Bourg les Saintes, Guadeloupe
We more than survived, we thrived on our first passage since returning to the Caribbean. It’s a good feeling to be back at sea again, sailing the boat rather than preparing it; confronting the worries of how the health/fitness/guts will hold up in the face of proper sailing in strong conditions… The bottom line is that we had a great 48 hr, 340 mile passage north to Guadeloupe, back to this delightful spot on the Saintes islands which we enjoyed so much on the way south. It is so French here and absurdly pretty too.
Before saying more we ought just to recap on our preparations; it took us a while and cost us more than we bargained on, but Goldcrest was finally ready to sail last Saturday. We had to do work on the windlass, winches, hull, prop, sails, Duogen, dingy & decks, all in the sweltering, airless heat of Trinidad, but it all seems to have been worthwhile.
We headed off as early as we were able to get away from officialdom (0730) on Saturday, expecting to feel the trade winds as soon as we cleared the north coast of Trinidad. Instead we had no wind at all for the first 3 hours, then suddenly it filled in and gave us a good 15-20kts most of the way. In fact we were very lucky that it was a bit south of east, as that meant we were able to “reach” for the first 24 hrs, a point of sail that all boats prefer. We managed to set a new speed record, touching 10kts a few times and covering 188 miles in 24hrs of sailing. Goldcrest seemed to be revelling in being back in her element and we both felt a greater bond and respect for her than we did before. Nothing went wrong and we had made no mistakes in getting her ready to sail again – wow.
At one stage we were making such good time that we planned to carry on further north so as to avoid arriving in the dark, but a slow second night with wind and current against us meant that we were approaching the Iles des Saintes just as it got light and were tying up to a very civilised French buoy before 7 a.m. on Monday.
Now we are relaxing into being on the water, bobbing around, letting the sun and wind provide us with power and the French with food and drink. My gut isn’t being as co-operative as it could so we might stay a few extra days and enjoy some little jobs plus walking, running, swimming and getting back on form again. Then we head north again for another over-nighter to the next French island – St Barts.