St Barts & St Kitts

Imagine Of Falmouth Online Log
Jon Constantine
Tue 12 May 2009 17:45
Mon 11th May 09 to Weds 13th May 09

Having said our farewells to Foxglove (they're heading North for New York when they've completed all their work) and got some last minute provisions, namely lots of cheap French red wine, we checked out and set off for Nevis.  The weather forecast is not looking good for later in the week so we've decided to leg it now with an overnight stop in St Barts.  We're expecting 20 knots plus of wind so we decided on 2 reefs in the main this time.  It's easy to shake them out if there's less wind than putting them in when there's more!  The reefs stayed in but we kept with the full headsail. Not the most comfortable sail as we have strong winds and big sea swells but it was hot and sunny and we had no squalls.  At about lunch time we saw the strangest looking boat heading in the direction that we'd just come from and then a little later, going our way, a mega sailing boat overhauled us doing 8 knots (according to the AIS) even with a well reefed main and a 'handkerchief' for a headsail.  You couldn't have seen two more contrasting boats. 


We arrived in Anse du Grand Colombier, now our favoured anchorage in St Barts, late afternoon having sailed 21.4 miles in 4 hours and 20 minutes.  Not too bad considering the unfavourable wind direction and the fact that we had to tack 3 times in order to get here!  We really are getting a bit soft!  It was amazing how empty the bay was compared to just 2 months ago, just us and 2 other boats.  The season has definitely come to an end up here in the Leewards.  After our sundowners we lit the BBQ and had chicken, jacket potato and salad.  Divine.  The BBQ really was a good buy.  We use it all the time now.  The gas bottles are quite small so to make them last longer  and for speed we've found that a quick burst in the pressure cooker for the chicken and the potato before barbecuing works brilliantly.  No sweating over a hot stove now and the boat stays cooler with no old cooking smells either!

Last night we decided (although Jon insists that it was my decision) to risk heading off for Nevis today, so we were up early this morning.  If the bad weather does set in or we run out of time then we can nip in to St Kitts.  We had some rain earlier but it's stopped now so off we go.  We put 1 reef in the main and decided on 2 in the headsail as the winds were up to 20 knots.  No sooner had we left St Barts then the heavens opened.  We did discuss going back but in the end decided to continue on.  It's not that bad.  It's just a shame that we are sailing close hauled again and will struggle to make the course.  The winds picked up as a squall came through and the seas are definitely getting bigger.  There's now no way that we'll make Nevis before dark and we will never make the gap at the bottom of St Kitts and the top of Nevis so we cut in through the gap between the top of St Kitts and Statia.  As we rounded St Kitts we lost the wind but it wasn't for long.  We can see a BIG squall coming our way and the wind is now bang on the nose so we furled away the headsail just before the winds and rain hit us.  The top gust was registered as 36.9 knots on the instruments.  Not nice at all but we had no problems controlling Imagine.  Our only issue is that we can't make the course and had to tack all the way down the coast towards Basseterre where there's a large anchorage an a marina.  We decided against going into Basseterre as we've been there before and it's not very pleasant.  Very big and full of commercial ships.  There didn't look to be much shelter from the weather either.  Having consulted the pilot book we chose the more sheltered White House Bay, a few miles further on.  On went the engine in an attempt to get there before sunset.  We dropped the anchor after sunset but before it got totally dark and after the 3rd attempt it set could now relax.  What a day.  11 hours of sailing with 56 miles logged.  And now it's beer - onion rings - soup & bread - Bed!!!

We had a comfortable night as we are totally sheltered from the swell here.  It's still raining on and off and the skies are very grey.  The wind is still blowing so we figured on staying here another night before making the short hop over to Nevis.  After lunch we dinghied ashore as the rain seemed to be holding off for a while.  We walked around the huge salt pond, getting very muddy in the process, and explored the beach.  We even saw a monkey.  It looks like they are draining the pond and they are going to build holiday apartments here; we spotted the sales office.  Sad really.  My money says that it won't get started in this economic climate.  You only have to look at Antigua or Grenada to see all the unsold luxury houses and apartments on those relatively affluent islands!  Hey ho.  That's progress for you!

                                        Imagine                                                                           The slowly shrinking salt pond

                                                                                        The local bird life

                                                                      Put it down.  You've just had your lunch!