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Rhoda's first overnight passage

After some time back home, we returned to the boat in late January where we'd had someone babysitting it on a mooring in St. Thomas, USVI. We re-provisioned, worked on some projects, hung out on the beach, and waited for a day with more northerly winds forecast that would enable easier sailing to the East. We left on Feb. 3rd and during the afternoon, tucked under the SW corner of Peter Island, BVI so Rhoda could make several business calls before we got too far out for cell reception. After her calls were complete, we made a 15-hr overnight passage to St. Martin with 18-20 kt NNE winds, motorsailing in order to stay close-hauled and make good on our planned track to St. Martin.

Seas were pretty bumpy in the Sombrero Passage with swells from two different directions plus wind chop, not that different from our Gulf Stream crossing last fall - think washing machine on gentle cycle. We were pretty tired on arrival but was time to celebrate Rhoda's first overnight passage, standing watch under an awesome star canopy. We motored under the French drawbridge through Sandy Ground into the inside harbor, dropped the hook temporarily, and checked in with immigration which was very straightforward -- fill out the form on a computer, print/sign it, pay ten bucks, and done! Back on the boat, we hauled anchor so we could move into the 12-sq-mile shallow lagoon that spans the French and Dutch sections of the island. The anchor carried up a huge load of mud and grass, so I stopped hauling after it broke water so Rhoda could back us out of that tight spot spot and move the boat to a more open area where I could focus on cleaning the anchor. But we only moved a few feet and then stopped. Huh? Then I leaned way over the bow and discovered that we had snagged a large chain, probably an old mooring, that had been hidden by the grass and muck. I nearly broke the boat hook getting the chain lifted clear of the anchor.

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