Safena Log 22nd - 27th November - "Back to Antigua"

s/v Safena's blog
Simon Ashley
Thu 28 Nov 2019 02:01
The anchorage at St. Barts was rolly and quite crowded.  It was not helped by the SW’ly wind.  The harbour itself was extremely rough!  Tying up the dinghy was a bit of a mission.  Checking in was easy.  The town was pretty but clearly very geared up to the super rich and superyachts.  We had a nice wander around the town and relaxed aboard during the afternoon.  We returned in the evening for a lovely meal at a French Restaurant called Galawa.

We set off early the next morning for St. Kitts.  There was a light N’ly, NE’ly and it was a combination of gentle downwind sailing under genoa plus motor sailing. We are still getting a strange intermittent “knotchy, clunky” sound from the autopilot when sailing or motoring downwind in a following sea. I had my head down in the port lazerette trying to figure out the problem.  I am fairly sure the noise is coming from the Lecomble and Schmitt hydraulic autopilot ram.  I think this will need to be replaced under warranty but will discuss with them on our return.

Once we got round the NW side of St. Kitts we were able to do some decent sailing under full main and Genoa down the SW coast.  We headed for the south end of St. Kitts and ended up anchoring in White Bay, north of Christopher Harbour, where there appeared to be a few other yachts. What a beautiful spot.  There was small beach bar called The Salt Plage.  We stumbled across a pre-wedding party there with a steel band and incredible atmosphere.  We stayed for sundowners and dinner.  Ben and I had  BBQ’ed lobster which was one of the best we have ever had!  It was a really great night although I think we had a few too many rum punches. There is lots to explore at the south end of St. Kitts and we will definitely be back here.

An early start the next day, slightly the worse for wear, for our last leg to Antigua.  We rounded the SE end of St. Kitts through the Narrows.  Finally there was some decent wind and we had a fantastic fast sail to Antigua on a fetch / beat with full main and genoa.  The 57 mile passage to Falmouth Harbour took about 8 hours and we picked up a mooring just outside the main channel into the marina.  It was much quieter than when we were last here during Antigua Race Week and it felt good to be back!  We had pizza ashore.

The next morning I took the RIB ashore and made my way to Nelson’s Dockyard to check in.  The system remembered our details so this was easier than before but there is a charge of $85 and I am sure this puts off many people from clearing in!  I had hoped we would spend the afternoon relaxing and swimming but unfortunately the guest head had blocked!  It was inevitable this would happen at some stage.  It was almost certainly related to the faulty solenoid valve that allows fresh water into the toilet bowl.  Not enough water had been going in and consequently toilet paper had backed up in the outlet pipe.  This was fairly easy to remove with a handy manual bilge pump, the hose and fittings of which were exactly the right size.  Of course this is never a nice job but as a surgeon, I have had my fingers in much worse!  Problem resolved but much swearing and cleaning required.  Also, we are waiting for replacement, modified, solenoid valves from Jabsco.  Meanwhile, the toilet bowl has to be flushed with fresh water filled manually via a bottle.

Late that afternoon after a quick swim we went to Shirley Heights for the Sunday bash.  It was fantastic as before!  Amazing views at sunset overlooking English Harbour.  Great steel band followed by reggae band and fabulous bbq food!

The next morning I collected William from Lockers Marine Electronics from the dinghy dock.  He checked out the problem with our wind transducer including a climb up the mast.  It seems the “new” wind transducer is toast and will need to be replaced under Raymarine warranty.  Two wind transducers in less than 18 months !!!  He is also quoting to fit an external GPS to feed the Raymarine Axiom Pro chart plotters as their internal GPS’s keep dropping the fix.  I will take this up with Raymarine as this is not fit for purpose but doubt I will get anywhere.

In the afternoon we sailed round to Jolly Harbour using the gorgeous Goat’s Head Channel, a lovely gentle downwind sail under headsails.  It was great to be anchored in Jolly Harbour again!  Unfortunately, both Ben and Nina felt poorly with stomach problems so we stayed aboard for a quiet night.

In the morning we swam and relaxed in the sun.  These were our last moments at anchor during this trip.  In the afternoon we moved Safena into the Marina.  I dislike going astern between pylons in a cross wind to berth stern-to but that is the way it is! Initially we were told that we would have to move onto a different berth the following day because our intended berth was being “repaired”.  This would have been a real pain but did not transpire.

We met Max our day worker who is keen to do more cleaning work which is good. That evening we went ashore to our favourite Akropolis restaurant for pizza.  The next day was the big clean up and laundry day.  We all worked hard and treated ourselves to more drinks at happy hour and another great dinner at Akropolis!  During the afternoon we also met David Walters, recommended via OCC. He is going to quote to make a stainless arch for solar panels.  Safena is pretty wrapped up while we return to UK for Christmas after a few days in Miami.  We return in January.