Thursday, February 27, 2014


Drat left the pic download cable on the table. PICS TO COME!

Well I am feeling lower than a worm. I have abandoned my little cat Dizzy to cat prison and he may well see it as cat hell as he is surrounded by yappy dogs.

But all my attempts to find a suitable boat/cat sitter had 'gang agly' and it was time for the back up plan to swing into action. I had cleared into Antigua with this as a possibility so Dizzy had his stamp from the Ministry vet and had been granted the freedom of Antigua and Barbuda. The option that I found to board him was PAAWS a no kill animal sanctuary in Param at the North end of the island. I had emailed them a few weeks ago but was down to the wire when I spoke to them. They said they would find space somehow but had 10 cats come in on Friday and were full up. I had not seen the sanctuary although I have visited Param before. It was a pleasant surprise to find a very clean operation and to meet Nora who helped me settle Dizzy in his two story residence and fill out the paperwork. I went to bed missing his thunderpaws runs on the deck and woke up without finding him nestled in beside my hand waiting patiently for me to get up and FEED HIM SOME OF THE GOOD STUFF!

Caribbean RORC 600 mile race.
I walked over to English Harbor, checking out the beautiful old lady called Ticonderoga who was in her usual spot and looking good before making my way out to Fort Berkley. From here I could see the start line and the signals from the starter.

I could also here the gun so could tell what was going on. Generally there was not too much infighting for the favored end of the line, The fast boys making timed runs at the line and most were over within 10 seconds of the start, after all it is a 600 mile race and at least 48 hours to the finish line. Well nobody told Athos and Adela to make nice in the start box. The two biggest boats and the toughest to tack or gybe went at it in the box Athos coming out on top. It was scary to watch and I guess maybe the owner was driving.

But I saw no protest flags and out of the 65 starters only one was over early.

As I checked off my packing list I was also checking the positions of the race leaders on the lappie. Yellowbrick allows a realtime access to the race and it has been a nailbiter. Bella Mente and Rambler have been duking it out with less than a mile separating them after 400 miles racing as they entered the windshadow behind Guadeloupe. But as in the past the course chosen was critical and Bella Mente only made one tack and came out past the Saintes leading by several miles. She held the lead around Antigua, during the downwind romp to Redonda and held off Rambler as they beat back to Antigua.

There was a final nailbiting moment for the leaders when the wind died completely just off Cades reef but Bella Mente got the wind first and took line honors. Bella Mente, Rambler and Shockwave had had a great race but the favoured horse won!

Had Hetairos been allowed to play then the big green mean reaching machine would surely have enjoyed the conditions and I suspect might have taken line honors.

The docks are filling up with the old and the beautiful as elegant yachts arrive for the festival of conspicious consumption that is Classic week. There is much competition for the experts in the art of laying a perfect final coat of varnish, maintaining a wet edge across immense transoms. Eos is one that I had not seen before and the crew have it looking as pretty as a well varnished picture should look.

It is offset by the big mobo Skat which is neither old or beautiful instead has a military look with it's grey paint and big numbers at the rear. I wonder how much 'square grouper' has been ditched as it put in appearances on the drug runners routes.

But whatever they might look like during the day they are all lit up at night and it turns the docks into a wonderland of lights from the mast heads showing the red markers for low flying aircraft down to the brilliant underwater spotlights. But it is the tasteful illumination of decks and cabins that fill in fairyland.
Walt Disney would be proud of the result. I tried to get a pic but it needs a tripod and a timed exposure so this is a picture from someone else.

Friday, February 21, 2014


After it's success in 2012 when it gunned down the super sled Rambler on the long reach down from the North end of the course

I thought as Hetairos was on the dock and out in the channel working up it's reaching skills it would be trying to repeat the feat.

But on inspection of the entry list her name is absent. Anyone up for a last minute charter and a late entry. Conditions are looking benign for the race, about 15 knots for the 2 - 3 days of the race.

It might suite Bella Mente the mini maxi.

But we also have a Rambler entered.

Not I think the same boat that Hetairos blew by. That Rambler was a canter whose keel broke on the Fastnet race. Does this one cant? Who knows.

I also spotted the J class replica Rainbow on the dock.

J class yachts just take my breath away. I wonder what it would take to helm one for a few minutes.

Anyway the race starts Monday and I will be on the heights watching the start.

Speaking of watching things

Dizzy thinks kitten capers need watching.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

OOPS I am on a reef!

MAJOR OOPS I am on a reef that is shown on the charts!

MAJOR OOPS WITH KNOBS ON I am on a reef that is shown on the charts, AND I am on the wrong side of the channel markers!

The megayacht Pumula
was heading in to the dock at the Catamaran club in Falmouth harbor at the close of the day. For some reason she went the wrong side of the channel markers and found the well charted 7 foot shallow spot that has claimed many others.

The process of refloating a keel boat in this situation is a simple one. Take a line from the mast head, heel the boat to reduce it's draft and get a tow from something with a bit of grunt.

We, the cruisers, with dinks and 15hp, can help with a 7 ton 35 footer but this big girl
needed some heavier metal. The Antigua rescue RIB with a few hundred hp did the heeling and Double Header a big sports fisherman provided the grunt.

The lines were rigged, the rescue RIB churned away, Pumula revved her engine hard, the sports fisherman grunted, the lines creaked and for an anxious few moments Pumula remained unmoved. Then she stirred and with few crunchies she slid off the reef and back to the channel side of the markers.

OOPS moment over. Or perhaps not. Does the skipper have to come up with an explanation for the owner? I guess too that maybe divers will be having a look at the keel and rudder checking for damage.
Here is an other oops moment this time from the Valentine Regatta. OOPS we just ripped our kite, leach to luff!

We had a worrying alert yesterday, an earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale hit near Barbados. Some chicken little issued a tsunami alert for 3 m waves. I found out about it when a friend in Maine hunkered down in a snowstrom and surfing the weather channels found it and email me.

But everything was irie as the local rastas would say. No perturbations in our laidback lifestyle at anchor in the sheltered and secure waters of Falmouth. Our major worry was the choice between a roti or a Thai style noodle dish as we wandered the buildings and flagged courtyards that date back to Nelson's time. DECISIONS DECISIONS!

Another megayacht that is in Falmouth is the fabulous ketch Hetairos who has been industriously working up outside the harbor in preparation for the RORC 600. I last saw her competing in the St Barts Bucket where she had the misfortune to hit a rock and wipe off the bottom 10 feet of her complex multi stage lift keel. I understand she draws 30 feet with it down!

I also see the J class yacht Rainbow on the dock.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


I had heard rumours of a new party boat in Antigua
but it was a shock to see it in the garish flesh. A drive by in the dink confirmed the presence of some serious loudspeakers so it was a surprise to find they kept the volume down and turned it down even further at 10.00 pm.

However I anticipated that the combination of a Friday night and Valentines day would be irresistable to the noisemakers so I hopped one bay North to Five Island Harbor. The plush hotel had a piano bar which played honky tonk till ten which was just fine. In the distance the faint thump thump of the party boat could be heard but it did not disturb us.

Next day the Valentines Day regatta boys and girls did their stuff right in front of us in Five Island.

But not all the boats were race orientated like Scarlet Oyster some people were racing their house.

Note the paneled windows!

But by 3.30 they were gone back to the flesh pots of Jolly Harbor leaving us to the peace and quiet of an empty anchorage.

Monday, February 10, 2014


The anchor is down and we are in Antigua after another fast passage.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Deshaies was rocking and bumping and pounding the drums and booty shaking on Friday night.

Great fun for all.

We are pulling anchor tomorrow Monday for the 40 mile run up to Jolly Harbor Antigua.