Posted by: rosyroadsadventures | August 21, 2011

Hunkered Down in North Sound

N 18° 29.5′ W 64° 21.3′

Biras Creek, BVI

We repositioned to the North Sound on Virgin Gorda Saturday in advance of the approaching tropical weather. Set an anchor in Biras Creek, a small and protected cove.

There were no other boats in the anchorage when we arrived. Although there is a mooring field, we prefer to use own ground tackle in heavy weather and carefully selected a spot to anchor between the moorings.


As Murphy's Laws of Boating would have it, a charter boat came in and picked up the mooring right beside us.


The couple on the boat dinghied to shore, likely to stay at the lovely Biras Creek resort for the duration of the storm. Dang! A nearby boat is one more thing to worry about.

Whether the storm – just designated Tropical Storm Irene –  goes to the north or south of our location is a consideration in how we position ourselves in this anchorage. Bob has been busy studying the weather models since we have good internet access here. He thinks the National Hurricane Center course may be off and the storm is tracking more northerly than they predict. Bob also noted the turn in Hurricane Charley well before NHC, and has a pretty good track record with weather forecasting.  


The ship's meteorologist is usually on target and won't be challenged by the crew


We decided that with the risk of a pass to the north and possible winds from the west after the storm passes, we could end up too close to the moored boat and the rocky shore. We decided to haul up the anchor and pick up a mooring. We would prefer to use our own anchor, but there is no other good spot to set the hook unless we move to a more open area. Plus we have good internet now, which gives us better weather information, and we don’t want to risk moving too far.

By the time we figured all this out, the first dark clouds were approaching, and we had to haul the anchor, pick up the mooring and do everything quickly and accurately on the first attempt. With 100 feet of chain out, I was positioned below to make sure the chain fed in to the anchor locker properly. The last thing we need is for the chain to get jammed up if for some reason we later need to anchor again quickly. Bob ran back and forth between the lower helm and the bow to power the boat and operate the windlass. Then on to the mooring, with the pressure on to pick it up before the gust front hit. We did it!

Once we were hooked up, Bob noticed that the mooring line had a knot in it which is not optimal. Another oops for me. It is the crew’s responsibility to examine the full length of the mooring line before picking it up, even if the Captain insists that he wants to tie up to THAT particular mooring. I will add that to the newly developed crew checklist (thank you for the checklist suggestion, Robin)! After the rain shower passed, we moved over to a different mooring with a satisfactory line.

Bob is watching the computer and the ship’s radar, and I am enjoying the internet access this afternoon. So far it is mostly calm with occasionally blustery moments. We just enjoyed some French Toast on homemade French bread, one of the better ship’s breakfasts.

Bandit, the weather dog, is alternating between taking cover in the bathroom and hovering by my side as she often does in stormy weather. Maybe she knows something we & the weather models don't know.







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