I was looking on the horizon and suddenly I devise something floating not far. I wake up the guys. We was excited, we didn’t know exactly what it was. We get closer, at the begging it look like a life raft so we was ready to take action and rescuer this people and bring them on board safe. For our deception was only a big log full of birds in the middle of nowhere. We where wishing to be heroes but not this time. Back on course.
Night of the 22 to 23 about 1 am I was in my watch, I wake up the Captain a squall was going to hit us.
Wind start blowing hard so we took a reef, and suddenly “boom” the shackles snap and blow away over board. So fast we put the main sail down, still the jib up, and we start engines, with Bill on the helm, Vince and I fix the issue of the reef but on top of that one of the tracks on the main sail came out. So we spend a good hour having fun on deck fixing things in the middle of the rain and heavy wind. But to be true wasn’t so bad. I have fun and was a good experience.
It was a dark night new moon, some stars on the sky, now the engine was off, the main sail up, one reef taken, the jib up too steady wind. I was tired and in a bad mood, the captain knows me good so he cover me up one hour on my watch and then we carry on with the regular watches.
Morning on the 23 still 180 nautical miles to go now full main sail at 6.2 knots. We did so far 273 nautical miles since we left Curacao.
Dolphins keep dancing for us on the bow we saw a big group at 15’ 26’ N; 66’ 18’ W
Strong winds where coming and rain too and we was sailing at 7 knots. Vince dad’s was giving the forecast report by satellite phone every 24 hrs.
At 1800 we take a reef Captain Vince explain us about “Mast compression”. (Means according of what I understood that in mono hull when the wind blows the boat line on a side, but in a catamaran is different the mast is pushing down, so to reduce this pressure is better to take a reef to reduce sail)
The rest of the night was quiet 15 knots of stable wind and in a better angel. The condition keeps it like that during the morning. We arrive on destination St Croix at 1600 pm. Ready to go to immigration.
A fun, quiet, we plan and safety journey!
Thing in the next… St Thomas, St John and the British Virgin Islands Tortola, Necker Island, Peter Island, Virgin Gorda, the Bath, Devil bay, etc and finally St Martin 90 miles away.