The Far Reach, Anchored Biras Creek, Virgin Gorda Sound–8 Mar 2016
I love it here. The sailing is just gorgeous. The water is beautiful. We continue to meet all kinds of interesting people.
On Saturday, 5 March, we weighed anchor off Spanish Town and sailed north along the mountainous west coast of Virgin Gorda under a reefed main and working jib in about 15 knots of easterly trade winds. We then begin to beat NE on a starboard tack around the north coat of the island. The kids and Gayle were below working on school lessons. I sailed the Far Reach steering by hand listening to Mick sing, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” through my nano. I tacked over to port and sailed right down the channel between the reefs and into the North Sound. It was fabulous sailing. We anchored in Leverick Bay in 24′ of water. We dinghied ashore. We did laundry, hung out by the resort pool (free to swim in), and ordered hamburgers. Later we took showers ashore–it was my first stand up shower in more than three months.
Next day, the long anticipated cold front arrived in the afternoon announced by a slow 10 hour long 360 degree wind shift. If we remained anchored in Leverick Bay it would get choppy in the soon to be exposed anchorage on the SW side of Virgin Gorda Sound. So we moved to the SE corner of the sound into Biras Creek. As we entered the small anchorage we sounded the depth by heaving the lead line. Later we had a guy dinghy over and tell us how much he enjoyed watching us sounding with the line. 50 years ago it was the norm. Now it is a rarity in the west. I enjoy the timeless of it though.
The anchorage has a bunch of moorings but they were all taken. Nonetheless, I was able to find some room and anchor between a few boats. The moorings belong to a place that is closed for the season (there is a story there I am sure–as it is high end place just around the corner from the Bitter End Yacht Club). So, the moorings are not maintained and I would have been reluctant to pick one up if one had been available–who knows if the shackle is about to rust through. Near by there is a mega-mega yacht show going on this weekend–I can’t believe we were not invited! Ha! Earlier in the day a private GulfStream made a slow fly-by of the boat show at less than 500′. The mega yachts here are a stunning display of wealth. After we anchored, we were invited on board Hans and Wilma’s steel 34′ sloop. They are Germans and sailed “Manatee” to the West Indies from Germany two years ago. We had a wonderful discussion.
It was a crazy night in the anchorage. The boats going every which way due to the windshifts. There were boats weighing and resetting anchors all night. I spent most of the night on deck. There were boats coming within feet of each other though we had reasonable separation all night. The following morning we came within about five feet of a 60’ish foot sailboat on a mooring. The wind was entering the anchorage from around a hill from two different direction at the same time –how does that work? But there was one big mooring no one was taking as it was encrusted with growth and had no pendant. I put my mask and fins on and swam over. I got a scrapper and cleaned off the large mooring ball and the heavy chain. I checked the shackle. Then, I managed to fin down to 35′ and it looked good. I added two of my own shackles and seized the shackle pins so they couldn’t back out. Gayle and I used the dinghy to run our second bower (5/8″ three stand back up anchor line) over to the mooring ball (about 200′ away) then we used the manual windlass to weigh about 150′ of 5/16 HT and our spade anchor. We then warped the Far Reach over to the mooring ball by hauling in on the second bower. We attached our own pendant and re-stowed the second bower. With the boat secured I was able to dinghy over to the Bitter End Yacht Club with the family and check email via their free wifi.
I think we will probably remain here for the rest of the week. More to follow . . . .