Some good bits and bad bits

Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Sat 5 Dec 2015 20:02
17:00.7N 61:46.6W
After a brief stopover in Deshaies (at the north end of Guadeloupe) we set off for Antigua.  The first task, as always, is to pull up the anchor.  Unfortunately the anchor flipped sideways at the last moment.  The shank smashed the bow roller and then wedged down the side of the roller.  We got some strange looks as we drifted round the anchorage bashing it with a sledgehammer to get it free.
There was a good wind for the crossing to Antigua, 20 knots from ESE.  A bit too strong for the big genoa, so we had to use the blade jib (the small genoa is already needing repair due to a delamination problem).  Half way through the crossing the jib started to split, about a third of the way down the sail.  We had to half-furl it to keep going.  I sometime wonder whether it would be cheaper to feed a motor yacht with diesel than to keep on sailing, but then lugging sails to sail-makers is all part of the “fun”.  I guess it all helps to keep us fit.
Anyway, in future I will be avoiding buying sails made of any composite material. The genoa (made of “Dimension DCX Cruise laminate”) has started delaminating after only three years.  It seems that the glues they use for these fabrics just cannot take the tropical heat/humidity.
Despite the slowdown from furling the jib, we arrived in Antigua mid-afternoon and found what seemed to be a good anchorage spot in Freeman Bay, English Harbour.  As it turns out, there is no good spot in Freeman Bay when the night winds start blowing from random directions .  The evening sun-downers were accompanied by the sound of rattling anchor chains as boats moved around trying to find a spot far enough away from the other boats.  We were no exception, we had to move at midnight when our stern bumped the stern of another another catamaran.  Fortunately no damage, but the suspense did not make for a good night’s sleep.  To be fair, the cruising guide does say you will need more space than you think in this anchorage, you just don’t realize how much space is taken up by two yachts pulling on their chains in opposite directions.
There are consolations.  We had a pod of dolphins accompany us into Antigua.  There was an strange and beautiful sunset last night.  As we were re-anchoring at midnight, both Andrea and I saw an amazing meteor that had a long fiery trail, like something they might computer generate for a disaster movie.  Right now the air is literally filled with butterflies, wafting through the anchorage on the breeze...
The blade jib splitting
An “alien eyes” sunset