Wednesday, April 30, 2014


I had decided on Monday that I would sail down to Guadeloupe from Famouth Harbor Antigua. I knew Wednesday was a layday which means the Tuesday evening party and loud music will go on till early morning.

I remembered it as a longish sail so had a look at the guide which said 40 miles. I plan my passages at 6 knots assuming a wind of 10 to 20 knots some where around the beam. So 6.5 to 7 hours. Mistake 1

However I usually like to leave early and was motivated to do so by the knowledge of the races starts kicking off at 10am and wanting to be out and heading South well before that melee got under way.

I don't bother with the time much and setting an alarm is not part of my routine, I usually wake at dawn but of course I sleep in this morning. Mistake 2

No sweat I think, I will leave about 10.30 when things will be a little quieter in the harbor mouth. So I do the usual pre passage checks and pop the GPS into it's holder and switch it on. Sometimes it takes a while to find satellites as it has been in the drawer for a month or two. OOPS it says it is 50 miles!

So I decide I need to leave right away! MISTAKE 3

It is 9.15 and I am straight out into the harbor mouth melee, boats going everywhere, as I try to raise my sails.

Still I make it out with only one major manoeuvre required to avoid a collision. I think I had right of way and he had about 10 crew all of whom were looking at the mainsail which was stuck I think. Still it was a Swan 65 so a cheapy to hit.

So we settle down and the wind is just right for us to carry full sail.

Elephants Child is flying and the miles soon click down.

I arrive at a comfortable hour having rolled the genoa away when we entered the acceleration zone at the North end of Guadeloupe. Still doing 7s and 8s though.

I am treating myself to a second G&T, Lorrie you are a bad influence, when the French coastguard arrives and starts playing with his water cannon. A second CG vessel pulls in and they raft up as the French do.

Noteable absences at the race week were

Bella Mente who dropped her mast racing at St Barts. The scuttlebutt says she was just working her way out to the start and not even powered up. It was supposed to be the heavier of her two rigs too.

Also missing was Rambler who was T boned while at anchor in St Maarten by a tender from a Super Yacht. I wonder if she was showing an anchor light.

Cockpit or mast splash lights are so much better, who looks up when weaving through a tight anchorage while showing off to deck fluff.

I watched some of the racing and it was interesting to see just how slick the crew of Scarlet Oyster were compared to her opposition, she holds 1st place in her class and 5th overall.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tucked up in Deshaies Guadeloupe.

Great sail down but I may be looking for a vet tomorrow if Dizzy is sick again.

He is getting morning sickness!

Monday, April 28, 2014


The last day of Classic racing saw some spirited duels as there were places and bragging rights to be decided.

But it mattered little I think what the results were and if you were on a boat that was so much faster than the rest it would sail through the entire fleet or one that worked hard to finish inside the time limit you just enjoyed the sailing.

Cornish Luggers maybe better to windward than the square riggers Nelson sailed but they still struggle against more modern rigs.

Classics always finish on a fun note with a splendid afternoon of gig racing in English Harbor
outside of Admirals Inn. It always makes me pause for a second to think that the same worn flagstones I tread will have been walked on by Admiral Horatio Nelson.

The cream tea was excellent but not served up by Admirals Inn as we had expected but separately on the grass outside the pillars by local ladies wearing splendid hats and working for charity.

We finished the day off with a dockside barbecue put on by the crew of EOS the biggest sailing ship in the world at the moment. The shrimp were excellent and the free booze flowed for hours.

Lorrie, my crew, has decided to fly back from Antigua as the outboard motor situation is still in limbo and it is significantly cheaper from Antigua than St Lucia. The number of war wounds inflicted by Dizzy may also be a factor.

Yes the OB fiasco grinds on with nothing but the continuing runaround from Budget Marine. I will give chapter and verse of this display of bad faith on their part a separate page on the blog. [ TOP RIGHT ] WHEN I GET SOME TIME!

There is a bright spot and it is the outstanding service I have had from a local outboard motor mechanic called Gregg who operates out of Falmouth Harbor. [ T. 268 775 7576 ] He arrived at the dock within minutes explaining he was on another job but would be with me shortly. When he arrived he inspected the engine he agreed it needed to be stripped and wonder of wonders came up with a loaner outboard to keep me mobile.

Rowing an AB RIB really sucks donkey breath, especially into wind.

Just bought a little 2.5 hp eggbeater so no more rowing I hope. This is a stopgap.

I had organised a new Yamaha 15 hp from the local dealer did the paperwork visited customs to do the "Yacht in Transit" stuff when I get a call saying they can not find a 15 hp will a 9.8 hp do.

Ah I should no better.

Anyway I am off to Guadeloupe tomorrow.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


The concours awards have been sorted out, the single handers have had there race, Mount Gay hats were dished out to the deserving and the side bets agreed on.

Deck fluff has been sent ashore, other non essential tat piled high on the dockside and it is time to go racing.

But before all that stuff kicked off there was a very moving tribute to Mr Classics who died recently.

Kenny Coombs had several 'Speakers for the Dead' who spoke in his memory. Best of all Jane Coombs is going to be out there racing on Cora.

The first days racing was in 12 to 15 knots of wind and a gentle swell. The odd spinnaker was flown and and it was a gentle introduction to tradewind racing.

The second day was a different story with a steady 20 to 24 knots blowing and a big swell with some wind chop on top.

Even the Flying Buzzard, this years most unlikely committee boat was pitching and rolling. The Carriacou deck sloop retiring under main only had broken it's tiller in the strong conditions.

No spinnakers were seen and many a boat was flying much reduced canvas.

Rainbow was content with a double reefed main and staysail although they were seen hustling a sail off the dock and onto the sailmakers truck at the end of the day so perhaps they had blown out another headsail.

They were not the only one bundling sails and looking for the midnight sail repair fairy.

However this fine old schooner had most of her sail wardrobe bent on and was even flying a topsail on the down wind leg.

But pushing these big old schooners in these conditions can lead to roundups and it was only a bit of swift avoiding action by another boat that averted disaster when Coral of Cowes seemed to loose control just as she bore off to round the mark .

We walked the docks and here are a couple of pics that sum up the day for some of the racers.

Everybody got wet.

Some things broke!

No Classics would be complete without Old Bob.

Who made it in far from last.

Life is good.

Friday, April 11, 2014


The Sunday hunt was over, the hunters had returned from the reefs, one was richer by a $1000 which was the prize for the hunter with the biggest bag and the prey were having their venomous spines scissored off and prepared for the grill.

The lionfish, which was introduced accidentally most likely when some escaped from home aquariums in hurricane Andrew, is a very successful ambush predator and is changing the population of the reefs in the Caribbean. So these sponsored hunts turn the apex predator, man in Lycra with speargun, loose on the reefs to do a little to redress the balance.


The Andes with her cargo of Trinidad pitch came into Deep Bay after being refused permission to enter the commercial harbor in Antigua. The harbor authorities rightly suspected that as there were plumes smoke coming from the hollow masts on the Andes there might be a fire on board. The crew opened the hatches after they had anchored and the fire which had been smoldering below got going in earnest, the Andes burned out and sank in Deep Bay. The stump of the main mast is still visible above the surface with the hull just under the water so it is a great snorkel spot. The gulls like to perch on the stump too.

It is amazing how well the wreck has held it's shape but the sea is slowly reclaiming the iron and the wood will go too.

There were fewer fish species than usual but the Sergeant Majors were abundant,

After our morning's exertions we treated ourselves to lunch ashore which came with two hungry young cats. It was with some difficulty that I restrained myself from shanghaiing the black one into a life Elephants Child.

Friday, April 4, 2014


While we are waiting for Classics and also Budget Marine / Tohatsu to come back with a decision on the warranty claim on the engine

we moved to Five Island Harbor for a little quiet time. But even here Lorrie found she had to fight off the unwanted attention of the dinghy.

We spotted this unusual rig and are wondering what you would call it. I guess they are lug sails so is it a lugger?

We went for a walk along the beach at the Hermitage resort. $1500 a NIGHT for a room there. But the sand is the same for us. We saw lots of shells like this and wondered if there was some kind of marine predator that can drill such neat round holes?

Such questions continue to baffle us as we deal with the urgent business of which sundowner and what appetizers to go with them.

Hmmm Dark and Stormies I think with smoked salmon cream cheese on posh crackers!