Thursday saw us leaving Red Hook. With three kids it took a little time to get everyone fed, life jacketed and checked out with the marina. Only had one mishap when Andrew slipped between the dock and boat and hung onto the lifeline. Fortunately he wasn’t crushed as he had slipped between two fenders that were wider than he. With three kids, it’s just impossible to look on them all. Sometimes I joke that “we have a spare,” but I swear, I’ll be amazed if all three reach adulthood. Note to self, with kids, double how much time you think it will take to get out of a marina.
We had a plan to get to Coral Bay, on the eastern end of St John by the end of the day. We left about 1 pm, a bit after we thought we would. We had a 10-15 knot east wind and it was on the stronger side to start. The sea had some nice 8′ swell and we had fun bashing through it as we tacked east along the south side of St. John. I had laid out a jackline so the boys were allowed to go for’ad provided they had their jackets and clipped in with their safety harnesses. We made sure they looped round the jackline and clipped both ends onto their jackets so they only had 3′ of tether so they might mash their head if they slipped, but not go over the side. Our rule of thumb is if you are not bleeding or do not have a broken bone, you need to stop crying. Or alternatively, “if no-one’s screaming, we ain’t heeling.”
The wind started to die late afternoon. Not that anyone noticed, the whole family was asleep. I developed a nifty technique of tacking by myself by using the autopilot. When just about to tack I would just punch the course change by 100 degrees on the autopilot and as it slowly brought me around, I would crank on the winch to get the jib across. It worked pretty well.
With the tacking we were having to do it was clear we were not going to reach Coral Bay. So, we motored into Snorkel Bay about 4pm to pick up one of the 12 NPS moorings that are there. It turns out there are only 5 now and we had to go back one cove to Limerick Bay. Here it was still as sheltered, and there were a dozen moorings with only six boats, so we easily got one. Had a family snorkel to the beach, saw a big turtle, had dinner, saw the sun go down (listened to a couple of people blow conches as it did) and all watched the amazing stars from the forward deck. And when I say amazing, they really were, black sky and a sea of white points. The trip can’t get any better with that kind of view!
Sailing With Kids Tip
Always have a backup anchorage plan when your first choice doesn’t pan out. With kids, towards the end of the day they will be tired and cranky, so make sure the backup is nearby!
Lameshur Bay gets 2 stars from Sailing With Kids