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April 2012

Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta–The Maine Event

What’s a year among friends? We were supposed to have arrived in Antigua for the 2011 Classic Yacht Regatta, but someone had the date wrong and we missed it. This year, we were determined to show up. After all, we had been invited to help host a party – the “Sail Maine Party” presented by Portland Yacht Services and several other Maine boatyards and marine companies.

Phin in dinghy at sea 4-20-2012 1-47-14 PMPhin and Joanna Sprague, owners of Portland Yacht Services have known EW a bit longer than I have. They are also experienced cruisers and sailors, having spent their first years together sailing around the world in a 72ft 1931 Alden Staysail Schooner with a revolving crew of five to seven people. They cruised before water-makers, GPS, Sat phones, cell phones, and many of the other boat accouterments that I take for granted. Phin is also the instigator and primary host of the “Sail Maine Party”, held on Sunday night at the Classic Yacht Regatta. The Sail Maine party was conceived to support the Regatta and as an opportunity to showcase some of Maine’s best boatyards. Also Joanna watching the race on Friday 4-20-2012 1-47-22 PMsponsoring the party were Robinhood Marine Center, Boothbay Harbor Shipyard, Hodgdon Yachts, Port Clyde Lobster, Lyman Morse, Rockport MarineWayfarer Marine, Brooklin Boatyard, and Hinckley Yacht Services. We had been requested to help. I wasn’t sure what that meant but knew that we’d see some Maine folk, eat lobster, and have fun. Essentially, I got to help throw a wicked neat party without having to plan it or pay for it.

The fun started on Friday morning when Joanna and Phin picked us up in their dinghy. Though they had arrived in Antigua via air, they currently store the dinghy to s/v Lion’s Whelp in Antigua. That’s handy. We watched some of the starts on Friday, up close and personal, and low to the water. Future Plates 2 4-20-2012 11-48-16 AMAfterward, we began our hosting duties by helping to collect 600 sea grape leaves. Really. It seems that they make excellent serving plates for small amounts of food, they are free, and they are definitely organic. Joanna knew which bay provided both an abundance of grape leaves and excellent Joanna picking leaves 1 4-20-2012 11-40-44 AMsnorkeling. I like how she works. The bay is well protected by a reef and coral heads, but Phin and Joanna had clearly been there often. We waded ashore while EW helped Phin anchor and tie the dinghy.  After a swim and snorkel, we loaded ourselves and two huge bags of leaves into the dinghy for lunch with a view of the finish line. I provided lunch. We were a good team.

P4200117

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Saturday afternoon Joanna and I walked up to a nearby home which was headquarters for food prep for the party. Two professional caterers, some paid staff, and many volunteers worked for two days to provide a large variety of food for the 600 expected guests. In the meantime, Phin and EW spent two afternoons inviting everyone in English and Falmouth Harbors to the party – creating some anxiety that we wouldn’t have enough food.

On that first day, Joanna and I had to wash 600 sea grape leaves. Do you have any idea how long that takes? Hours. I also had to squeeze a crate of oranges. A whole crate of oranges only yields a bit over a gallon of juice. I must admit that I grumbled a bit because I knew that much more juice would be needed for the rum punch for 600 people. “I think buying the juice would be more cost-effective,” I stated at least 10 times to various parties that day. Maybe, but it wouldn’t have resulted in true Caribbean rum punch. Turns out “my” oranges were sour ones and that bit of sour juice is needed for the authentic recipe. Now you know.

I will say, that squeezing a crate of oranges and washing grape leaves gives two women ample time to chat, laugh, and get to know each other. I’ve known Joanna for over 20 years. In Antigua, we had the opportunity to become friends. That’s a special gift.

EW watching the races 4-22-2012 10-27-42 AMOn Sunday, EW and I opted to hike up one of the hills between Falmouth and English Harbors for a bird’s eye view of the mornings starts. Oh, my. It was an excellent vantage point, and we had it all to ourselves. And the goats. We had taken our hand-held VHF radio and could hear the Committee Boat broadcast the start of each class, and see the puff of smoke as the gun went off to mark the ten-minute, one-minute, and start of each race.Gun for last race on Sunday 4-22-2012 11-33-25 AM

 

 

See the puff of smoke aft of the power yacht? That’s from the starting gun.

These are beautiful boats. More on that in the next post.

Afterward, we walked back to Falmouth, meeting up with other cruisers who had volunteered to help with the party. Alan and Kate from s/v Mendocino Queen and Dave and Lori from s/v Persephone had also watched the starts from one of the hills. The men then went off to set up tables and tents and the women joined Joanna, other volunteers, and me at the house on the hill. Our first task was to break up huge amounts of Maine lobster. We refrained (mostly) from eating as we worked and were helped by the presence ofMaking roll-ups 4-22-2012 1-39-12 PM Laura from British Columbia and her three (triplet) daughters, Victoria, Elizabeth, and Alexandra. The girls are young teens who are enjoying a year afloat with their parents and younger brother. They weren’t allowed to eat while working and had to go wash their hands again if fingers touched lips. It was a good rule and we all followed it. They were shadowed by Lexi, whose dad and grandmom were cooking for the party, and one of the girls helped Lexi with her homework. Homework while cooking 4-22-2012 1-38-53 PM

We made hundreds of roll-up sandwiches, a huge vat of salsa, and chopped, sliced, or diced herbs, vegetables, and bread. The real cooks made polenta, Caribbean lobster stew, fillings for sandwiches, lobster salad, barbequed chicken, bean soup, and a whole barbecued 30-pound kingfish. This effort used two stoves, a large outdoor pit grill, and a propane cooker for one of the three giant pots of stew. It was organized chaos but seemed to go quite smoothly. Grilling Chicken 4-22-2012 1-36-20 PM

Here is the grill crew. And here’s the fish grilled in the yard. It’s on a piece of plywood covered with foil because it’s as big as a coffee table. Fish for dinner 4-22-2012 1-35-29 PM

 

 

 

 

 

Lobster Stew  4-22-2012 3-41-15 PM

One batch of lobster stew, Caribbean style and oh, so good!

 

Nice Shirt 4-22-2012 7-11-48 PM

 

We worked until after 4, then left to get ready for the party, meeting up on the lawn of the Antigua Yacht Club at 5:00.

 

Nice shirt!

 

Serving Punch 4-22-2012 7-23-52 PM

The party was a huge success. There was enough food for all and it was fantastic. The rum punches were just tangy enough. Here, they are being served by the crew from Wayfarer Marine.

Serving fish 4-22-2012 7-13-04 PM 

These two volunteers served fish for three hours. I don’t think either of them has been to Maine. Neither was a rum punch kind of woman, so I badgered various Maine boatyard reps to buy them their drinks of choice. Keep the volunteers happy! It’s what I do.

Fish servers 4-22-2012 8-32-05 PM

Dave and Lori from Persephanie  4-22-2012 7-26-57 PM

 

Dave and Lori, fellow cruisers, helped all afternoon and enjoyed the party that night, as did Kate and Alan, who are actually going to cruise in Maine this coming summer. Kate and Alan 4-22-2012 7-42-27 PM If you see s/v Mendocino Queen in your harbor, make sure to say hello. Kate and Alan are 3/4 of the way through a round the world cruise, are excellent sailors, and incredibly nice people. There was some sort of “issue” with the tents – ably resolved by Dave and Alan. Leave it to a cruiser to find a solution.

Happy party goers 4-22-2012 7-29-38 PM 

Music and Maine in the Caribbean 4-22-2012 7-25-36 PM

 

 

  At left, dancing and Maine boats and harbors. The slideshow provided by Maine Boats Homes and Harbors Magazine.

 

 

Linsey and Maurice

Phil and MOnica and Stuart 4-22-2012 7-42-15 PM

 

 

 

      Serving punch and a smile from Hinckley Yacht Services

Serving 4-22-2012 7-25-08 PM

 

 

 

Philip, Monica, and Stuart

 

Talking about Maine 4-22-2012 7-23-17 PM

Talking about Maine. EW’s talking about some of our favorite anchorages.

 

Maine …the way life should be … in Antigua. It doesn’t get any better than this.

New to Harts at Sea? I've written a book -- The Harts At Sea Sailing to Windward -- about our first year of cruising, from Maine to Grenada. It's available on Kindle (or Kindle for PC or Kindle for Apple) for only $2.99. 


Say “Goodbye” to Popcorn for Dinner (Mostly)

A few weeks ago, I was delighted to have a chance to talk on the phone with Lynnelle in Dallas and Rhoda in Santa Fe at the same time.  It allowed them to share a laugh at my expense, but I still say they were laughing at an uncharacteristic solution I developed to the problem of meal planning. I told them, “I just created an Excel spreadsheet for meal planning and I think it’s going to help a lot.” Instead of a “Good for you!” or at least an interested “Hmmmm”, I heard silence followed by two of my dear friends laughing at me. With her charming Dallas accent Lynnelle hooted, “Did she say spreadsheet?!”  “Yes!” said Rhoda, “Yes! She did! She said Excel spreadsheet!” and they laughed again.

OK, I admit that this act is not how I normally attack meal planning and provisioning – and that’s the problem! Before we left Maine, I took the wonderful SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association) provisioning course by Barbara Theisen. Then I declined to take the time to plan meals before provisioning. I still am not up to planning menus for 30 days. That’s just not going to happen. And when anchored in a harbor among cruisers, I have to be very flexible, as parties happen and frequently involve lots of appetizers and tapas that take us all through the dinner hour. Consequently, I stopped planning meals, and then would have no idea what to serve EW for dinner. He likes popcorn. Still.

While we were in St. Thomas, I reflected on my lack as a provisioner and chef. EW has never complained. Not once. But I know that we had popcorn for dinner many times in Grenada and that really isn’t acceptable to me. I also purchased way too many produce items that were subsequently tossed out after going bad. I needed to get better at this, and decided to tackle the problem while we were in St. Thomas. This is a real issue for many cruisers; after all, we can no longer stop by Beale Street Barbeque in South Portland and grab two bowls of their chili du jour to go – with Cole slaw on the side. Mmmmm. None of us are near our favorite take out option from home, and no one has yet delivered pizza while we are on the hook. Popcorn became the option when I didn’t feel like cooking.

Cookbooks aft 4-19-2012 3-53-20 PMSo, if popcorn is the result, what is really the problem? I like to cook (sometimes) and have tons of recipes and cookbooks on board. The challenge is to find a meal I wanted to make for which I had stuff on board. On hot Grenada afternoons,  I would languidly peruse recipe after recipe and think, “No, I don’t have that,” or “This needs to marinate 2hours.” And I would make popcorn.

Cookbooks forward 4-19-2012 2-56-02 PM

OK. So, lack of planning is the problem. What was the solution? That Excel spreadsheet. (Laugh if you will, but it’s working for us.) I spent an afternoon going thru my recipes, from cookbooks, cruising cookbooks, my files, and those shared by other cruisers through email. I pulled out twelve recipes that could be considered Quick Meals, and noted what ingredients they needed from my on-board stores and what ingredients were “special’ items, such as fresh veggies, protein, and perhaps a special cheese. On La Luna parmesan cheese is a staple, feta cheese would be a special item. Most of the Twelve Quick Meals only require a salad or some veggies. A few need special fresh veggies, such as broccoli, and chicken. My definition of “Quick” in the Twelve Quick Meals is that I can prepare it in the time it would take for EW to pick up a pizza – about 20-30 minutes.

Twelve Quick Meals 4-19-2012 3-54-18 PM

 

 

My plan is simple, with only two goals:

1. Every day, I will have on board all the ingredients for 3 of the 12 meals.

2. Each recipe must always make at least four servings.

That way, I can participate in a pot luck or have food for unexpected guests – or have left-overs for another meal. By only having three meals, I’m not purchasing too many veggies for the week and there is less waste. We don’t eat out a lot, and try to do so at lunch more than dinner. On days when we eat out at lunch, no dinner meal is required – except a salad, fruit, appetizer or, (OK) popcorn.  I also keep on hand a few items that allow me to make any of my staple five or six appetizers to share at impromptu sundowner parties.

I’ve been using this system for a month or more, and it works. I also added another spreadsheet with 10 not-so-quick meals, such as home made pizza, chicken satay, and fish tacos, and I try to keep stuff on board for two or three of those, as well. When the mood strikes and I’m feeling more creative, I’ll look through my recipes and cookbooks for something else. So far, we aren’t bored with the list and we are eating a lot less popcorn.

As for organizing the recipes, I simply noted on the spreadsheet where I could find each recipe – which page of what cookbook, or which file in the computer, or which of my two three-ring recipe notebooks. (Told you I have a lot of recipes.) I hope to change out the top Quick Twelve Meals every so often as I find other recipes that fit the requirements. in the meantime. We are eating well.

FLASHBACK: EW has never complained about my cooking or popping, although there are meals he would prefer not to eat a second time. Usually we both agree on those. Let me tell you about the first meal I made for him.

We’d been dating for a few weeks and I was already smitten, so I invited him to my tiny apartment for dinner and decided to make Fettuccini Alfredo. I’d never made Fettuccini Alfredo before, but I had a recipe (of course) and figured it would be hard to mess up. Right.

We had wine, I made garlic bread, and salad. The instructions were clear. Once the pasta is done and you pour the cheese on, you must only heat it for a very short while – just until the cheese melts. But the bread wasn’t quite done and I figured I’d better keep the pasta and cheese mixture hot, so it stayed on the burner some minutes after being perfectly done.

Have you ever eaten natural peanut butter – the kind that you have to mix because the oil is separated from the peanut gunk? And have you ever not quite mixed all of the oil in so you have really sticky peanut gunk that refuses to spread? Well, that is roughly the consistency of the Fettuccini Alfredo that I served EW that night. I couldn’t eat it. He kept at it, chewing each mouthful. When I protested that it was inedible, he said, “Hm ----- um ---- n ----“ holding his index finger up for time as he worked on masticating and swallowing the cemented noodle mixture. When he had finally cleared his mouth, he said, “No, it’s fine. It’ wouldn’t taste bad at all if you didn’t have to keep it in your mouth for so long.”

That’s when I knew I wanted to marry this man.


Pre-Antigua's Classic Yacht Regatta

We are anchored in Falmouth Harbor, Antigua and it’s clear we’ve arrived in time for a big event: the 25th Annual Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. (Check out their website at www.antiguaclassics.com)

In addition to having the chance to see many incredibly beautiful boats, we have met up again with many of our cruising friends from our time in Grenada, and  with friends from Maine – Phin and Joanna Sprague from Portland Yacht Services. A number of Maine boatyards sponsor a Sail Maine Party at this regatta, inviting the classics and all cruisers to visit Maine when they sail back to the states.  We’ll help with the party on Sunday – and hopefully get a taste of Maine in the process.

Castle Hike Jackie 2 4-16-2012 11-28-40 AMOn Monday we went for a hike/walk with Jackie and Chris from High Heeled. We hiked from Falmouth to English harbor, climbing up along a trail that led past the old outposts and down to the fort that overlooks English Harbor. Jackie is a walker not a hiker, and she was a bit surprised about the steep parts of the trail. She’s a good sport Castle Hike Agave and harbor 4-16-2012 11-36-16 AMand was delighted to have scrambled (albeit slowly) safely down this hill.

 

 

The Agave is beginning to bloom. Here we are looking toward English Harbor.

 

 

Castle Hike Goats and Gun 4-16-2012 11-46-40 AM

 

 

 

Goats and guns at the fort.

 

 

 

On Wednesday, EW and I dinghied into the marina to walk the docks and ogle the boats. Many of the boats docked in that location were getting ready for the judging of the Concours d’Elegance on Thursday. Others were getting ready to participate in the single-handed race, also held on Thursday. The docks were busy with gawkers, dogs, kids, and folks with paint, polish, and tools. Also beer. And rum. We all have our priorities.

As EW and I were delighted to chat with Bob and Debbie, whom we had met in Grenada, I turned and called out, “Joanna!  Honey – there goes Joanna!” Hugs all around. Back in 2010 it seemed as if we were never going to get out of the state. We left Great Island Boatyard on October 17, saying good-by to our friends there, and sailed to Jewell Island anchorage off of Portland. EW still had some repairs to undertake before we could leave and I had some stowing to do. The furnace was causing a problem and he knew he could get parts in Maine more easily than somewhere on the way, so we called Portland Yacht Services and asked if we could tie up to their dock for a few hours while we got the parts and go the furnace working. They graciously agreed, and we completed all tasks by 1630, and decided it would be the perfect night to head to the Cape Cod Canal. Joanna had heard we were on the dock and came down to wish us well. She’s the last friend we saw in Maine before leaving. It is great to spend time with them here.

Find out more about Portland Yacht Services, home of the Maine Boatbuilders’ Show,  by visiting their site.Antigua Friends! 4-19-2012 1-28-33 PM

We are also delighted to meet up again with many of the cruising friends we played with in Grenada last summer. Bob and Deibbie of s/v Chimayo and Alice and Steve on s/v Ocean Star  (at right) are two of the many boats of “Grenada Cruisers” here in Antigua.

Here are photos from the docks on the 18th and at sea on the 19th. Classic boats in Antigua.

Classis 18 polishing 4-18-2012 5-09-33 PM

Classic 18 Fixin 4-18-2012 5-09-44 PM

Polishin’ ..

 

 

 

                      tyin’…

 

 

 

Classic 18 Climbin 4-18-2012 5-10-27 PM

Classic 18 EW 4-18-2012 5-21-30 PM

Climbin’ …

 

 

 

 

 

                          Lookin’ good.

 

Classic 18 fender covers 4-18-2012 5-13-37 PM

 

 

Here are a couple of s/v Old Bob’s  not-so-classic fender covers:

 

 

And my favorite of their covers:

Classic 18 favorite fender cover 4-18-2012 5-13-21 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classics at sea: Classic 18 Dinghy at sea 4-19-2012 1-43-25 PM

Classic 18 white 2 4-19-2012 1-45-04 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Ketch 18 2 4-19-2012 1-40-51 PMClassic Ketch 18 4-19-2012 1-40-23 PM


Row, Row, Row Your Boat

I am determined to lose weight and get stronger.

Well, on some days I’m determined.

I definitely have to work at being more determined.

Whatev.

When I am determined, I exercise – walk, swim, yoga, or row.

That’s rowing, as in rowing the dinghy, not paddling, as in paddling a kayak. We don’t (yet) have a kayak, so when I want to do some upper body/cardio work, I row our West Marine Inflatable dinghy. Apparently I am the only person in the Caribbean who ever rows an inflatable on purpose. Inflatables are not known for their rowing ability although this West Marine model handles quite well. Except for me, folks row an inflatable only if their motor isn’t working or has been stolen.

There is no negative impact on other cruisers when I walk, swim, or do yoga, but it appears that I cannot row the inflatable without causing angst. So while I like the exercise I get from rowing, it does make me feel guilty.

When we were anchored at Water Island in St. Thomas, I rowed toward Charlotte Amalie some days (orange line), and to the other end of the island on other days (blue line).Capture  Rowing routes St. Thomas 2Usually, I row for about 45 minutes, and I work at rowing faster, and going farther each time. On one ambitious morning I rowed for over 60 minutes, from Water Island to the entrance of Crown Bay Marina. I had to do laundry that morning, and wanted to exercise, so I rowed to shore. (Dashed black line.)

This caused a lot of boaters to veer off course and come to my aid, and that is why I feel guilty when I row. There seems to be no universal sign for “I’m doing this for exercise”, though some women have understood when I put the oars down and move my arms back and forth as if I were running. None of the men get that at all. Still, the women will come alongside and ask, “Are you exercising? So, you’re OK, right?” The men just ask whether I’m OK or offer to help. I will see them catch sight of me and turn abruptly in my direction. Usually I try to stop them and send them on their way, but that has never worked.

If I use the exercise motion, they continue forward. If I move both arms, parallel to the water, crossing them back and forth in front of me, they don’t see that as “no thank you” but as “I need help.” If I wave, they are sure I need help. If I ignore them, they come along side and offer a tow. When I rowed with the laundry, the wind set me close to the main island and away from the anchored boats off of water island. Consequently, every person who stopped to help had to go out of their way to rescue me. I’m so sorry.

I need a kayak. No one every interrupts a kayaker. Kayakers are supposed to paddle. Inflatables are supposed to be powered by outboard motors. Whenever I row, the outboard is attached, prop hoisted out of the water, ready to take over if I get tired or if the wind picks up. Every time I row the dinghy, at least one boat veers off course to offer aid. I’m sorry.

Most recently, I went for a row in Falmouth Harbor Antigua. It had been one of those days. I had plans to write and couldn’t create even one interesting paragraph. I decided to sew, and couldn’t find one necessary book. Once I found it, the article wasn’t as helpful as I had thought it would be. This all seems very trivial, because it is, but it was a windy and stormy day and I wanted to get something done. Anything. So, deep breath. I’ll do a round of yoga. Before leaving Grenada, Gabi had thoughtfully provided us with a 45-minute session on video. That’s just what I needed. Inner peace. I got out my mat and took the laptop on deck and couldn’t hear a word over the wind and Gramps, our rather quiet wind generator.

EW was cheerfully undertaking a myriad of little tasks and listening to music. He was having a productive morning. I had succeeded only at making breakfast and washing the dishes. I hadn’t even been able to complete a Sudoku puzzle. “I’m going for a row,” I declared. EW looked at me with interest. “Now that’s ambitious,” he said.  OK, so it was blowing 20 with gusts to 25. Big whoop. I needed a time out. I needed to find inner peace. I needed to give EW some peace.

Rowing in the windHe helped me launch the dinghy. I rowed. At first I didn’t get anywhere. In fact, I was immediately reminded of the advertisements for those tiny lap pools with current that keeps you in one place as you swim “laps”. Rowing up wind was like that. But I persevered. Can you see how the wind is blowing my hair forward? It was blowing 20 – 25 knots. The chop doesn’t look as bad here. It sure felt choppy. Our friends Jackie and Chris are anchored nearby and were both on deck to watch my progress. Later, Chris said, “I couldn’t believe you actually made headway in that chop. I wouldn’t want to arm wrestle you!”

I rowed. And sure, enough one of our neighbors jumped into his dinghy and motored over to help me. I tried all of my hand signals, but of course they didn’t help. He was cheerful about it. “Are you really rowing for exercise?” “Well,” I replied, “today I’m rowing for inner peace.” He smiled – sort of – and quickly drove back to his boat. I’m sorry.

I don’t think I rowed for 45 minutes (of course I forgot the watch, that time) but I did set a goal to circle a particular boat before returning to La Luna. As I did, could see a few people on their decks, watching me. Just before reaching La Luna I passed close by a British couple. She smiled, “You don’t need help, right?” Clearly she had been on deck long enough to see me refuse help from the guy in the dinghy. “No, thanks,” I said. I’m fine. Just working seeking inner peace and giving my husband some peace and quiet.” She laughed. At least I made her day.

Boy, are my arms tired.

There’s a joke there. Somewhere.

By the way - please check out my book: Harts at Sea Sailing to Windward, Kindle version available at Amazon for $2.99  


Antigua, at Last We Find Thee

Somewhere late in our 32-hour-passage-that-took-60-hours, EW and I discussed the word, “hubris”. Defined on Dictionary.com as: 

hu·bris

  [hyoo-bris, hoo-]  Show IPA
noun
excessive pride or self-confidence; arrogance.

We were way to cocky at the beginning of the trip from St. Thomas to Antigua. I forgot many of the passage-making lessons that we’d learned in our first year at sea. (For those of you reading my book, Harts at Sea Sailing to Windward do as I say, not as I do/did/evidently keep doing.)

“It’s a 32 hour passage.” I said. To everyone.

“The winds are from the east or north east. I may be a beat, but it should be a fairly straight shot. Does this  look like a straight shot to you? The winds were actually from the southeast. We were heading south east. That is not a straight shot for a sailboat. Capture tack to St Martin

Let me give you a clue. The little red boat is La Luna, the light crooked line streaming aft is our track from the last tack. The yellow line is our direction on that particular tack. The orange line going from upper left to lower right would be our perfect tack to Antigua. The dashed black lines are our hopeful tacks to Antigua. The island with the light house we are aiming for? That’s St. Martin. St. Martin is NORTH of where we started and miles from Antigua.

We did tack (almost) at the turn point, but our next tack ended up north of Sint Eustatia (Statia to you tourists), not south of it. The whole trip was like that. Not bad. No boat problems, No relationship problems. We ate fairly well, and got more sleep than we usually do on a passage. We just took twice as long as we expected and we weren’t quite as ready as we thought.

We left with great hubris and we were humbled.

I spent my last night watch writing a checklist for all future passages. It will include things as mundane as checking to see that all hatches are actually dogged down. (Yeah. Seawater happened.) It will also include such things as crucial and disconcerting as ditch bags with valuables and papers in dry bags. The reason we didn’t tack fully to St. Martin is that I got spooked by all of the ship traffic, most particularly the local cargo ship who didn’t respond to my radio calls, and who cut across our bow. EW was on deck in time to see their stern and said they were a half mile away. I thought they were much closer. I would have had the ditch bag on deck with EW – if I’d prepared a ditch bag.

We left St. Thomas over-confident. That won’t happen again for a long time.

I also realized that while I’ve installed Sailmail and Airmail into this computer, I’ve never actually used this computer to send mail at sea. So, in addition to everything else that happened, I obsessed with not getting word to friends and family. We were safe. We were even happy. We were even enjoying the sail – for the most part.

Ah well.

We made it to Antigua. All is well.

Capture 0439 41212

Here we are at 4:39 AM on April 12th. We did tack south, turned northeast at the orange line, then motored into Jolly Harbor. All in big choppy waves that slowed us down considerably. Twelve hours after this shot was taken, we had checked into Antigua and dropped the hook outside of Jolly Harbor. This morning we motored to Falmouth Harbor and washed the salt off the boat, and much of the forward cabin.

Sailing is fun. Sailing is fun.

PS. As I post this, at the Seabreeze in Falmouth Harbor, EW has guzzeled his G & T and walked to English Harbor because the Seabreeze doesn't accept credit cards and there are no debit machines in Falmouth. None. A yacht club, a marina, restaurants, stores, no debit card machine.

Now here's the bad news. Just talked with sailors we met in Grenada. The debit machine here doens't take Master Card.  He came back not happy. 

 


All He Needs is a Propeller!

We could have died a couple of weeks ago. We were returning from Crown Bay in the dinghy in the dark of night. I was on the bow, holding a bright flashlight and occasionally turning it in a circle to show a light in all directions. I also looked behind us and to the left and right, watching for other vessels. EW was driving, and though he tends to focus forward in those conditions, he also glanced behind us every so often. Still, we both missed it.

A container ship was steaming out of the harbor and we didn’t see or hear it until she was right off our port aft quarter. We were heading gradually to port toward our anchorage and could easily have found ourselves under the bow of that ship. It would not have been pretty. It was a close call, but not so close that it activated our flight or fright hormones. EW did turn directly to starboard and we both exclaimed, “Wow! I didn’t see that at all!”

I did, however lose a bit of sleep over the incident, and apparently EW had been dwelling on it, too, so when we visited Budget Marine on our last shopping trip in St. Thomas, and EW asked me to check out LED dinghy lights. I was happy to do so. There are many to choose from. Some attach to the motor, but we think that’s too low, as the driver and passenger would block the light from the front.  EW says, “The light should be visible from 360 degrees at the highest point of the boat.”  There are poles that one can mount on the dinghy’s transom, but we 1) found them expensive, and 2) were not thrilled to drill holes in our new transom, and 3) think it would get in the way and bumped on shore or at crowded dinghy docks. We’re probably wrong about all of those excuses, but fortunately there is a solution. Even more fortunately, neither of us worries about looking like idiots.

Enter the Navi Light 360 by  Navisafe. Oh my. This bright, 360 degree LED light comes with a powerful magnet mount that can attach to the motor (too low) screw into a mounting pole (see above) or be worn on a cap. So guess what option EW chose?

Ta Da!Beanie

Beanie HappyPeter from s/v Too Much Fun was the first of our friends to see the new purchase. He admired it. (Really.) And he immediately riffed on it.

“All you need is a propeller!”

“Calling Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.”

“Earth to Stew.”

Well, you get the idea. Make up your own caption and we’ll have a contest. The winner gets a free copy of Harts at Sea Sailing to Windward for themselves or a friend.

Caption either photo. Have fun with it.

But remember. No matter how stupid we may look, (yes, when I’m driving the dinghy at night I’ll have to wear it, too) we will be much, much safer. That’s worth it.

(Still any bets that EW gets a pole mount and drills those holes within the year?)

If you went to the link for Navilight, you’ll see that they have attached the light to the hat in a much more professional manner. It will allow the hat to stay connected to the light, but I’m not sure how it keeps the hat on the driver’s head. We’ll probably check it out.

By the way, this sucker is bright!  We couldn’t turn it on for these photos, and I can’t look at EW when he’s wearing it. Bright is good. We want those container ships to see us.

Wishing all our loved ones Easter and Passover blessings.