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Heading to Antigua

The wind got up through the night, slightly unexpectedly because the forecast had been for light  winds. I got up and stowed the dinghies, and we secured the boat for sea. We had to pay at the marina office at 0800, and did so getting under way eventtually at about 0815. The wind was in the North East at about 15 knots. We went through the passge to the South of Virgin Gorda and North of Fallen Jerusalem. We opted for 2 reefs in the main and one in the genoa and once clear of the rocks were on a close reach making a consistent 7 knots into a bit of a sea. I looked at the forecast and it was for an increasing wind so by mid morning we rolled up some. more genoa to 2 reefs. This didn’t go entirely according to plan, I had turned downwind to make it easier, thought we had engaged the autopilot on the new course but hadn’t and when we did the autopilot failed - no ecu present being the alarm. We, after a bit of footling about rolled up the requisite amount of genoa, returned to course and I pulled out and pushed back in again the fuse under the port aft bunk which seems to be the culprit for this fault. It happened once or twice more and on the final time I squeezed the terminals of the fuse holder once the fuse had been replaced and, so far, it’s been fine since.

The wind increased to about 21- 22 knots during the day, it was pretty uncomfortable as we were, although not quite close hauled, still going into it. A lot of water was coming over the decks and, unfortunately, my leak fixes had obviously not worked so the hatch in the saloon is still letting in water. The lee rail was often underwater and we were heeling over quite a bit.  We were expecting an overnight passage of 120 miles but, making mostly 7 knots our eta was 0230. We had the remains of chicken curry for lunch. Left over Lasagne for dinner. I appointed watches but until 2100 I was the only one going below for a rest. Saba and then St Eustatius island appeared, passed and disappeared to port, we passed a couple of ships and a couple of yachts going the other way and by 0200 were arriving off Basseterre. We stowed the sails and nosed into the anchorage with Patrick down below reading the depths. There were a couple of Catamarans in the anchorage and we stayed a little further out than optimum but safely anchored and went to bed. 

I was up earlyish again yesterday morning worrying about clearing in because it was still blowing hard and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to row against the wind to the town. I tried calling the marina on the telephone but had no luck, however on the VHF they came back straight away and we asked for a berth for 2 nights which they said was OK. This was a relief and a worry as it was blowing at about 20 knots still and it was an unfamiliar set up, being posts  offshore, with a tie up to the dock at the other end. We nudged our way into the marina after a briefing of crew and once inside, seeing the berth I changed my mind going from a stern in to bow in moor. We made a reasonable fist of getting between the posts and the dock master took our bow line fine, however I had under estimated the wind and struggled to stop the boat in time and we ended up going past the posts without managing to get a line on them, we just got back out to having one post on the leeward quarter before drifting down wind from it, not without some excitement. Trying to throw lines over the posts was difficult as they were quite tall. Whilst trying to shoot the stern to windward to get closer to the windward post I misjudged it and we ended up inside the posts and our stern drifted quickly past it but, luckily, it had a line on it which Katharine managed to make fast on a cleat. Securing us temporarily, Patrick then swam a line around the windward post and we made it into position without further excitement.

The freezer has stopped again, I’m not sure why but am suspicious of the water tank breahter / overflow because both times it has failed has been after I have refilled water I will have to investigate. Once we had settled down a little Katharine and I went to clear in. This is a pain because immigration use two completely different computer systems to customs and the, slightly irritating but helpful lady at immigration quite enjoyed lording it over us. Clearing in took a couple of hours by the time we’d been to 3 different places including the cruise line terminal to see, immigration, customs and the port Authority who had relieved us of all my phone battery charge (whilst fiddling about with the various different websites for clearing in) and 12 and then 32 dollars. Remarkably and surprisingly, at the port Authority they had change which seems to be unusual. We went back to the boat for a Mergez sausage breakfast to try to eat some of the frozen meat, and  a bit of a tidy up between rain showers and then we went for a wander around town. Whilst putting my glasses on the lens fell out of one, the result of my having bent them and unbent them a couple of times and then the sea having rusted a screw which had then broken. Poor Martin has not been feeling that well since getting a sinus full of seawater when snorkelling, and he opted for recuperating on the boat. In town our first stop was at an optician but they couldn’t help but did give me a card of someone who could. We found him eventually about a mile up ‘the cut’ I had walked past his business but Katharine had seen a small sign advertising ‘glasses-fix’ and I had made my way back to it shortly after. Making our way to the house we were welcomed in by sibling brothers who had come from Cuba. We spent an hour and a half sitting in their sitting room whilst it was determined that the screw was not coming out but that he had an alternative plastic frame which could accept the lenses. The lenses were duly swapped over and we  left with the glasses working again a very friendly and relaxed environment. There was an ice cream shop at the entrance to the little alleyway off the street to the glasses fix business and so we indulged in some rum and raisin ice creams to help us back to town where we found a supermarket and did some shopping before returning to the boat for tea, showers, dinner, bridge and so on. Today we’re going on a trip around the island on a railway, hopefully this will be fun and amusing, it wasn’t running yesterday but as there’s a cruise ship in today it is.

Still blowing hard, it is looking like our trip to Antigua may be an unpleasant beat but keeping our fingers crossed.

Slainte Jock and crew C. Sent from my iPad

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