Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor is awash in smiles, waves, hugs, champagne, and heartfelt welcomes. The Caribbean 1500 fleet is beginning to arrive: half a dozen boats between last night and this morning. There’s a sense of family with the earlier arrivals taking the lines and congratulating the newcomers. Many of these boats are veterans of previous 1500s or other ocean passages, but still they have that self-satisfied look about them.
"We made it!” their expressions are saying, even if many affect a nonchalant air. Hey, after countless landfalls we still get a buzz at each new landfall…
Of course there are lots of “sea stories”. The boats for which this is a first passage have all had teething pains. Chafe, batten problems, leaky hatches and fittings, system gremlins. But that’s all part of sorting out a new boat, and if you don’t use the boat offshore, you won’t find them. None of these are major, and within a few weeks the “to do” lists will be down to their normal and never-to-be-shorter length.
Aboard BEOWULF we’ve got a few things on the list. We’ve found the problem with the jammed halyard. The block had been wearing the side of the housing allow a gap just the right side to take the 3/8″ Spectra halyard. Should have noticed that during our normal pre-departure inspection. The major issue is a leak in the washing machine. That’s on the list this afternoon. The free-flying headsails all need to be dried out, and then the last project is to give the engine room a good cleaning.
Otherwise, it is time to do a bit of reading, swimming, and maybe some water-skiing.