Drip, drip, drip little/heavy/extensive/torrential April showers.......
Drip, drip, drip little/heavy/extensive/torrential April showers.......!
So let’s have another chunter about the weather. This is the dry season in the Caribbean and it’s been pretty much wetter since Andy and Lesley returned to sunny Scotland. We have had lots of rain both during the day and at night (up to 3 inches overnight on one occasion – the dinghy was full of water and very low in the sea!) and very cloudy and windy conditions – not what we expect when thinking about the Caribbean – sunny skies, blue seas and warm winds, .......hhmmmm...., we’re sure we had some of this a while ago. Is the weather changing worldwide – on the evidence we’ve seen so far, we think it is. Anyway, the weather does remind of us of home and, yes, we can feel your sympathy! Not very happy though – the tan is fading! But it is still warm.
One of the many challenges living on a yacht is power and batteries – as we’ve noted in previous blogs, we have a problem with one of our batteries at the moment (to be replaced when we get to Trinidad), so are pretty careful about how and when we charge. With the wind as it is (15-25knots), the wind generators are pretty much keeping up and we can charge laptops, phones, kindles and ipods, etc. through the inverter, so we don’t need to run the generator that often. However a Canadian boat anchored close to us and then proceeded to run his petrol generator on deck at 8pm at night for several hours, meaning noise and fumes at a time when many cruisers are getting ready to sleep. If I’d had some torpedoes, they would have been primed and ready for a spread launch! Thankfully, he left after few days – whilst no one begrudges folks using petrol generators, the best time for all would be during the day, not during the evening or at night. Anyway, Captain Bligh’s rant is over.
On a whim we, along with Fred and Judy from Wings, went to the Antigua Yacht Club quiz night a couple of weeks ago, and to our astonishment, we won – the prize was a bottle of rum and the invitation to set the next months’ quiz. And so we have and, not to give too much away, the questions are all sort of linked to the Caribbean (ish)! We will probably be keel-hauled once some of the questions become known! We also managed a game of Mexican Train Dominoes with Malcolm and Sue from Piano and Judy – a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the yacht club with the sun beaming down but a very nice breeze coming through!
As we were returning to Andromeda after getting some provisions a few days ago we saw Clint on Idea of London (Dynamite) – www.ideasailingclub.com -we hadn’t seen him since he came to Trinidad to finalise the new rig in late 2011, and it was great to catch up, albeit for a few minutes or so. He has already crossed the Atlantic twice this year and we are only in April! Wow, busy, busy, busy!
One yacht that recently arrived, called “Do It”, is on a circumnavigation and wrote one of the yacht blogs that Andrew regularly followed before we left the UK. They, Angus and Ruth, are from bonny Scotland and the blog is well worthwhile reading and one of the best we have seen. Cape is another yacht whose blog Andrew followed before we left, and before catching up with them in Trinidad last year and again in St. Maarten this year. It’s another blog worth reading on the www.mailasail.com website. It’s a small “cruising” world sometimes.
It is Classic Week here in Antigua at the moment and there has been a huge influx of yachts into Falmouth Harbour, and we have seen and met some 20 or so boats we know from our stay in Chaguaramas during the past couple of hurricane seasons, so are thinking of renaming this spot to ‘Trinni-on-Sea’. Some of the boats are assisting with the Classic Race Week organisation and some may indeed stay for the Race Week following after, when we will race on Wings.
We, and most of the forth coming race crew of Wings, went out to see the start of the Classic Races (19th April) and the yachts participating are works of art, love and not a little money. Big and small they are wonderfully looked after and prepared and they look fantastic under sail. We hope the pictures give a flavour and do them justice. To be considered a Classic the boat must have a long keel and keel hung rudder, be designed before the 1940’s, either be original or be based on an original design, have lots of wood and, usually, but not always, big bow sprits and lots and lots of sails. There are also about 7 Carriacou/Grenadines traditional style boats which are great to see they look good under sail and are a very competitive class as well.
Also check out the picture of “A” – a very interesting design and somewhat reminiscent of a World War 1 Dreadnought – what do you think? Do you like it? Does it remind you of a submarine?(Susan reckons part of it is upside down and that they couldn’t decide what they were going for). It costs almost $1m US Dollars to fill the fuel tanks from empty and has a range of some 7000 miles (it could cross the Atlantic there and back without refuelling). Along with lots of boat toys (skidoos etc) it has two swimming pools, one of which has glass walls so it helps with lighting and you can watch people in the pool from down below. It belongs to a Russian banker (enough said) and is huge – The Maltese Falcon is big, but look at the picture with them both in frame – vast sums of money here, and the scale of operation and number of crew keeps two people on a small yacht in somewhat of a perspective! Those of you with keen eyesight might also like the photo of the Maltese Falcon when it was anchored round the headland from Falmouth Harbour, all we could see were the tops of the three masts above the hill side, just shows you how tall the rig is.
Susan has been introduced to water aerobics using noodles and is thoroughly enjoying the hourly session each day –if you want to know what a (non-edible)noodle is; it’s a 1.5 metre or so long floating piece of closed cell plastic, about 15-20 centimetres in diameter - you will often see kids with them as an aid to learning to swim. Willie, from Leahona has written an exercise book based on the use of the noodle, and she usually leads the sessions here off Pigeon Beach. Susan is thoroughly enjoying them – her noodle is orange, naturally.
Fred has a schedule for boat preparation and trials before the start of the Race Week on Sunday the 28th of April – almost all the crew have now arrived and we are looking forward to the racing on Wings, and it will be very, very competitive. There are some local favourites here who have done well in the past, so we expect no quarter. Andrew is once again on the foredeck with Malcolm from Piano (Fred seems to have overlooked his last statement about the age of foredeck crew!), and Susan is in the pit and also computer operator/navigator to provide course guidance (course to steer, distance to the next mark, etc.). Wings has been measured and rated, lots of “live-aboard” stuff taken off to lighten her, and she’s about ready to race – should be fun, the ride wet, windy and probably pretty bouncy! We will write up the experience and our adventures in a subsequent blog! Oh, and we may say something about the parties........or not!
We would like to wish Alice a very happy 8th birthday for the 5th of May – we hope you have a great day and will be thinking of you! And we will be thinking of Ruth on the 13th – we hope you have a great day too.....and we are counting down.
And does anyone know which film which features the song we took most of the title of this blog from? Answer via email or facebook and we will owe you a drink.
More in due course
Susan and Andrew
Andromeda of Plymouth
Falmouth Harbour, Antigua