Bermuda Bound – The Layover

My wife, Christine, arrived by plane about the same time we arrived, and we checked into a little apartment just blocks from the harbor.  The air conditioned apartment served as a meeting place and mess hall for the crew each morning and evening, and it gave us all a respite from the heat and humidity.


Everyone we met in Bermuda was extremely friendly and even the Mayor of St George greeted us at a little reception put together by the rally organizers and the folks at Bermuda Yacht Services, our host in Bermuda.  This provided a good opportunity for us to share sea stories and our experiences with the other participants.


The crew, my wife and I spent 5 days sightseeing and adding supplies for the trip back.  The most important item we added as it turned out, was a spare starter solenoid.  I ran into an old sailing buddy from Connecticut in St. George’s Harbor.  He was boat-sitting a 60 foot Alden, reinforcing the old adage that it’s a small world.  The crew found their way to the St. George’s Dingy Club nightly for showers before attempting to get a good night’s rest aboard Isabelle.  Evenings were a bit cooler, but with no breeze finding its way below sleeping proved challenging.  Reminder to myself: add more fans below for the crew’s comfort.


The weather forecast called for less than ideal conditions on the return trip, and we had a lot of discussions about when the best weather window might open up.  Isabelle was the smallest boat in the rally, and that limited our ability to dodge the weather fronts like the faster, bigger boats.  We eventually decided that a Wednesday morning departure offered us the best chance of a smooth return trip.  The weather routers advised us to stay east of the rhumb line, a course that would take us around a cold eddy, allow us to cross the Gulf Stream at an optimal place and get us to the best side of the warm eddy that was on the north side of the Gulf Stream.  Predictions called for wind to be out of the south and then moving to the north later in the week.  We felt that this easterly course would put us in the best position to avoid having the wind directly on our nose when the expected wind shift came.

 Having toured the island from one end to the other the crew was excited about getting underway, and those who had experienced some seasickness on the way down stocked up on various remedies for the return trip.  On Tuesday, the day before we were to leave, we refueled and filled our water tanks, and I contacted the local ice company who agreed to deliver 100 lbs (four 25 lb blocks) of ice directly to our boat the next morning.  I was amazed (not having any refrigeration aboard) that the ice I had initially loaded into Isabelle’s icebox had lasted the entire voyage to Bermuda, and I hoped that this ice would last for the trip back.  With that done, all we needed to do was to clear customs, drop our dock lines and begin the return voyage to Connecticut. 


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