Tuesday, March 30, 2010

HUMMERS ROWERS KILLERS AND LAUNDRY

HUMMER



The buildings of English Harbour are discreetly restored and well planted with flowers. And the blossoms bring the hummers. Got a nice shot with my new toy a Nikon with a 24 x zoom.



MORE ROWERS

Watched a pair of Yorkshire boys row into English harbour today. Lots of people to greet them and their first proper food for 83 days awaited them on shore. Watching them reeling about as they tried to find their land legs took me back to trying to walk into customs in Fort de France after our 30 day transatlantic.

Chatted to a few other rowers including a father and son team and Lia Ditton a 29 year old professional sailor and artist who has completed 12 ocean crossings, 3 racing solo plus other races and deliveries spanning some 75,000 miles but all in yachts.



She stepped in at the very last second [on a whim??] as a replacement in the Canaries and barely knew Mick Birchall when they left. Mick got to know her back view pretty well by Antigua.

I was told that rowing naked while sitting on a sheepskin reduces chafe which causes open sores to form. They put some clothes on at the finish line though.










NO MORE TEACHING
The feral children - violent, amoral, unteachable and later unemployable –but wearing school blazers struck in London with an organised gang battle leaving a young man dead. In Antigua the uniformed school children seem to be amazingly polite and well behaved.

I learned that in an Antiguan classroom the teachers word is still law and no teacher is expected to handle persistantly 'difficult' children.

Unlike the UK they are never obliged to conduct classes in which the presence of disruptive boys and girls is taken for granted.

I am glad I escaped the tyranny of the Ofstead inspections where one student ' failing to learn ' made your grade less than good. But I suppose I was lucky in teaching in a 6th form college wher students could be kicked out for misbehaving and they did not have to be there.

I know so many UK based teachers who just want to get out of the classroom.

Dangerous place England?



NO WATER

“No water so we wash no clothes”! That is what they said to me when I toiled up the steps of the laundry with three bags of soiled sheets soggy towels and some underwear.

Antigua has a growing shortage of water. So they just turn off the supply to some areas. However the golf courses are staying nice and green somehow even though there has been a long dry spell.

Anybody got some handwash soap?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

REDONDA MONTSERRAT AND ROWING TO ANTIGUA


I left the peace and quiet of Five Island Bay somewhat reluctantly but I needed a laundry and also wanted to find out if my official boat papers had arrived. So it was off to the fleshpots of Falmouth and Engish Harbour.
It had been a good clear sky last night and the horizon had been free of cloud so when I watched the sunset there was the merest hint of green as it slipped out of sight just to the left of Redonda.




So I was not surprised to get a good look at Montserrat as I sailed around the south west corner of Antigua and beat up Goat channel.



I want to sail over to Montserrat when my new crew arrives but the recent eruptions have been a bit off putting. It looks quite quiet from my pic unlike the towering clouds of ash spewing out recently just now.

It all started in 1992 when the sleeping monster started to move and mutter and belch just a little, by 1995 it was clear that a major eruption was coming and the area around the volcano was evacuated including the town of Plymouth. It was not until September the 17th 1996 that it really cut loose with 9 hours of dome collapses and pyroclastic flows. The eruption fired giant 1.5 m diameter ballistic blocks more than 2 km. The eruption plume reached 14 km into the stratoshere and about 600,000 tonnes of ash buried southern Montserrat.



These were mostly phreatic eruptions an event caused when water and heated volcanic rocks interact to produce a violent expulsion of steam and pulverized rocks.

Things rumbled on at a much lower level until 2003 when it blew it's top with lots of ash and some bombing and it did it again in 2006 but this time with enough sulpher dioxide to be smelt in other islands.

But after this things quietened down and the inhabitants started to drift back and tourists ventured to the island to view the sleeping monster.

However it is stirring again and the past six months have seen some of the most vigorous activity of the whole eruption. The northern part of the dome with a volume of 40-50 million cubic metres collapsed over a two-hour period, producing large pyroclastic flows and surges mainly to the north and northeast. The event generated a large ash column with extensive ash fall on Guadeloupe and other parts of the eastern Caribbean.




You probably saw this picture of the ash column snapped by a tourist on a commercial flight in the news.

However it has quietened down again. So the question is do we sail over to Montserrat and go have a look at it all. The tourist board says yes, “Come to lovely Montserrat”; well they would wouldn't they. The northern part of the Island has been safe throughout but I still think of the mayor of St Pierre under Mont Pelee saying “stay, everything is wonderful. You are quite safe.”


ROW BOATS

Antigua is the destination for the transatlantic rowers this year and they are starting to arrive in English harbour.







29 rowing boats are shown to be either on their way or here already. Some solo mostly pairs but a few fours are paddling the Atlantic.












80 days eh! No wonder they are looking a bit spaced out.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

DOG MUSHER and WINDMILLS

Well my last post about travelling across country with dogs raised some activity on the comments section.


However here is how I remember travelling around with our dog well Carol's dog, and it was a case of me providing the muscle and sweat and the dog travelling in style. Thanks to Carol for digging the picture out from the folders on Washington. We walked down to the damn and explored the area around it with Charo but his back legs just were not up to the climb back up so he hopped on board and I did the mushing.

Martello tower?



I thought at first that this might have been some sort of fortified gun position as it is placed to allow it to cover the bay with cannon fire but it has a more mundane use. It was almost certainly one of the many windmills built and used in the 1700s to process sugar cane.


Like many islands in the Caribbean, Antigua's economy was defined by its sugar plantations. Each plantation had its own windmill (sometimes more than one), which crushed the cane between rollers to extract the juice.


In 1705 there were reportedly 170 windmills on the island, and many of the towers remain, though often in a state of decay.


This one is quite well preserved.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

SUN SNOW DOGS JAMAICA JIMMY BUFFET and THE IDITAROD


It all started for me when Carol and I visited the legendary Muktuk dog mushing kennels near Whitehorse in the Yukon. I had been aware of the sled dog race called the Iditarod before but this visit put some serious flesh on the bones. Manuela a charming master carpenter from Germany and apprentice musher showed us round the kennels and when pushed admitted that she had dreams of running the 'Big One' the 1049 mile 8 to 15 day Iditarod.

We visited the Iditarod museum near Wasilla outside Anchorage and got to ride in a wheeled buggy behind a team.

I started following the stories of the Iditarod and the similar Yukon Quest race. Stories of how the traditional sled dogs the huskies have been displaced by crossbreds who are just plain faster. Stories of mushers like Libby Riddles taking off into killer storms to win the race. She was named the 1985 Sportswoman of the Year by the Women’s Sports Foundation and honored by the Iditarod veterinarians with the 1985 Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award  for her humane treatment of her dogs. Also, her champion lead dogs, Dugan and Sister, won the 1985 Golden Harness Award which is given to the outstanding lead dog(s) during the Iditarod race.

Nearly 200 dogs have died during the race over the years but this year was the first without a dog death.

I also read about a serious ironman called Lance Mackay who this year made it 4 Iditarod wins in a row despite not being allowed to smoke his ganja this year. He is a cancer survivor and is prescribed marijuana for pain management.

But what has Jamaica and Jimmy Buffet got to do with dog racing in Alaska.


Well a Jamaican entrepreneur called Danny Melville thought up a new way to separate tourists from their dosh. He bought a dog buggy similar to the one we rode in, rescued some dogs from the local pound and ' Sled dogs in the sun ' was born.

Some of the early training was done in Scotland I am pretty sure that the upper one of the two here is a pic from haggis land. To me the dogs look a bit like Charro but Carol may disagree.


It was a short step to thoughts of emulating the Jamaican Bobsleigh team immortalized in Cool Runnings and entering a Jamaican in the Iditarod.

Somehow Jimmy Buffet got involved [ boy would I love to have been a fly on the wall in that meeting ] and soon Newton Marshall, 27, from St Ann Parish was off to Alaska and training with Lance Mackay . He finished 47th out of 71 starters in the Iditarod race, the first black “musher” to finish the epic course suffering frostbite and surviving on very little sleep over 12 days, four hours and 27 minutes.

What about Manuela. I had found her blog shortly after we visited the kennels but there were very few postings. It turns out that she had not paid enough attention to her own feet while worrying about her dogs paws and had gotten her toes badly frostbitten one day. She is still suffering from this but is back out on the sled.

I hope she succeds for she too dreams by day.

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible."
~ T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

VOLCANOES AND LAVA FLOWS



I moved down to Five Island bay in the hopes of getting some clear water amongst other things but it is like pea soup sooooo I have been doing a some exploration on shore.

Just off my stern is this feature called Stoney Horn on the charts. However I think it is the remains of a lava flow as is the other nearby headland. The formations both remind me of pictures of molten lava flowing down into the sea.

The beach hs no obvious road or path leading to it so I dinghied over and climbed up to the point where the blowhole seemed to be. As you can see from the pic it is a fissure in the tongue of lava and while not as spectacular as the one in Bufadora it is still impressive. Shooting 30 feet or more skywards.

I wonder how old these flows are. A quick search on the 3W comes up with nothing on Antigua being active in recent years.

It is a quiet night and a sunset that has run a highlighter over the edges of the clouds.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

REALLY BAD BREATH IN THE MORNING CAN BE A GOOD THING

Well someone breathed out while I was having my toast this morning and he/she really needs to floss.



The huff of fishy
breath signalled a pod of 3 dolphins swimming past the boat and round the bay.The toast got cold as I slipped over the side to join them. 10 minutes later I got back to the ladder totally knackered but set up for the day.

I wish I had taken the time to get my snorkel gear on but flippers or not it was a great moment as they seemed relaxed around the boats and not bothered by this splashy fat whale nearby.

They continued to work around the bay stopping from time to time to root around on the bottom. I suspect they are digging some fish out but could not see exactly what they were doing.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Anchored in clean water with a clear view of the horizon.

Finally escaped from the clutches of customs immigration and port control after lots of ahuttling between the three different offices. At least they are in the same building. The dates do not match on the boat papers and my passport. I month for the boat and 3 months for me.

Any I left the murky waters and mud of Jolly Harbour and sailed North up the coast to Deep Bay.

As soon as I got the hook down I was in the water. It was glorious to paddle round the wreck in clear water.

The name of the ship was the barque "Andes", a three masted steel merchant sailing ship, that sailed from Trinidad on 5th June 1905 with a cargo of 1,330 barrels of pitch to be used for the paving of roads in Chile. As there had been no Panama canal yet built, the route around the tip of South America was to sail first north-east over the Atlantic, thence across the South Atlantic with the trade winds to Cape Horn. As the cargo had been stowed badly, it seems heat had developed through friction caused by rubbing, enough to cause smoldering. Capt. Rees Griffiths decided to put into Antigua, but the Harbour Master made the "Andes" anchor in Deep Bay, since she would have been a danger to shipping in St. John's Harbour. When the hatches were opened to unload and inspect the cargo, the added air caused a conflagration. Her decks fell in and her rigging was consumed. The "Andes" sank bow first on June 9th and there she still lies.


I did not stop to tidy up the boat. Poor Elephants Child was littered with fenders and docklines. But I needed that swim to wake me up and keep me going through the afternoon as I am really tired after the passage down. I was expecting to get a few naps but there was never a moment when I could not see the lights of another boat on a closing or crossing course so I needed to be on watch.


As I was leaving the bay in St Martin I got this pic of a salvage operation. Wonder what went wrong?













Well it is another technicolour sunset but no green flash ,however when I fired up the computer guess what, a solid wifi link.

It is fairly peaceful at the moment. the pan band at the nearby hotel must be on a smoke break and the full blooded French domestic disagreement on a nearby boat is on break as well

Got a comment on the blog from an old model flying, stock car racing, 3 litre BMC tank driving friend who is into real flying nowadays. I do not have his email address soooooo.

Hi John,
Long time no see. I've just found out which part of the world you are in from Liz.
I will be island hopping round the Bahamas by light aircraft from 16th - 26th April. Un- fortunately the furthest south we can go is Crooked Island but if you are in the area I'd love to meet.
Pete Malone.

Sorry Pete but at the moment I am about a thousand hard won miles east of Crooked Island. While with crew I could probably get there from Antigua in 6 to 7 days getting back to Antigua against wind and current takes months.

You should have CAVU some of the time and be able to see the shallow waters of the Bahamas perfectly.

Arrived in Antigua

Arrived in Antigua after a quiet overnight passage, mostly motoring.

Really nice people in Customs Immigration and Port Control BUT they insist on you being at their dock yet had nobody to take lines on the dock and a nasty crosswind had set up.

I am off up to Deep Bay and a swim before an early night to catch up with some sleep.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

ANTIGUA BOUND AGAIN

Checked out again for Antigua today the 16th.

Probably be motoring all the way as the wind is very light.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Delapidation Tintamarre and Iris heads for Panama

I may give up on this tonight as my connection is very flaky.

RAVEYARDS FOR MANY AND THE LAST CHANCE SALOON FOR A FEW

After the well kept charter boats of the BVI the well polished megayachts of the Palapa marina in the St Marten lagoon and the workmanlike but well used liveaboards at anchor in the lagoon it is a little sad to see another genus of boat afloat [ just ] ashore or aground, the ones on or needing life support in a critical care ward and those that are already dead and just need a decent burial.


From a distance this big wooden ketch looks in pretty good nick









but close up you see the holes in her sides where rotten wood has disappeared and the interior is on view.













These boats have foliage growing to through the rigging and reaching the top of the masts,













This dink looks like it might belong to one of the still afloat, but just, ones.





The boatyards on the French side seem to hold the most desperate cases, often with a lone guy beavering away on it at the weekends and evenings while working all day for a pittance.

Round the edges of the lagoon are a few rusting freightors that have been beached perhaps in a last ditch attempt to keep them from sinking in the lagoon after the pumps could no longer cope with the leaks from the rusting plates of the hull.

There are exceptions with this old fishing boat in commision and looking like it might be good for a few more ocean miles.

But this one looks like it has been the recent recipient of a shed load of TLC yet seems abandoned in the lagoon with peeling paint and dried out decks.

I was a little depressed by all this disrepair dilapidation and decrepitude including the sad sight of this steel boat wrecked on the reef but my spirits were lifted to the skies when the sublime sight of a J class yacht under sail thundered past the Eastern shore of St Maarten when we were at anchor at Tintamarre.


It was the Endeavour replica Hanuman and they were sailing her for once. Apparently the sails especially the main have a limited life due to the stresses involved and the crew on the Endevour were talking about $1000 dollars to hoist the main.

I know I keep banging on about Hanuman but you can keep the rest of the megayachts, I would not swap Elephants Child for any of them but offered Hanuman and I would be in a quandry. She is magnificent!

TINTAMARRE

This tiny island off the East coast of St Martin is a marine park and was a good place for Iris to have a last swim before heading to Panama and her next crewing opportunity. As the day sail boats had arrived including Tiko Tiko the boat from the nudist beach and were raising a rumpus in the water and on shore with more or less clothes on we walked over the island to the windward side and waded along the lagoon looking for a good spot.





Iris surprised a couple of young lemon sharks in only a foot of water and became a little less enthusiastic about snorkeling but we were soon in the water although keeping a wary eye out for sharks.

I spotted this relic of another reef disaster, a rudder post and quadrant from a medium size boat. The owner had commissioned a guard in the shape of a tiny fish who made repeated charges at the camera and my mask in an effort to drive off the intruder

I only had a fleeting glimpse of a shark but caught this shy fellow hiding under a coral arch. He is a blowfish but I resisted the temptation to provoke him or her into blowing herself up.

We briefly considered another look at the passage south to Antigua but the wind had clearly clocked even more Easterly so we romped back to Marigot bay with a quartering wind to catch the 5.30 bridge opening into the lagoon. Iris hand steered all the way and the conditions allowed us to 'butterfly' or go 'wing on wing' some of the way. Again I was slightly surprised and very pleased at the speed of Elephants Child as the GPS showed several periods of 8 knots. We would be even faster with a totally clean bottom. That lagoon is a very fertile place indeed!

So we are back in the lagoon again when I had hoped to be in Antigua. Still I am a cruiser and do not have to beat myself my crew and my boat up making unpleasant passages.

.

Iris insisted in taking me out for dinner before departing for Panama. She dug out her little black dress from the backpack and I did my best with a clean Tshirt. We had a splendid meal on the French side with me able to reacquaint myself with the delights of “Soupe de Poisson” and “Navarin du Porc”.

On the morning of her departure one of the many people she had met in St Martin heard her on the morning cruisers net asking for directions to the airport and on learning that she was going insisted on coming over to see her off! Mark from South Africa had spent 3 years rebuilding a steel 40 footer before sailing her from South Africa to the Caribbean where he was at work in St Maarten building the cruising kitty up again.


As I write this in the evening I thought back on the weeks Iris had been aboard and “ Tis a fine time we had.”

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Decided not to leave for Antigua

Quick update.

I wimped out after a mile, the wind was clocking around a little faster than forecast and the swell was making it pretty uncomfortable when we were hard on the wind which we would need to be to make Antigua in one tack so we ran back to Tintamarre and explored that instead.

So we are back in the big lagoon on St Martin with unfavourable winds forecast for at least the next week.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Antigua bound

We are leaving for Antigua tomorrow and should be there sometime on Friday.

We plan to stop off at Tintamarre for a snorkel then take off from there down the eastern side of St Barts to Antigua overnight and should be clearing in at St Johns before midday if all goes well.

Monday, March 8, 2010

FUN IN ST MAARTEN




St Maarten has it's ups and downs. For instance you have

Bada Bing

I guess the girls are busy with the influx of testosterone for the Heineken Regatta. Flyers for this and other clubs litter the race headquarters advertising their services. Bada Bing looks much less seedy than most with its adjacent 'mansion' rented out to some sailors for the week.








And after the tacky you have the glorious!








HANUMAN [The monkey god in Hindu mythology that is Rams right hand “man”.]

We were dinghying along this row of mega yachts when I spotted the pointy bow of a real yacht, a blast from the past, a return to the glory days of J boat racing. I thought at first sight it was the Endeavor and a look at it from the stern made me even more sure but the name was wrong. There were some other differences too from the boat I had seen some 15 years ago in the Caribbean, the great J class Endeavor restored to sailing glory by Elizabeth Meyer . A little research found that this was a replica Endeavor built from scratch as a look and feel replica.

Folk Lauric. I heard the name on the cruisers net and I wondered could it be the same boat I had seen in Bequia with Dudley and Flora on board. I gave them a call on the VHF and yes it was. They are the first people and boat that I have seen from my days out as a live aboard cruiser some 15 years ago. Folk Lauric was steel and custom made for Ken and Peggy. I met them when Ken had just had hip replacement surgery in Martinique and they sold the boat to Dudley and Flora who had outgrown Heroes. The boat looks much the same but Dudley and Flora just move their house occasionally so Folk Lauric has not been sailing for some years.


They live with Lilley a dog they rescued in Bequia and Disco a really cute cat they rescued from the gas station here in St Maarten. They have a flourishing Aloe Vera plant on board and Iris has been using some of the natural product. [iris: It really does help to be able to tell the difference between the real Aloe Vera and other lookalike plants from the agave family, as Claudia and I found out on a trip to Spain in a rather unpleasant way ;-) Well, this one really does its job in easing my latest sun rushes and scratched mosquito bites.] Dudley no longer makes the killer Ts that Flora used to row around the anchorage selling to the charterers but is still using his paint skills on mega yacht interiors.

MAST CLIMB






After getting to know the boat from underneath the cockpit, John sent me up the mast to apply some ropes and shackles to the spreader and to a block at the top of the 15m (??)mast. As I had discovered my passion for climbing in a National Park in Chile with very experienced friends, I was really looking forward to this new little challenge and enjoying a good areal view of the boat and the entire bay.
The chest harness turned out as being a lot less comfortable than a hip harness and the waves produced by passing motor boats presented an additional challenge to the job that required both hands. However, with John's double securing I felt quite relaxed and enjoyed it so much that I sure would like to do it again! Whilst up there, I also took a picture of our neighbours' boat, a couple from Toronto, which were quite happy having an aerial view of their boat.


LUNCH
We had lunch at Cuginis on the French side as a thank to Iris for working all morning up the mast and it was splendid.

The restaurant was new, a joint venture by a couple of retired Sicilian cousins who enjoyed setting it up and choosing the d├ęcor. We had to ask about the woman in the pictures but it is of course Sophia Loren. All in all a pretty 'tony' place In fact the French side in general has more style than the Dutch side [iris: But that doesn't really surprise anybody, does it...? Looking at the rather well selected wine card, John had to drop that I'm from that business - much to my dislike. However, it probably would have been quite entertaining following the rather charming waiter's request to go through their wines with him. However, the prospect of a 30-bottle wine tasting with feeled 95% humidity + 34°C made me back off – I'm here for fun after all, so went for a swim at the beach afterwards instead.

THE RACING
We went out in the dinghy into the Bay to watch the start on Saturday and found a 2 meter swell running.

We puttered around and decided not to try and beach the dinghy on the point which had been plan A as the likelihood of a dinghy roll was altogether too high. We had hoped to see the big boys come past with spinnakers flying but it was not to be. We saw them in the distance doing some short windward leeward races and generally milling around.



We kept hoping they would come by but it did not happen. However the bareboats and the odd cruiser were starting their races round to Marigot right in front of us so we were entertained.


RACE REPORTS FROM THE PARTIES
With this mega event happening just right in front of our noses, I couldn't help but to take the opportunity and join the crowd. With John claiming he doesn't like too loud music I was left alone to explore the local night life – though I'm not sure how representative this last week has been for the island...
There always seems to be something going on in The Soggy Dollar Bar at the Palapa dock, a hangout for crews and locals. After bumping into a rather odd, clumsy and clunky German at the bar who claimed to be an engineer, having fixed the motor of Abramovich's yacht being on anchor far outside and who had been flewn in in a helicopter with some other mates, I fled hiding at the pool table. Not long, I was invited to join the game – a Spanish girl and a French master player in one team, me and a Jamaican guy in the other team. As we girls were equally bad, I didn't feel too ashamed and just enjoyed the night having a good laugh and watching the precise shots of the others who obviously had done this more than many times before.
Unfortunately, going home, the outboard of the dingy let me down. Having been watched by a Portuguese dive instructor from the company next door, I was given many good advises. In the end, he gave it a try himself, just to see there was nothing to do. Obviously wanting being a helpful young man, he offered to tow me with the diving school dinghy. You won't believe his embarrassment, when his engine failed to start, too! So I decided to row back, which actually took me half an hour against the gusty winds – best way to arrive totally sober and with all the beer calories burnt off...
Thursday night I went to the Rock festival at Port de Plaisance. I bumped into a young American who claimed just having won a thousand USD at the black jack in one of the many casinos. He had come the first year without sailing in the regatta, just to party. But since the music was not really my dance style, I went home early with a very well behaving out boarder, and challenged John at a couple of Gin Rummy games.
On Friday, the party took place at Philippsburg's outspread boardwalk with many stages, good music and a happy crowd. So I danced in the beach and even challenged myself in winch grinding competition-without much success, though. Funny to see people you know in such a remote place: Almost every night, I bumped into a Canadian cruising family from S/V Lala, who John had met back in St. John's some weeks ago. On the bus returning me to Simpson Bay, where John was waiting in the dinghy, I met some guys from Vancouver, who've come the 5th time for participating with a bare boat - and partying. 40 guys on the loose, they had to chose the very descriptive name: “Too pie-eyed pirates”. However, they managed to come in 5th out of 15 in their class. Friday had started with some wind, but went down to very mellow winds and it took them 6 and a half hours for the track around the island – last year they did same in 2 and a half! Due to lack of internet and too
much annoying, unusefull information in the radio, we don't know how they managed the last two days, yet.
Saturday, the party was in Marigot, on the French side. I bumped into a incredibly drunk women in her fifties, who embraced me like a sister and asked an unknown guy next to us to get me a beer. There are odd people in this world... He was a disgraceful feeling Dutch skipper of a bareboat team: On Friday, they came in last, and on Saturday he screwed up the start and they maintained on the last place. Again, no clue how he was doing today, with winds up and heavy rain coming down. Without a doubt, they were enjoying themselves, no matter what.
This time, the engine decided once again to refuse its services. This time, rowing home would have taken at least two hours, so I was happy to find a young gentleman with a posh and, most important working engine to give me a lift.
Today, we woke up with lots of wind and rain (not all paradise here!) and again, no internet access. So maybe we'll make an excursion to the shore in the afternoon to check up on the final results of our favourite boats and racers.
The final party is gonna be at Kim Sha Beach. However, with dark grey clouds hanging over the mountains and not knowing if the engine will be behaving or not, I'm still indecisive whether to join or not.
However, this has been a fun and splendid week, and the people from St. Maarten and the organizers of the race certainly did there utmost to make sure everybody is having a great time – undoubtedly very recommendable!

John says "I gotta fix this engine! It is a party pooper after 9.30pm it just will not start!"



And one for my biking mates. Not your everyday Goldwing.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Match racing and plumbing victories!


.

Iris folded herself into the space under the cockpit and we worked out the plumbing intricacies and tracked down the reason for the lack of water in the front shower. As I had suspected it was not connected but the break was in an unexpected place. When we found the disconnection it was a matter of minutes to remove the shunts, connect up the T pieces and then the water flowed in the front shower.

I also have a series of pictures of the inaccessible [ to me anyway ] space under the cockpit with its plumbing and electrical work shown thanks to Iris.


After lunch we went off to watch the match racing and discovered it was a pretty high powered affair despite the rather humble and mundane boats being raced with many of the top boats being skippered and crewed by Americas cup sailors. The top prize of $5000 dollars was not to shabby for a mornings work either.

We could not understand what was going on as there seemed to be 4 boats going at it but it turns out that when it was explained to us that it was match racing one one one but that two races were on the course at any one time with a staggered start. The start line maneuvering seemed exceptionally aggressive with many penalty flags being waved on all sides before any racing started. But I suppose if you are used to getting close up and personal when sailing megabucks 60 footers then 20 foot Jeaneaus are a slow and relaxed by comparison.




Many thanks to Marc Fitzgerald long time skipper of the megayacht Sojana who took the time to explain things to us.


We will be watching for Sojana racing in spinnaker 2.