Thursday, March 29, 2012


Well I tried to check out at 11.30 but although the Customs and Immigration office was open and working the harbour master was shut and although the staff were there something important was keeping them too busy to open the hatch and issue the all important bridge docket. No docket no clearance we were told. Ferries full of people, mega yachts with multi millionaires on board and the skipper of Elephants Child all had to wait till 2.30 before they could escape.

While waiting to check out I was talking to one of the St Barts skippers waiting to check out and he did confirm that Hetairos had hit the bottom shaving a mark too close. Rumour has it that there is 15 tonnes of lead attached to a stub keel on the bottom, I wonder how long it will be there?

Rumour also has it that the owner is NOT HAPPY.

I wonder if the skipper is dusting off his CV?

I wandered up to have a fish taco at the little roadside operation run by a Dominican/Mexican couple who make the best fish tacos on the island. Alas their little operation is no more.

Also closed were the bar that made great veggie platters

and my final hope was the the little hole in the wall operation that produced good pizza. But guess what they are shut as well.<

The only place open was advertised by a pair of golden arches and I was not that desperate.

It was a 90 mile sail from Simpson Bay St Maarten to Jolly Harbor Antigua and I managed to sail all the way even though the wind did not go quite as far to the North as predicted. I was reduced to dropping the keel to point a little better and only resorted to the motor a couple of times when the wind went light and boatspeed dropped below 3 knots.

Got there in the dark but the entrance is well lit and the anchoring area is enormous so I felt happy breaking my rule about no night entances. The moon althoungh newish was still giving enough light to show up the odd boat anchored incognito [ lightless ].

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Well I should be off to Antigua early tomorrow. The forecast is for the wind to flick North for a day so I will take advantage of the fair wind and go.

It appears there has been a spate of dinghy/engine thefts in the last week or so in this area. I wonder if my customs rummage was connected, did they suspect me?

Someone has asked if I forced Hetairos on to the rocks and I sincerly hope that was not the case but as we were in deep water I suspect she may have found an uncharted rock earlier on, close to one of the marks she had to round for the race. I think she is pretty deep draft.

I would have heard by now.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


I was tired after the long sail up nevertheless I had a pleasant afternoon wandering around the harbor in Gustavia, St Barts, watching the mega mega rich arriving for the bucket races. The shuttle puddle jumper from St Maarten was running non stop and I heard they have a new parking problem at St Maarten airport. Where to put all the Lear Jets and Gulfstreams that had flown the glitterati down to the islands. The delivery/race crews were washing and polishing their charges before donning fresh matching shirts and shorts to greet the owners, Dom Perignon chilling down below for the owners and beer for the crew. Hanuman was there with its new battle flag, I suspect that it's owner may not have quite the gravitas of some of the other racers.

The elegant J Endeavor was there fresh from an extensive refit in NZ along with Ranger and Velsheda. The coming together of the 4 J class yachts encouraged the race organizers to put on a special exibition race and I was looking forward to watching it the following day as I went to sleep.

I was awoken early with a knock by the harbor master requesting that I move as I was too close to another boat. Fair enough I thought I had anchored last but he had let out more rode after I anchored but hey ho. As came to I realized that my dinghy was missing. Unclipped, untied and the security wire cut, I was a victim of the midnight dinghy thief. As I moved I passed another dinghy 50 m away that I had seen as I anchored the day before, a brand new AB with a big shiny Honda 4st. Just tied to an empty mooring buoy no security lock or anything. Now I had always been a bit smug about my outboard, it was a 28 year old Johnson, prehistoric in outboard terms and I had thought that no self respecting thief would bother with it but someone wanted it badly along with my very identifiable dinghy with it's ingrained painted on Virgin Island registration letters. Ah well it is my 10th year as a liveaboard and my first theft.

So I blagged a ride in and spent the morning doing the rounds of officialdom reporting the theft and removing the dinghy and engine from my customs clearance papers. FOUR sets of officials had to be visited, officialdom overkill!

After that I could only watch the exibition race from the quayside but it was overcast and raining so it might not have been that much fun out in the dinghy, still it would be nice to have had the option.

You are pretty stuffed on a boat without a dink so I organized one in the duty free island of St Maarten cleared out from St Barts blagged a ride out to Elephants Child from a friendly local dive boat and headed out next day.

I timed my departure to get a sight of the race boats but had not realized that some faster boats were given a longer course with the final leg a reciprocal of my course to St Maarten. It was a gray and very rainy day but I got a few pics of the slower boats before realizing that there were a pack of mega million dollar boats emerging from the grey mist and heading straight for me. MUMMY! Still a few slalom manouvres and I am sure no race boat had to alter course for me although Hetairos the brand new 216 ft ketch did seem to be altering course anyway as it brought up the rear of the pack. I was lucky enough to get a great shot of Endeavor with the crew dangling their feet over the side and doing it without a safety rail. No wussy lifelines for these boys, just a little toe rail as it was the old days of yacht racing. I think Endeavor was the first J home. I don't lust after much BUT if I was a mega millionaire I would buy her or a replica, shear boat pornography!

Cleared in to St Maarten [ more officialdom needing the same information filled in THREE TIMES] having blagged another ride in and bought a shiny new AB dink and a shiny new Tohatsu 18 hp outboard.

Back on the boat after lunch I am snoozing down below when I get a knock on the side of the boat, it's a Dutch coastguard rib wanting to do an inspection. Three set of jackboots came aboard two inspecting all drawers lockers and cubby holes down below except they did not get their uniforms dirty and sweaty by investigating the hard to get space below the cockpit. In fact they did not even look in to it with a torch. Guess what even MORE OFFICIAL forms had to be filled in.

So I am hoping for a quiet night or two in the St Maarten lagoon to catch up on sleep before I head back down to Antigua on the first good forecast. Why do I need sleep well there was a really big sound system in ST Barts BLASTING out over the anchorage to 4 am and last night in St Maarten I must have anchored off the local night club which again was blasting out to 4 am. Yes I moved again.


Most seriously damaged was the largest yacht in the fleet, the very impressive 67m Baltic Yacht Hetairos, designed by one of hottest current yacht design collaborations possible, Dysktra and Reichel/Pugh. She unfortunately hit a submerged rock and did quite a bit of damage to her keel – yet finished the race to the bitter end.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Great sail up, I was thinking I might have to motor during the night section of the passage as the wind often drops but as soon as I gat a mile off Antigua the breeze kicked in and it was a broad reach all the way up.

Arrived to see several billion dollars yes BILLION, being thrashed around in the channel of the harbour entrance.

The seriously wealthy were out practicing for the bucket.

I can't wait for tomorrow and the 4 J class yachts strutting their stuff!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


i am off to St Barts at midnight for the 'Bucket' Regatta, I should get there about mid day Wednesday.

The regatta organisers are putting on an exhibition race with the 4 J class yachts on Thursday, Hanuman Velsheda Ranger and Endeavour. I shall be there and hope to get some good pics. A near unique sight I think.

This is Endeavour.


I had a really weird moment a couple of days ago, I had gotten up switched the VHF on and was dozing away waiting for the coastguard to come on with the morning forecast. Suddenly I was caught in a time warp and transmitted back to LUCY LOCKET the trailer sailor that I had explored the coast of Yugoslavia in. Why well there was an outburst, a flood, nay a torrent of Slav language on the VHF. On and on and on it went, For a second I was back on Lucy Locket out there listening to the VHF and trying to muster the few words I had learned to raise the harbormaster. It turns out that it is Russian sailing week and they were all calling in to the harbourmaster in Russian [ similar to Serbo Croat ] and it sounded just like the words I had learned.

Sunday, March 18, 2012



Well what can you say but go Jeanne go. At 69 and a grandmother she is on her second solo circumnavigation. Her SV Nereida, a Najad 380, is 40 days out from Cape Town enroute to Hobart. After another good sailing day - but bumpY she reports - Hobart is still 1559 sailing miles away (via the S. Capes) to the ESE.

Her blog reported by satellite phone from the fairly deep in the southern ocean is one I follow.


Watched the the local cruiser racers head out for their Sunday 'beer can races as I lie anchored just outside Jolly Harbor.

Fixed the power cord for the GPS by cannibalizing one of the sockets used on connecting up my radio control gear. I knew that box of bits would come in useful.

Replaced the footswitch for my anchor windlass. This is the 5th Lofrans switch I have fitted. Each time I swear that I will find another way of handling the electricery associated with getting the motor to do both UP and DOWN but not so far.

Dove on the boat to have a look at the bottom. I knew I would have some fouling and was aware that the green weed had been growing at a prodigious rate during the 10 days in harbour. But the main hull is good. The prop not so good and this area under the stern badly weeded. Still it was only a few minutes work to scrape the weed off. I am just mystified as to why it grows there and there alone.

It has been an overcast afternoon gray and cool so I was not expecting much of a show as the sun sank in the west but the Lords of the Sunset had a surprise in store. They delved deep into their goody bag of special effects and produced quite a spectacle.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Falmouth harbour days

I was coming back from a morning constitutional on Pidgeon Island beach when I spotted the elegant J class boat Ranger making a careful and stately exit from the Famouth Harbour marina. As she passed down the channel a swarm of Optimists erupted from the yacht club with much tacking and shouting but as they hit the channel they all turned and followed Ranger.

It was a perfect Kodak moment but alas no camera. So I searched the web for an alternative.


Antigua and Barbuda Search And Rescue were busy today. First of all one of the locally built wooden sloops lost it's rig just outside Falmouth harbour.

There was some kind of event going on I believe maybe a race. Anyway they had a strong crew on board and were able to get themselves sorted out and motor back in.

Shortly after that there was a report of an EPIRB being activated with the location being given as Five Island Harbour.

ABSAR were dispatched to check it out.

Thursday, March 1, 2012



I spotted this sitting at the dock in Falmouth and at first thought it might be something to do with the British Armed Forces Joint Services Training organization which I had links to in my hang gliding days but nowadays JST.ORG.UK links to different body. The Tenacious is of on a circumnavigation and there are many new and repeat customers having an experience of a lifetime.

A wheelchair in the air is an unusual sight but not on the Jubilee Sailing Trust's square rigger Tenacious. The trust offers those with physical difficulties a chance to go sailing. The vessels are adapted to be wheel chair friendly.


Slipstream appeared this morning but no sign of the owner one Simon Cowell. This mega monster is reputed to have cost close to 200 million US dollars and costs about the same at the fuel dock I guess.


This motor yacht has been here for a while and stands out from the crowd with it's unconventional looks and an odd name. She is called Bartender.

Maisie Rose of Bristol anchored in Falmouth a day or two ago and I have not had a chance to talk to the owner yet. At first I thought it might have been a fishing boat conversion but on closer inspection it seems to be a new build with some fishing boat in the design and an old fashioned gaff rig.


No chance of seeing a green flash in Falmouth but the sunsets get spectacular sometimes as the setting sun lights up the clouds and shoots bright rays up from behind the hils.

Also shooting along were the usual bunch of lasers being raced by the kids from the Antigua Yacht Club. I suspect racing would have been called of in the UK by Elf and Hatey, it was blowing 20 knots and gusting to 20.