November 5-13, 2022
By Heather Hild Atwater
What made the start to this adventure different was that it was pouring rain day one during our boarding. Not just a sprinkle, but heavy rain, which we had never experienced before. Actually, the forecast looked like rain for several days… however, as you will read, this did not materialize, thank goodness. That evening, we enjoyed the Meet and Greet Dinner at the Mariner Yacht Club restaurant right near the boats. We kicked the trip off with Painkillers and Clive from the BVI Tourism Board welcomed our group to the islands. We all began to get to know one another over cocktails, dinner, and dessert.
The catamarans for this flotilla were three beautiful Sunsail 454’s. Nate was at the helm of “Newton’s Law”, Dave Harker is Skipper of “Pure Sun,” and Bill Carpenter Skipper of “No More Bad Days too”.
Day two: November 6 – Wickham’s Cay Tortola to Cooper Island
Amid the usual fanfare of boat check outs, Skipper and Navigator meetings, and stowing provisions, we discovered some boats needed dinghies, fuel, propane, Wi-Fi, and a lock fixed, which we all got done before leaving the docks at about 1 pm to sail to Cooper Island. Earlier that morning at 7am sharp, myself, Stephanie, and Carl volunteered to do Boaty Ball for our respective boats. That means we went online to Boatyball.com each morning to reserve mooring balls for that evening at the locations we desired. We had very good luck and all three of us got moorings at each location throughout the trip. Before going ashore there was time for a dip in the Caribbean water and a little relaxation. That night, everyone opted to eat together, so I made reservations for our group at the Cooper Island Beach Club at 6 pm. It was a really tasty meal. The Mahi Mahi was delicious as was the jerk chicken and beef tenderloin, (I personally did not eat all three, lol). Some people saved room for dessert. As usual, it was a busy first day and speaking for myself, sleep came easily that night.
After Nate and I went boat to boat for a Navigation briefing at 8 am, we dropped our mooring lines to head to the famous Baths on Virgin Gorda. We sailed with a nice breeze on a beam reach, and we made good time. At the Baths we dinghied into the spot where you tie off your dinghy and swam to shore from there to explore the amazing rock formations that draw people from all over the world! After lunch aboard we had a great sail off wind around Mountain Point hardening up toward Neckar Island and dropped sails outside the channel into Gorda Sound. I reserved moorings for us all at the Bitter End Yacht Club. Most of us went ashore to check out the newly rebuilt Bitter End Yacht Club (after hurricanes Irma and Maria). It had some really nice touches. For instance, the bar was in the shape of a nicely proportioned power yacht. Some of our group gathered in the seating area in the bow of the boat/bar for a cocktail. Others shopped and explored the area. Afterward, some of our group went to check out Saba Rock. Dinner was aboard that night. I cooked aboard “Newton’s Law,” steak, potatoes, and veggies. It was a Great Day!
Day four: November 8 – Bitter End Yacht Club to Trellis Bay (Full Moon Party)
After the morning Navigation briefing, we dropped the mooring lines around 9 am to leave Gorda Sound. We set our Mainsail and Genoa and, on a beam, then a tight reach, leaving the Dogs to Starboard, Mountain Point on Virgin Gorda to Port. We were cooking along at over 9 knots at times in 20 plus knots of wind at times. The wind is heavily affected by the land masses, so the wind varied from 14 knots to over 20 depending.
We got in early to Trellis Bay to get the first come first serve mooring balls for the Full Moon Party. This resulted in a relaxing afternoon, some went ashore, others read, some went to the airport for an ATM, others swam. At 6 pm the festivities began and went on late into the night. First food and live music, dancing, then fire pits blazing and people doing acts with fire. It was quite a spectacle!
Day five: November 9 – Trellis Bay to Anegada
Nate had done the Navigation briefing the day before so we could drop the mooring lines at 8 am. “No More Bad Days Too” tried to get water at Scrub Island but they did not have dock space, so we all headed off to Anegada. We had a great sail there on a broad reach/run approximate heading of 25 degrees. It was blowing 20-25 Southeast, so we scooted along. The seas were not bad, and we gathered outside of the entrance to the harbor and were on our Boaty balls by 1 pm which gave everybody plenty of time to enjoy the island. Some participants rented scooters, others taxied to Anegada Beach Club or to snorkel, some stayed back to swim and relax. I arranged the lobster dinner at Potter’s that night and what a feast it was! DJ and dancing followed for those in the mood. A good time was had by all.
Nate and I went boat to boat for the Navigation meeting at 8 am and we dropped the mooring lines before 9 am for a beautiful sail to JVD. The heading was approximately 225 degrees. We had 16-21 knots of breeze boat speeds over 9 knots seas 2-3’. We were at the bubbly pool by 1 pm and enjoyed stretching out our legs a bit. “No More Bad Days too” elected to practice picking up mooring balls and headed to Great Harbor a little early to procure water in their tanks. We got to Great Harbor and picked up our Boaty ball mooring and went ashore to Foxy’s and have a look around. Dinner was aboard that night and Holly and Brittany created a lovely meal with the Mahi that was provisioned and guava chutney, veggies and rice.
Day seven: November 11 – Jost Van Dyke to Soper’s Hole West End Tortola
It was planned to be a relaxing morning and we were waiting for Sunsail to come and repair “No More Bad Days Too” generator. We went ashore where some participants took a taxi to White Bay, others dinghied around to White Bay and Soggy Dollar Bar, the originator of the Painkiller cocktail. We had to be off the mooring by noon and sailed over to Soper’s Hole. Some of the group took the opportunity to sail around before heading into Soper’s Hole. At 5 pm we hosted a Birthday Cocktail Party aboard “Newton’s Law.” We were celebrating Holly’s Birthday and Tom’s Birthday!! We wore our purple shirts and got some great group pictures and Nate made Natacolada’s. That night we ate aboard with cupcakes and guava cake for dessert.
Day eight: November 12 – Soper’s Hole West End Tortola to The Bight on Normans Island
After Navigation briefing, we set sail tacking up Sir Francis Drake Channel. It was a great sail with winds between 13-21 knots and under the main and genoa, we made good time. Holly and Brittany, the awesome Mother/Daughter team, and I tacking the boat to Normans Island. We arrived in plenty of time to get the first come, first serve moorings, have lunch aboard or at the Bight, then snorkel in the caves. The final dinner was planned for 6 pm at the Bight. Unfortunately, “No More Bad Days too” generator never got fixed properly so their crew elected to head back to the base after visiting Willy T’s. The weather for the final dinner and the food and the atmosphere just made me feel like I did not want to leave the next day. It was a perfect ending to a really great week.
Day nine: November 13 – Normans Island back to the Base on Tortola
We dropped the mooring lines at 7 am and were docked by 8:30 am. Olga and John had flights out at 11 am so I had a golf cart waiting for them when we docked to whisk them to the airport. Goodbyes were said all around, and we were off the boats before 11 am. We hope to see you on one of our Colgate Sailing Adventures® in 2023!