After the family had left, we turned our attention to retrieving our ‘clobber’ from the locker, re-provisioning, cooking on-passage meals to freeze, baking bread and generally preparing Pipistrelle for our first serious passage of 2017 – from the Lesser Antilles to the more northerly latitudes of Bermuda at 32.22N.
Pete Stone joined us for this next stage from Antigua (17.03N) and we departed on the afternoon of Monday 1st May for the 950 nm run to St. George’s. Leaving Barbuda to starboard after about 40 nm, we altered course marginally to sail due north for Bermuda.
The passage took a total of 7 days in varying conditions from light airs and champagne sailing with warm sunny days blue seas and starry nights, to lively Force 6’s and overcast skies with 2 reefs in the main plus staysail. Under full main and poled out genoa we sailed for a day to avoid continual gybing with Pipistrelle sailing extremely comfortably, before the boisterous final 12 hours, 3 reefs, much cooler temperatures and damp nights. As the latitude increased so did the layers of clothing, with jackets, long trousers and footwear for night watches.
A call to Bermuda Radio on the VHF coming up the St. George’s Channel announced our imminent arrival before going through the narrow pass to the Harbour. We were finally alongside the Customs Dock at 16.00 on cool and dull Sunday 7th May. With formalities completed we found a quiet spot to anchor, tidy up Pipistrelle above and below decks, celebrate our safe arrival and get a welcome night’s rest on an even keel.
For the record, we motored for 3 hours, sailed at an average of 6.6kn, 8.7kn being the top constant speed (11 kn was seen fleetingly), and our best 24 hour run was 170 nm.