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.

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