Friday, November 23, 2012

Passage from Ft. Lauderdale to the Virgin Islands

Friday, November 16 – Friday, November 23

We set sail on our journey on Friday morning, November 16th. The goal was to sail straight to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands without stopping, which we had expected would take between 7 to 10 days depending on the weather conditions. We were very lucky with the weather, and couldn't have picked a better window to do the crossing. The wind was out of the north which is very unusual for that time of year, and the seas were very calm. During the crossing, we maintained an average speed of 6.2 knots and arrived in St. Thomas 7 ½ days after our departure from the dock in Lighthouse Point. We had a great time during the crossing! After the first night, we quickly got into our routine of helm watches, cooking meals, fishing, and celebratory drinks after the catching of each fish. 

We were lucky enough to secure Richard to join us for the crossing to help us sail the boat down and teach us a few things along the way. Richard was our captain during our sea trial of Kalalau and a very experienced captain who has sailed this course to St. Thomas several times and has delivered boats all over the world. With the calm seas, we had very relaxing days which allowed us to catch up on sleep and read a few books. One day the seas were so calm that the ocean looked like glass.

The Daily Routine – Watch Schedule

Our daily routing centered around our watch schedule. Richard and Gene did the majority of the watches while Kat had a couple of watches each day and did all of the cooking and dish washing. The daily watch shifts ran as follows:

8 am – 10 am: Richard
10 am – Noon: Gene
Noon – 2 pm: Kat
2 pm – 4 pm: Richard
4 pm – 6 pm: Gene
6 pm – 9 pm: Richard
9 pm – Midnight: Gene
Midnight – 3 am: Richard
3 am – 5:30 am: Gene
5:30 am – 8 am: Kat

Arriving in St. Thomas

We arrived in St. Thomas around 5 pm on Friday, November 23rd and we secured a slip at the American Yacht Harbor in Red Hook. After a quick wash down of Kalalau, we enjoyed some champagne and went out to dinner in Red Hook. It felt a little strange to walk on land after almost 8 days at sea, but it is a great feeling and we were happy to finally be there to begin our adventure.

Along the way we got low on diesel so had to refuel mid-ocean. This is where Gene got his first fuel syphoning lesson from Richard. Both tanks were topped off with 15 gallons of diesel each. We estimate that we burned right at 90 gallons of diesel to travel the 1053 miles. I'll compare that with any powerboat any day... Although it takes us longer to travel... As a great man once said, "The journey is the destination!"

Kat's watch conditions... :)

Sunset just North of Cuba.

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