In order to cover as much water as quickly as possible, we hatched a plan to move our boat from Georgetown, Bahamas directly to Tortola, British Virgin Islands in one fell swoop - offshore. We've sailed the famed "thorny path" to windward two years ago but this time around, we simply do not have the luxury of time to casually island hop all the way to the leewards. So... we're going to skip a bunch of islands in the middle (see photo) to make up for lost time.
What this means is an approximately eight day, off-shore, non-stop passage. Not the longest voyage for a cruising boat by any means, but the longest for us by far. This trip will also be unique because we are starting further south and much later in the season than most boats, so there isn't a whole lot of information out there about the route we're taking (most travel this passage starting from somewhere on the East Coast and typically do it between December and January). Neither of these factors are huge deals - they just mean we'll have a different set of winds and challenges than our predecessors.
In a perfect world, this passage would consist of two very long tacks: one out to the North East (to avoid sailing directly into the prevailing easterlies), and a turn South down "I 65" (65ºW is historically where the southerly trade winds kick in). Of course, this is not a perfect world so it most likely won't work like that, but here's hoping. There's one thing we know for sure: the entire trip will be a beat to windward, against the trade winds and into the prevailing current. For most cruisers, this is pretty much the most unpleasant point of sail that exists, into wind and waves. Then again, we could get lucky, have bengin conditions and enjoy a nice, uneventful motor-sail the whole way. We don't know. We're prepping for the worst and hoping for the best. Lucky for us we have a boat that carries 200 gallons of diesel, because we're probably going to need it.
After much discussion with delivery captains and professional sailors who have sailed this passage countless times before, it has been decided that Isla and I will sit this one out. Eight days at sea in good conditions is a lot for most people...eight days at sea in what could be a very rough and uncomfortable conditions is, in our opinion, too much for a toddling baby. We want her to love sailing, after all. So - while it pains me to say it - her and I will skip this voyage and reconnect with our boat in Tortola. (Side note: If anyone out there has a place for Isla and I to stay on Tortola, let us know!)
So where does this leave Scott? Well, there was no way I was going sleep at all with him single-handing 800 nautical miles to windward (though I'm certain he could've), so I put out a "call to arms" on our Facebook Page looking for willing and able unpaid delivery crew. The response was awesome. We got a flood of sailing resumes and offers to join from some great folks. After careful consideration, we selected two (very cool) fellow sailors who will join Scott in sailing Asante to the BVI's. They fly in to Georgetown May 9th. The hope is to make landfall in Tortola between the 20-23rd, where Isla and I will greet them at the dock with a blender full of painkillers. Mmmmmm...painkillers....
From there, we'll resume as "normal" and island hop down the Windwards and Leewards until we reach Grenada. We have a lot of prep work to do before this passage, so we're going to be very busy the next couple of weeks. As usual, we'll keep you posted!
PS. Happy Birthday to me! How amazing is my hubby for surprising me yesterday? So awesome. Best birthday present EVER!