17:08.973N 62:37.830W Nevis
18 December 2007 – 17:08.973N 62:37.830W Nevis
6.30 set off from Montserrat for Nevis. There was no wind or swell, perhaps this would be the nice day that I should have had yesterday. The wind picked up and I put the sails half out. By 8.00 I turned the engine off and was sailing. That made a nice change, but I really miss the autopilot. The wind and the swell were running ESE 22 knots, gusting 25, which was ok, it was sending me in the right direction.
It was raining over Antigua, which soon disappeared; it was raining over the mountains in Montserrat and Nevis vanished under the cloud ahead of me. I noticed the amazing cloud formation and really should have expected the squall. One of the clamps was not fully down and the main came out fully, which was not what we had agreed when I said it could come out to play. I had tried to run the watermaker as I had full batteries, but it did not co-operate and I cannot deal with this without the autopilot, so that had to be turned off. 9.00 and the other boat in the anchorage overtook me. We were just passing Redonda, an island (a large rock really) 10 miles out from Monserrat which belongs to Antigua. It was very shallow in the surrounding sea and I did not want to have the boat out of control anywhere near that.
There was a cruise liner coming towards me that I assumed was going to Antigua, so I went left while waiting for it to come out of the clouds. When it reappeared it was going left, so I went back on course. That should mean that Montserrat has a visiting cruise ship, that is going to please them.
I had a good sail, but the wind started to go down to 20 knots and below. 11.00 I put the engine back on and later put the main away as it was blanketing the genoa. When I was approaching Nevis I put the genoa away because the water was shallow and there were the dreaded pot markers and I could not spare the hands to deal with the sails as well. This was a pity as the wind did pick up and I could have motor-sailed for a fair while longer.
I was too tired to get the dinghy down and check in, so it would be the yellow quarantine flag. Nevis looks extremely missable, peace and quiet for the rich, with an expensive resort just up from the town. I went to the resort beach where they have put a huge field of mooring buoys. Two boats had anchored between the swimming markers and the first row of buoys, but I did not mind if they wanted me to pay, although I had heard that they were not charging yet. I do not often go on a buoy and the practice would do me good. I caught the rope to the buoy at the first attempt, but the wind picked up when I was trying to move the rope to the front and I had to let it go. I had another attempt and attached my rope through the loop, it should enable me to have an uninterrupted nights sleep without having to check the anchor is holding.
I had one jerry can of diesel on the stern platform which was leaking and so I emptied it into the main tank. I did put my snorkel on and look in the water, I could have gone in, but there did not seem a good reason to do so. I had a nice shower on the back of the boat.
The batteries were full and so I ran the watermaker. I had to tweak it, but then I had a full filter and water output with no bubbles in it. I was so pleased, after all the trouble at least it works properly. I have no idea how much water went into the tank yesterday and so I filled up bottles and put them into the tank. I just wanted the tank to bubble up full, but bottle after bottle did not do it. Perhaps if I had not had that shower, or not done the washing up, it would have filled. In the end I had to give up, the batteries were down to 79% and it was dark.
I have had a pleasant couple of days, although the autopilot would have make them really good. I am going to get both autopilots working as soon as I get to St. Martin, whatever it costs.