One of the reasons for sailing to Antigua was to get our wind
generation fixed. The problem was that in the strong gusts (35 to 40kts) that we
get out here, the blades of the wind generator were feathering and bending in so
that they hit a support strut on the pole holding the wind generator. The impact
broke the blades and including carriage, a new set of blades costs £300 or so.
We used the wind generator for 18 months in the UK without any problems.The
frame on the stern, which includes the wind generator pole, was made by Fusion
in Lymington and they agreed to send out an extension (at no cost to us) to
raise the generator above the strut. Neither they nor us were sure it would
work, so we arranged for it to be sent to Antigua where there are
fabrication firms that do work for superyachts, that could help if we
needed it. It only took 4 working days to arrive, which we thought was
To fit the extension we went into the
Cat Club Marina in the north of Falmouth Harbour. To our amazement and delight
the extension, which was a hefty bit of kit, fitted like a glove and all the
holes lined up perfectly. We had some fun and games pulling the extra wire
we needed through the frame and re-making the connection, but we did
it. To test it we had to repair the latest set of chipped blades (it took
two sets of blades before we realized what was happening) which we did
using araldite as a filler and using wet and dry to get the shape and fine
polished finish. It all worked and we are still using the repaired blades.
Talking to the manufacturer in Germany, while they thought our repair was good
(we sent photos), they were concerned that if the repairs came
off at the zillion miles an hour that the blades go, it could be dangerous.
Like us they thought it highly unlikely, but they offered a much reduced price
for another new set of blades. So we agreed and they are on route to Antigua,
expected to arrive early this coming week.
The Marina office at the Cat Club marina. The
marina, which is not only for catamarans, had a lot of
large yachts in, most with professional skippers with 2 or 3 crew. However,
it was very quiet, very friendly and well laid out with plants. You can just see
us, with the blue stripe, moored outside the office.
Aurora B at the Cat Club. This was our first stern-to mooring
- letting the anchor go 2 boat lengths out and reversing back into the berth,
setting the stern lines and then taking up on the anchor chain. It worked
perfectly coming in, but was quite tricky getting out as we had a strong cross
wind. We only had about 8ft of water in the berth and we draw 6ft 7ins, so
about a foot under the keel.
We used our fender board as a gang plank to get
ashore. We've not used it as a fender board yet, but this is the second time
we've used it to get ashore (the last time was in Las Palmas). We can't get much
closer or the davits on the stern (which normally hold the dinghy)
hang over the dock. We also have to be careful of the
hydrovane (self-steering gear) on the stern. All the boats moved
around in the wind and occasional swell that came across the bay, so we had a
bit of bungy cord tied to the board so it was held above the dock until we
stepped on it. It worked well and cost next to nothing.
The wind generator with the extension and
repaired blades fitted. The winds here are not constant in speed and the
generator can give us anything up to 18 - 20 amps, but on average it's around 5,
giving 120 amp hours a day, which is certainly worth having to keep all the
electronics, including this computer, running.
A deep sea fishing boat was two boats down from us on the
dock and went out on charter most days, leaving at first light and returning
about midday. When they had a catch, which was most days, the fish were
gutted on a table on the dock and sold to the local restaurant. We believe these
were wahoo. We still don't fish - don't like the thought of having to do the
gutting (or getting blood on the teak deck!). We might try it on our next long
passage, but we'll try for something a bit smaller than these.
The motor vessel Kismet on the hammer head at
the end of the Cat Club Marina. They invited all those at the marina to a bbq on
the dock, but it rained and we all went on the aft deck, meeting the skipper and
17 crew! It's 223ft long, had outside air conditioning and when it refueled
it took on 20,000 gallons (several of the smaller fuel tanker lorries that
they use over here). It was truly splendid on board. With the owner not
visiting that often and no charters in the current climate, the 17 crew keep it
spotless and just visit the megayacht harbours of the world (of which
Falmouth, Antigua is one).