Fri 21 Jan 2011 00:59
Total distance 2229nm
Falmouth harbour, Antigua. Arrived Tuesday night local time 2100 making it an amazing 12.5 days crossing. Amazing because for a 46 foot yacht that is extremely quick. And as a Brucey Bonus it means I get over a weeks holiday in Antigua! We've had nearly near perfect conditions for the entire crossing; clear sunny days, north easterly/easterly wind, favourable current and good Syds curries to boot. All in Gaviota has managed an average speed of 7.44knots, with some really good days of 'surfing' the Atlantic rollers to over 12 knots.
Antigua was spotted with around 17miles to run, and it felt like the longest 17 miles ever. With the impending doom of having no engine/electrics, the nerves started to jangle. With Syd and myself doing a long nightshift the previous night on the helm with little or no wind, we were all very fatigued, and our average speed had dropped so much that the island felt like it wasn't getting any closer. We watched the daylight fade, but luckily a clear night and full moon meant visibility was good. As night fell the only electrics we used was the compass light, and occasionally Syd would turn on the laptop to make sure we were still pointing in the right direction. It's a good job Syd has been here before, as the entrance to Falmouth harbour is covered in shallow reef, and we kept the genoa up till the last possible moment and then held our breaths as the engine was switched on....it worked....sweet noise!
Rounding the corner to Falmouth harbour opened up a scene that looks like a set from the Borrowers. Gaviota felt like a dinghy amongst super tankers. The marina was lit up by a city of mega yacht/gin palaces belonging to the super rich, forcing mere 100foot boats to have to anchor as the marina spaces were taken up by these monsters. Taking top spot is a boat called 'The Maltese Falcon', a modern 300 foot square rigged, 3 masted (6 sails per mast) vessel where the masts need red lights on top so aircraft don't fly into them.
But who cares about them, Gaviota is the real deal. She has now crossed the Atlantic for the forth time, and is a superbly fast and comfortable boat to be on. She needs a few repairs now we're here, but she probably deserves a rest and a bit of a clean! So thanks Gaviota, and huge thanks to Captain Syd, who now takes this Atlantic crossing thing in his stride. In fact he commented that this crossing was "pretty easy really" but is secretly over the moon that he's done it in such a remarkable time. Personally I think that's down to having such excellent crew, who would every so often stop sunbathing to wind in a rope or two.