Rain and maintenance sensation
Our first week in the BVI flew by like a single day. Overwhelmed by the beauty of Virgin Gorda, we had not the slightest desire to leave. The weather outlook then provided the necessary motivation. Bad weather ahead. Swell from the north, lots of rain, strong 6-7 wind for the following days. No weather for the unprotected Virgin Gorda.
One hour unfurling the genoa was enough to sail past Ginger Island to Cooper Island. Manchioneel Bay has hardly any anchorage but there are many mooring buoys available. It’s better for the seabed. The standard price for a mooring buoy in the BVI is 30 USD per night, first-come- first-served. There is also a reservation service where you are guaranteed a mooring ball online for an additional 10 USD. Boatyball.com is the name of the service. A good idea for times when it gets crowded here again. A little snorkeling, a sundowner at the beach bar, that’s it for our short visit to Cooper.
After a calm and wave-less night, the genoa needed another two hours to bring us to Norman Island, to the Pirate Bight Bay. We managed one more underwater visit to the great rocks of the “Indians” and then came the announced shitty weather. Three days of flood. Wind, thunder and wind made our Norman Island visit a bit more contemplative than expected. Up to 30 kn wind cleared everything from the vessel that was not moored. At least the waves didn’t make it into the bay. We were left with just sweaters, long pants and socks. In the Caribbean!!! We haven’t had 3 days of bad weather in a row yet. Felt a bit like rainy winter days in the ex-home, only without a fireplace. There remained only chilling or sailing friends meet. Water and land visits fell into the water.
Ka used the time to draw: Squirrels for her children’s book of Bello and Lilly. Made in Normans Island.
Maintenance stop at the Moorings Base
We interrupted our BVI roundtrip for a long planned repair appointment in “The Moorings” charter base in Road Town. Nothing tragic, but the Rivercafe had been waiting for several months to have two skylights (windows in the ceiling) and other odds and ends replaced. Normally we don’t need a Base for warranty stuff, we can book any qualified technician, however, between Grenada and the Virgins, we found no one who could do it.
Yann, our formidable Leopard Warranty Manager, had then arranged a stop in the Moorings/Sunsail base in Road Town, where the technicians tock care for our concerns.
Exceptionally and recently. The charter giant belongs to the same group as the Leopard brand. Until recently, they weren’t at all happy when owners came around the corner.
Road Town has been repairing vessels with hurricane damage since 2017. There had never been a job like this before, anywhere. The extent of the damage was unimaginable, the pictures of hundreds of destroyed yachts went around the world. The Herculean job will soon be done. In March, the last ship will be released. 4.5 years after Irma.
Unique Yacht expertise in Tortola
To restore a fleet of hundreds of wrecked vessels, over 100 technicians from the Leopard shipyard in South Africa and pros from England were hired to work for the BVI. This has resulted in a unique pool of expertise. There is probably more knowledge gathered here than in the shipyard. The Rivercafe was only the second vessel to benefit from this new repair base. We docked right next to the first patient.
Ricardo is the “Fleet Recovery Lead” and Blo and his team – all alumni from the Leopard shipyard in Cape Town – immediately took care of Rivercafe. An owner’s dream come true. For every question the guys had a solution. And also some installations of the shipyard were improved with a knowing smile.
Ka and I have seen quite a bit of work done on our boats, old and new. But this left us speechless. Blo, Leslie, Brandon and Ronald (the guys on the cover photo) went over our boat like it was a chocolate cake. Thanks so much guys, you did a superb job.
The Leopard warranty handling, we always thought was great. We know the experience sailors of other brands and there we are incredibly much better off. The warranty handling is another reason to choose Leopard over other brands. At the base in Road Town we had a swimming pool, C19 test and extremely friendly and helpful staff to ease oute time onshore. As much as we were scared of this repair stop before, it couldn’t have been better.
Many thanks to Yann, Ricardo, Blo, Leslie, Brandon and Ronald. And to everyone we didn’t mention.
New destination USVI
Once the last of the Sikaflex is dried, the work marks are scrubbed away and the next C19 test is done, we’ll set sails. We’ve changed our plans again. That’s the beauty of sailing freedom. The United States Virgin Islands (USVI) is our next destination, less than two hours away. We’ll bring forward our visit to St. Johns, St. Thomas, St. Croix and the Spanish Virgin Islands, and then return to the BVI later to report on the remaining forty-something islands.
Next time you will probably read from St. Johns / Holger Binz
Sunrise 6:49 h, sunset 18:17 h, temperatures day 28 degrees C, temperatures night 22 degrees C, wind 5-7, a lot of rain