Antigua and farewell to my Folks

Imagine Of Falmouth Online Log
Jon Constantine
Wed 28 Jan 2009 15:15
Tues 27th Jan 09 to Fri 30th Jan 09

Time to go.  We hauled the anchor and set off for Deshaies thankful to get away from the rolly anchorage but a bit sad to be leaving the Saintes.  The weather is definitely on the the turn.  Lots of wind and biggish waves but almost perfect sailing weather just off the wind, Terry taking the helm for some of the way.   The winds turned a little fluky along the coast of Guadeloupe but got more constant the closer we got to our destination.  Just over 6 hours later we dropped the anchor in Deshaies for the night.  Needless to say we locked up everything very securely, with the dinghy hauled, before going to bed! 

We were all up very early Wednesday morning for the last leg back to Antigua.  Before we left Jon & Terry nipped ashore in the dinghy to get some bread but everything was closed.  Shame.  The strikes had started!  So, off we set for the long trip back leaving at 8am.  We knew from the forecast that we were going to get about 18-20 knots of wind and 6-8 ft seas so Jon had set the smaller inner foresail the night before in anticipation of this plus we had 2 reefs in the main sail when we left.  How wrong could the forecast be!!!  We had huge great Atlantic rollers of up to 12 ft and the winds later got up to 25 knots gusting 30 on occasion.  Luckily, the wind was just forward of the beam and allowed us to make a direct course, with no tacking, and in reasonable comfort.  Even the sun was out.  It really was a romping great sail with the occasional dunking!  Imagine was in her element with the reduced sail.  We were heeled over the whole time but well in control.  Mum even fell asleep for a while while Terry kept watch over the windward rail the whole time!  No fish feeding today!

7 hours later having averaged 6 knots (our top boat speed at one point hit 8 knots) we arrived in English Harbour, windswept, salty and completely knackered but in high spirits. 
What a fabulous sail.  The rum punches went down well that evening followed by a great pizza ashore, but it was early to bed.  It's been long day.

The conditions were actually a lot more severe than we thought they'd be but didn't let on at the time (sorry Mum!) but we were on a fairly tight deadline to get back and is was nothing that we weren't used to, it was just whether Mum & Terry would be ok with it.  Jon did say to me when we got back, I quote,  "In my wildest dreams I never imagined that we'd take your folks out sailing in those conditions!"   I don't think they'll forget that trip in a hurry!

It's Friday already and time to go to the airport.  We had a good night last night.  Chris came over and we went up to Shirley Heights for sundowners followed by a lovely meal at Johnny Coconuts.   A fitting finish to what we hope was a great and memorable holiday for them both.  We certainly enjoyed having them aboard.  Mum is already asking where we'll be next year.....