British Virgin Islands to Bermuda


 Sunday 22nd May.

The time was fast approaching for our departure to Bemruda. As we sat having a couple of ‘Pain Killers’ (cocktails) you could see the worry and fear in Carlottas face. I always experience a sickening feeling before doing a crossing of any length and maybe it was just the tiredness or the stress of preparing for the voyage over the past few weeks that the sickening feeling was back. My mind was playing over all the scenarios that could potentially destroy our trip if not our lives. I always thinking of the what if’s and the whys so much so that I get very little sleep before setting off.

We were joined by somne very good friends in our anchorage and these were the lovely people we were now having dinner with in Saba Rock. It was hard to talk and although enjoy every bit of their company it was time to leave. They kindly offered us showers aboard the luxury catamarans they worked and one of the crew were kindly housing Carlotta before she caught her flight on Monday.

So this was it. At 02:00 AM on Sunday 22nd Troskala pulled out of Eustatia Sound and headed East to clear Anegada’s Horse Shoe reef, the third largest reef in the world. All was good but the mood was sombre . Olly was positioned at the bow to look out for lobster pots, which were everywhere. After a short period the anchors lights of our friends yachts faded and we now truly on our own.

All was going well until the engine cut out. This was not good news. I hurried below and tried to turn over the engine again but to no avail. We sensed that it was a fuel issue and I noticed that the bleed screw for the secondary fuel filter was loose s maybe this was causing air to get into the system.

We set our genoa in the mean time and sailed south whilst eye removed the plug, cleaned it, bled the system and tried to prime the fuel. The engine started but soon cut out. I repeated the process but to no avail. I was not dog sick and completely worn out. My only option was to turn back as we were now only ten miles away. This is what we did.

I phoned Carlotta and had her on stand by. We would have to sail through the reefs and anchor under sail in the lee of Eustatia Island. This was going to be a challenge but I know the waters well and we had a full moon which assisted us. The mood on board was very bad. To have to turn back after mentally preparing yourself for a long voyage is something no-one should have to go through. I felt bad for the crew and could only think the worst that maybe our left-pump had failed and that it would days before a new one could be sent to the BVI’s.

We made our anchorage around six AM and tacked up to our friends yacht before dropping anchor and furing our genoa, We had anchored under sail like professionals and could now access our situation.

Carlotta was on hand to call the contractors who has cleaned our fuel tank and installed the new filters. A gentleman by the name of Shadow was to bring his riob from Spanish Town to North Sound and assist us. We had managed to diagnose the problem somewhat and could see that there was no fuel coming from our fuel tank. I knew we had enough in the tank but something was stopping it.

We took the opportunity waiting for Shadow to have some sleep. He arrived a few hours later and agreed that the issue was related to the tank. Upon stripping the valve we found a certain amount of silicon plastic blocking the value. This was the culprit.  How it got there we can only imagine but upon repairing the fuel sender unit the other day I think it we would not be far wrong in saying that was where the problem came from.

All was good and we decided that we would leave in the afternoon, twelve hours after our initial departure. We took the opportunity to rest, swim and thank our friends. Mentally we felt better to leave than we had the night before.

Troskala left again at 15:00.   We motored East for three hours to clear the reef and had no issues with our engine. We set sail around 18:00 and set off on our course of 2*.

The sea was lumpy and we were already all feeling sea sick. I prepared bangers and mash for super but my beloved sausages took a swim as we just could not keep them down.   We were making good speed with the wind around fifteen knots on a broad reach.   The Moon was stunning as were the phosphorescence but our moods did not lift as we were so tired.

Exceptional Speed for Troskala.

Monday 23rd May

 The morning brought with it strong winds. We were storming along at seven knots and recorded nine knots the evening before,   We had some cereal as we were all still feeling a little sick. I think was suffering the most. It was wired being out here on Troskala again. We felt so small and with such a long journey ahead I could not help to feel apprehensive and doubt as to why I was putting myself through this again.

Pork Tenderloin with roasted vegetables and potatoes.

Jovita made some lovely wraps for lunch, which managed to stay down fully. For dinner we had a stir-fry. The moon was yet again beautiful. We recorded a daily mileage of 165 miles, which is fast for Troskala. At this rate we will be there in six days.

It was nice to be able to use our sat-phone to receive emails and an updated weather forecast, something we could not easily do on our voyage across the Atlantic in 2012.

Checking our Noon Sights.

Tuesday 24th May


It does not feel like the second day. It feels like the fifth day. My stomach has settled but I am so tired. It is hard to do anything. Ollie is suffering from an ear infection, which is not helping him.

We had cereal for breakfast. We managed to catch three flying fish on deck but only small omes. We had wraps for lunch again.

Jovita taking her sights.

We all slept in the afternoon and felt much better for it. The seas have calmed but with that our speed has reduced. Just received an updated forecast and the winf is set to fill in ahain for the evening.

As I felt mush better and my spirits were up I cooked pork tenderloin with roasted vegetables and mashed potato. This went down very well and the crew spirits lifted. We had a lovely evening and felt that we were finally in the swing of things. It is so beautiful out here.

We are set to complete another day of achiving over 160 miles. Fantastic!

Wednesday 25th May

We continue to make very good progress. For two days we have made over 160 miles, which is pleasing.

We have started getting into a routine now. We adopted a fixed watch schedule. My shift starts at 00:00 to 04:00 and 12:00 to 16:00, Jovita starts from 04:00 to 08:00 and then 16:00 to 20:00 and Ollie completes the day starting at 20:00 to 00:00 and then 08:00 to 12:00. I have not received any complaints and we all seem happy with the plan.


We normally have breakfast when we are all awake at 10:00 AM and will lunch together also. We then spend the afternoon sleeping and then cook dinner around 19:00.

Today we managed to complete our first noon site to find out our latitude. I was first and managed to get a fair result. We will try each day until we are very happy with our noon accuracy before then obtaining our afternoon sun sights.

The sea became more lumpy towards the end of the day. We can see some squalls on the horizon so expect a disturbed evening but everyone is currently in high spirits.

Ollie cooked chicken wrapped in bacon with a lovely vegetable ratatouille and then started his shift. Another day has past another 162 miles achieved. Troskala is performing well and taking each wave in her stride. She seems happy to be back out at sea.


Thursday 26th

We had quite a lumpy night and some discomfort. Jovita experienced an amazing sunrise. We ate avocado on toast for breakfast and then ran the engine for an hour to charge our batteries.

I cooked a tortilla con patatat for lunch with crispy bacon, which went down very well with the crew. We had enough for breakfast the next day. We feel like we are eating like kings and queens and I personally love the distraction of cooking rather than looking at our miles.

Jovita took her turn in taking our noon sight with some success. It is certainly one thing to do the theory in a classroom but a completely different experience doing the sights on a rocking boat. A lot more practise is required.

Nearly there.  One hundred miles to go.

The day came and went as they do although the evening sky caused concern. Clouds were rolling in with a line of squalls apparent on the horizon. We had a couple of showers but it was not until the start of Ollies watch that things started to get difficult. Carlotta sent a text on the Yellow Brick tracked highlighting a very deep area of low pressure close to us but heading west. We found ourselves right on the edge of the high and forming low. This brought gusts up to twenty knots at the start of the evening.


By the time my watch started the weather-deteriorated somewhat. At midnight the Yellow Brick sent out a position recorded a height above see level of six meters. Yes, our waves felt that high. The wind then increased to 28 knots. All crew were summoned on deck where we put two reefs in the genoa and one reef in the main. This settled Troskala but the howling of the wind and the motion were not nice and we spent a very uncomfortable night at sea.

We cannot complain to much and although the above was a challenge we have been blessed with fair winds for much of our journey and like all sailing journeys we have to take the rough with the smooth. Looking back our experience last night was useful to the crew and me. We performed well together and carried out a very calm and well conveyed reefing. We discussed prior to doing anything what was to be done, how it was to be done and by whom. All in all a successful evening.

Friday 27th

This was a day of catching up on sleep. We were all so tired from the previous night. We finished the Tortilla I had made for breakfast skipped lunch and finished off the lasagne I had made the previous day for dinner.

We managed to get another noon sight but not as accurately before. The sun was not in its best state to be viewed.

Enjoying a glass of wine to celebrate our last night at sea.

A fairly uneventful day today. The wind eased slightly but we were still achieving over five knots, which was pleasing. We found out that the weather from last night turned out to be a very deep low heading to the US coast. Fortunately for us we were East of it but were only a few miles from it, which explained the strong headwinds we were experiencing.

Saturday 28th

Ollie cooked a great breakfast of scrambled eggs, avocado, bacon, smoked salmon and toast. It was a good start to the day. The sun was beating hard and although the sea temperature has gone down to 23.9 degrees from 28.5 in the BVI’s it still gets hot during the day. At night we have to now either wrap up in blankets of sleeping bags on watch as the air temperature drops to around 18 degrees.

Hair washing time for Jovita.

We had a bit of a tidy up on deck as we know we will be entering Bermuda tomorrow we want to look like a yacht that has not spent six days at sea. I cleaned the top decks removing any rust stains and gave Troskala a fresh water wash-down and chamois to get her looking very clean. Ollie washed down the cockpit and Jovita made a lovely lunch of ham, cheese and tomatoe wraps.

We celebrated our evening with some wine as this would be our last night at sea. We were given a superb sunset and just at the end of nautical twilight we saw Dolphins, which excited Jovita no end.

As I wright this we are sitting 17 miles off Bermuda. We have made contact with the very official but very professional Bermuda Radio to let them know when we are arriving. We have slowed Troskala to a crawl so to make the entrance in daylight. We have been gifted to see over ten shooting stars in one hour over Bermuda and with the moon to rise at any moment the sight should be fantastic. On one hand it is nice to arrive safely to land but it is a shame to miss the beauty for three nights and unfortunately it is the last night for Jovita. William Bates will be arriving in Bermuda tomorrow ready to take her place.

I hope to send as many photos as possible of Bermuda.


Troskala sitting in Captain Smokes Marina – St Georges.

Time To Cross An Ocean

I feel the pressure as I sit here in Nanny Cay sweating in what is a very natural oven. Troskala is almost ready to go and our final crew member will shortly.


Words cat really describe how busy we have been over the past ten days. We spent another day catching a lovely ferry to Virgin Gorda. We had quite a few issues with Troskala especially with the mast lights that had corroded and other electric discrepancies that had to be rectified. There was also some incorrect wiring that delayed us immensely but after two days working in the marina we had to leave. Our time was running out and The Moorings were already kind enough to allow us to extend our stay on Sofia. The last thing. I wanted us to do was to over stay our welcome.


We left Spanish Town Marina at 21:00. We had ran the engine for about an hour but I still felt unsure about going out to sea at night after not using Troskala for three years and with no sails. On reflection I feel it was a silly thing to do and I would not perform a task like that again especially navigating through reefs.

As it turned out all went very well. I soon became used to the heavy tiller steering but the sturdy feeling of being on Troskala (a proper boat). Half way into our journey and as we passed the the southern cardinal off Beef Island we were actually enjoying this unique experience. It was like we had travelled back in time three years and nothing had changed.


We met our Disney Cruise ship again that decided to make way just as we cam into the main shipping channel for road town. They kindly held off there departure until Troskala had passed their stern.

At 0:00, we gently brought Troskala along side Sofia. We were shattered. I have never felt so drained but we made it together and finally had Troskala to ourselves.

Although we had brought her to Road Town there was still a lot of work to be carried out to fix our tricolour light and our Raymarine instruments were not fully functional.


The days at The Moorings past by quicker than we had expected.  We managed to get most of our belongings on and contractors finished the work that had too but we did not leave Road Town until Monday and at the point we headed straight to Nanny Cay.

We managed to spend our evenings sailing Troskala out of Nanny Cay Marina and then back.  We were joined by Ted, a great friend and professional sailor who has not only given us a lot of time but also a lot of his skills, which we greatly appreciated.  The support we have received from so many friends and companies is amazing and we feel so lucky to have met the people we have through our work in the BVI’s and the people who have given a lot of time to get Troskala ready for her next adventure.


Troskala is now ready and tomorrow we will be leaving Nanny Cay and heading up to North Sound.  We plan to depart from Necker Island for Bermuda on Sunday 22nd at 03:00.  Please do track our progress on the following link:


We will be keeping a very detailed log of our experiences and I look forward to sharing the first part of our  journey in a weeks time.

Thank you to all of you who have posted such kind comments on our blog.  I will email you all individually once I have time.  Your kind words and support make this adventure even better for us.  Thank You.


Not What We Expected.

Well, it is 9:00 in the morning on Tuesday the 11th and I am sitting on a ferry with 100 American Disney Cruise ship passengers heading to Virgin Gorda. For those of you who know me well you know that this is my idea of hell. If the lady in front says ‘Awesome’ one more time I will throw my iced coffee at her head.

Unlike the Disney Cruise ship tourists who are going out to destroy ‘Natures Little Secrets’ at the Baths in Virgin Gorda, we are going to find out how after seven months most of the things on Troskala fail to still work after the re-fit.

We were launched yesterday a week late than scheduled. We floated, which is a start although we did take on quite a bit of water while the stern gland was adjusted. As I walked around Troskala I could see that the was more work to be completed than they were letting on. Anyway, the launch was a success and Troskala sat pretty in the marina at Spanish Town. We had six people toiling and the atmosphere was tense. The clock was ticking. We were trying to leave by the evening but as the temperature alarm on the engine started screaming and all mast lights failed to work we saw it fit to leave Troskala in the marina and pay another small fortune for the privilege.  

It was 20:30 before we just about made the ferry and one hour later we made it back to Sofia. I felt mentally more drained than I have for a long time. After a small glass of wine we fell asleep at 22:30.

Please see the list below of things that still need to be rectified today in order for her to be safe to sail:

1.Volts not registering charge

2.Compass light not working and compass not installed correctly

3.Tricolor mast light not functioning

4.Steaming light not functioning

5.Deck light not functioning 

6.Heads light needed

7.Raymarine cable for sea-talk

8.Navtex no power and not functioning 

9.Screws missing in Windows 

10.Engine water sender not functioning 

11.Grease gland to be removed from engine bay

12.Old chart plotter cable to be removed and fitting.

13.Labels for switch panel

14.Fridge control not working 

15.Fuse box behind panel to be secured and cables tidied.

16.Battery volt ‘2’ needs to be set up for starter battery on switch panel. 

17.’Decca’ fuse box from old GPS to be removed. 

18.Damage to sliding hatch fiberglass to be repaired. 

So he we are with our lovely American friends taking the passage back to Virgin Gorda. The Americans are excited to tick off another destination that they experience for twenty minutes and we a here filled with trepidation and stress about getting Troskala ready to face the ocean and now I have just lost my iced coffee by throwing it at the awesome woman.

Delays, Delays, Delays.

It would have been great to be able to post a lovely photo of Troskala floating in Spanish Town ready for trip to Tortola but unfortunately it was not meant to be.

Cleaning Troskala’s Spray Hood.

Our launch has been delayed until Monday 09th and this is due to two reasons. Firstly our switch panel has not arrived. Apparently some dates were miscommunicated and the panel was not sent out in time.   Secondly, the weather decided to take a turn for the worst and we have been dogged by three days of constant rain, which is very rare for this time of year. So, without a switch panel we are unable to complete the electrics and with the rain the yard are unable to finish the varnish work.

The new lining for the windows.

I did manage to visit Troskala on the original launch date of the 02nd. I went with an open mind. I did half expect to see her almost completed but instead I was greeted by the same mess as I had seen the previous week. It is hard to imagine how disheartening this is but after a talk with the project managed and upon closer inspection I could see that a lot of work had been completed that was not there before.

New Engine panel, which now displays Oil Temp, pressure and Volts.

Our fridge has finally been installed. Troskala is now displaying a new winch on her deck, which has been very well fitted. Our new engine control panel has been installed along with two new domestic batteries. The windows are now all mounted and the lining, which is made out of sintra board has been fabricated. I took a look at our fuel tank, which has been fitted to a very high standard with a new bulk-head being installed between the tank and the locker. The varnish work has also come along and our forward cabin looks and smells new.

The varnishing expert.

We are lucky enough to be still living on Sofia and have started moving Troskala’s belongings onboard ready for the transition on Monday. Our upholstery has finally been completed to a very high standard, to which Carlotta is very excited. We took delivery of out new Achilles dinghy yesterday and plan to spend the next couple of days running the new outboard in to save time for later.


We have been working a lot on communications and have had no end of problems trying to connect our Iridium satellite phone with our Mac. Luckily we were saved by Mailasail and their new Red Box system, which acts as a router and gives Troskala her own WIFI hotspot and connects all of our computers.  It means now that I can send emails and receive weather reports from my Iphone, Ipad and Mac which is quite amazing.


On a more serious note I am running out of time and my plan to have a week to test sail Troskala is slipping away. It looks like I will now only have four days to sail her properly before she is based in Nanny Cay marina undergoing rigging checks, Raymarine warranty checks and further upgrades before she sets sail on the 22nd.   This is far from ideal but at least we have some time and it is important that we make every use of the days by putting Troskala through all kinds of conditions.


I am still positive about our situation to a certain extent and at least we have finished our last charter and can now truly focus on our preparations.