Log 14th May 2019 - "Pit stop Rodney Bay Marina, passage to Curacao!"

s/v Safena's blog
Simon Ashley
Tue 14 May 2019 01:12
It was good to be back in Rodney Bay Marina for a quick pit stop before setting sail for Curacao.  It was great to see some familiar faces - Nigel (Dockmaster) who allocated a lovely hammerhead on C dock; Liz at the office; and dear Bengy.  

We learnt that Bengy, who has done a lot of day work for us previously is lucky to be alive.  He and two friends were involved in a disaster.  Their small fishing boat sunk between St. Lucia and Martinique.  Bengy was fortunate enough to be rescued by a passing ferry after 13 hours in the water.  His two friends were sadly lost.

Plugged into power we could really cool down the yacht and run the AC at night which was a luxury! We all did some well-needed cleaning and packed some things away ready for our passage.

It was Ben’s last evening with us and we went for a great Sushi dinner and then had a monster game of Poker!  We arranged a taxi (Alwin) to take Ben to Castries airport the following morning.  He was flying back to Antigua then to London.

Nina and I set about finishing our preparations. At sundown the wind was light enough for me to fly the drone over the marina and take some photos.  In the evening we went for one final pizza at Elena’s - delicious.  Nina saved some of hers for us to eat for lunch the following day under sail.

On 12th May we cleared out and then refuelled Safena before setting off to Curacao, a passage of some 490 miles.  It was quite overcast and the winds were moderate E’ly.  We opted for a simple low-risk, easy downwind sailplan using full Genoa, no pole and no main.  It was very steady and relaxed although quite rolly and not particularly fast.  We averaged about 6.5 kts.  For about 24 hours we did not see another vessel!

The sea always seems to become more confused at sundown and we did get slewed around by a few “sidewinders” during the first night. The second day the sea was quite confused and the waves were on the quarter so the motion was quite uncomfortable. The wind was a bit patchy.  Also, there was a weird current pushing us to the north and slightly east.  Consequently on the second night our SOG slowed to 3.5-4.5 kts.  So, although we sailed for the first 2 days at times we were slower than expected.

Nina and I adopted a 3 hour watch pattern at night.  We had a beer for sundowners each evening and Nina made some great meals as usual!

Early morning on the 14th a large Cargo ship appeared on AIS / Radar and would have crossed our bow very close.  I monitored his position for several miles.  When he was about 4 miles away I called him on VHF.  He was extremely polite.  He confirmed he had seen us and told us not to worry as he would avoid us.  He then made a big turn to starboard and ended up going astern of us before resuming his intended course!

The 12th and 13th were quite cloudy days but on the 14th we had beautiful blue skies although the wind had dropped and we motored. We have lost a bit of time and will probably spend one day/night at Bonaire before moving on to Curacao which is another 40 miles or so.