Fai Tira Blog
16.00 UTC Monday 7th December
Fai Tira arrived in Antigua . 17:03.98N 61:53.02W
done it !!! 23
days 4 hours and 2851miles after leaving Lanzarote we moored up in Jolly
All the time
as we were closing in, I found myself trying to resist the temptation of
relaxing in the conviction that we’d made it safely. After all we were
only 40 miles from Spain during our Biscay crossing when we were hit by force 8
and 9 winds.
Just as well
then. The last night and following day, as we approached, turned out to be some
of the more difficult and demanding sailing of the trip.
For once I
was looking forward to my watch. We’d made really good progress and the
extra speed meant that our original ETA of early afternoon, Saturday, was once
more a distinct possibility. As a result the first sighting of land was likely
to be during my watch, such excitement!!
before then there was still a boat to sail. I’d tried, unsuccessfully, to
get my head down a bit early to make up for some recent poor nights’
sleep and was again struggling to drift off mainly due to the rolling sea and
the heat. Then abruptly the boat changed direction accompanied by a bang that
told me the boom had moved across, the saloon table prevented me from falling
out of bed as the rolling motion changed, the boat was now see sawing and the
wind sound suddenly exaggerated.
encountered a number of squalls and the unstable and unpredictable winds, meant
we were travelling too far north and a jibe had been required. The execution
had proven difficult, with the winds now in excess of 20 knots so I, in just my
bed attire which wasn’t much, stumbled out of the hatch and helped to
complete the manoeuvre.
The seas were
now big and starting to break over the side, but the beam reach meant at least
we were going the right way.
weird how your senses get tuned in after such a long time, and instinct has
such an effect on how things feel, and although I was now back in bed, the boat
felt unstable and very skittish. Again I checked with Pete, he was feeling the
same way, so it was back on deck again to re-set the sails for downwind
sailing. Far more comfortable now, but again direction was a problem. I still
found sleep difficult and when I came on watch the night was dark and squally.
The tiller pilot struggling and with foreboding clouds all around and the
rollers sending the boat in unpredictable directions, I switched to standby and
took the helm, where and spent most of the rest of the watch.
4.30am I peered into the darkness ahead, and there on the horizon was a
broken line of horizontal flashing lights, no definition, but there it
were heading for the wrong bit, but that didn’t stop it from feeling good.
As the skies
started to lighten it became possible to make out shapes, Time to wake Pete,
this was something not to be missed.
I was tired,
but who wants to sleep at a time like this, and stayed at the helm. It felt
somehow poignant not to be on self steering. Fai Tira had taken all the way
across the big pond, now it was our turn to give her a hand for the last bit.
We put in
another jibe and started to point the right way at last.
It was now
light and the detail of the Island clear. Helming was difficult as the boat,
assisted by the strong winds broached down the huge rollers. We were about 25
miles out then as we crested a wave, about 200 yards away at the bottom of a
trough, there was what looked like a rowing boat with just a couple of black
guys on board. One with a big floppy whooly hat and dressed in a bright
green top, was languidly leaning back, he just looked up and gave a nonchalant
wave and looked away.
the laid back Caribbean!!!
As we neared
Jolly harbour, we passed the entrance of our next destination, Nelsons Dockyard
(great names aren’t they) At the moment it’s the scene of an
international super yacht exhibition, and we were treated to the view of some
very impressive boats out sailing. They were no doubt providing some lavished
corporate entertainment to some prospective customers.
indeed, but bet that they hadn’t just sailed the Atlantic.
at the entrance to Jolly Harbour was fantastic. The sea turned turquoise
against a back drop of golden beeches and palm trees. It was greeted by Brian,
off Miss Tippy, and some of his children in their inflatable, while they filmed
us on the pontoon, with rum punches and fruit, Were Richard and, his wife, Boot
from the rally organisers, the rest of Brian’s family and a whole bunch
of people from the earlier boats and after a whole load of congratulating, back
slaps, hand shacking and hugs, two weary
can call ourselves sailors now) partied into the night.
Swimming in the middle of the Atlantic
Down Wind Rig
The Moon and the Sunset
Watch out Squall on the
Squall is here.
We are here
Jolly good entrance to Jolly Harbour
We have made it
Bye for now.
Pete and John