Volvo Open 70. From Tortola to Bermuda,¡


This was a good one. Monday night, Jay called and said, “So…. I’ve got 2 sailing adventures to talk about”…… , can you be ready to leave Wednesday morning?

Tortola , Virgin Isles, to Bermuda, 840 nautical miles, with 4 crew on a Volvo Ocean 70

Dawn took Jay and I to the airport, making sure I picked up a last minute can of chewing tobacco.

Sunrise in Tampa over the skyway bridge

Flew to San Juan with muscle bound blind guy. Took a while to figure out he was blind.

Small Saab powered prop plane with in flight pitch adjustable blades.

We took a Taxi to the west end with a local sailor. He pointed out wrecked boats, trashed mangroves, ruined buildings and tarps all over. Irma and Maria did a number here and there is a lot of real estate going back to nature.

Met up with Johanas and his man Kuba. One hour prep, lash dingy, rig fore sails, final drink at the dockside restaurant and we are off. Miscommunication at dock causes brief moment of chaos narrowly avoiding crushing the stern and possibly collision with anchored boat. All handled with aplomb. Took my jitters away, everybody fucks up sometime.

Dark quickly. First night was 18knots on a broad reach. Double reefed main with number 2 jib. Short choppy sea. Beautiful leaving Tortola lights of small houses all along the coast reaching up the hills. Bunks are spartan and my choice sucked. The crates under the netting were poking into my back forcing me to pick either 20 inches on the left or 25 on the right. On the left I had the hull pressing me and on the right I risked getting tossed 5 feet to the sole. 3 hour watches during dark 4 hour watches while light. Sitting on the stern I was punched in the kidneys by blue water. Took a couple of turns on the wheel, even reefed the boat is bumping up against 14knots. So smooth, so responsive, a F1 race car on water.

Average speed 11+ knots but the boat is capable of speeds in excess of 25.

Decided to put on foul weather gear.

First day at sea , winds were slightly lower.

No frills cruising. Water only. No cushions or deck chairs. I wonder if any of his clients expect those creature comforts?

Here are the best videos of a Volvo 70 I’ve found, the first is Roy Disney’s boat

Getting to know the carbon fiber boat.

Below, its as black as coal diggers… you know what. A very small galley greets you at the bottom of three long steps. Aft of the companionway is crew quarters with 16 bunks slung along the hull. The center is linkage for the 9 huge winches above deck. The Nav station is aft between the last set of bunks. Aft of the nav station is another compartment housing the steering gear connecting the twin Carbon wheels.


Forward is gear storage, the head and another large compartment leading to the bow where sails and covers are stored. All black.

All standing rigging is synthetic. All running rigging is spectra or similar material. Twin dagger boards ,canting keel. Soft shackles where ever possible.

Second night. Wore Helly Hanson gear and was good. Better berth. Bioluminescence, shooting stars, flying fish. No moon .

At dawn Kuba discovered the main halyard had parted. It didn’t take much to convince Johanas to go up with my GoPro. He recovered the halyard, affixed the sloppy wind instrument and put a different halyard on the main. New to me was the locking mechanism that takes the strain off the halyard. It kept the main up when the halyard let go but at the same time , we couldn’t drop the main until the skipper went aloft and reattached a halyard.

Looks like the skipper is chewing me out.

looks like a moment of reflection….

Buddies again….

But seriously, Johanas was great. Never a sharp word and an abundance of patience.

We never had any balls to the wall sailing but he indicated that I would be welcome on future deliveries. Who knows…. maybe I could get a berth on the Fast Net Race if he doesn’t sell all the positions.

Food was no frills as well, best described as peasant Eastern European, boiled potatoes with 2 fried eggs on top, spicy rice with beans and a Mystery ingredient that had the appearance and texture of heart of Palm. Mashed potatoes with spices and onions, European tomato soup with heavy cream on top. I have no complaints, It was all tasty and nutritious. heavy on carbs low on protein and artfully served hot in a Tupperware container. They will be provisioning the boat to cross the Atlantic in Bermuda and we were just going through the stores onboard.

Final day…. We motored all night a didn’t have a proper wind to raise the staysail and Genoa till dawn . I helmed the boat for a couple of hours in the afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed it. We should be at Bermuda late tonight and plan to drop hook once in and shake it out sometime tomorrow.

Great dreams,,, Getting into all kinds of trouble in Vienna formal circus.

Becalmed… the first 24 hours we sailed 255 miles under sail. The rest we motor sailed.

A real highlight was going up the mast.

Dinner at Rick Thompson’s House.

Oxford Guest house

Snooker at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club

Dock yard

Oceanographic institute with VR