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Date: 15 Mar 2011 01:10:00
Title: Getting stuff sorted out - eventually

Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua, Monday night

We've been trying to sort out our arrangements for leaving Saxon Blue in Antigua today. It's gone OK in the end but it's really hard to pin people down and there are loads of boats arriving here for Classic Yacht Week and Antigua Sailing Week later in April so that means everything is going to be full and everybody frantic.

I got off over to the Catamaran Club Marina this morning and got us booked in to be lifted out of the water on Monday 11th of April - well, I think we're booked in but I'll have to check again when we get back here after our cruise with Cind and Christine. I then went to Antigua Rigging to sort out what they need for looking after Saxon Blue over the summer and getting stuff imported. That's a nightmare as the Customs here are really bureaucratic. Although we have our documents to prove that we are a yacht in transit and therefore don't need to pay import duty on things coming into the country, it costs 60 USD per package to have somebody prove that we don't need to pay. I'll have to try to make sure things arrive in fewer, larger parcels. I've signed a series of warrants to get stuff through Customs but I'll have to sign some more in a few weeks, just to enable Antigua Rigging to get our stuff through during the summer.

From there, I went out to see a classic Italian yacht which is anchored in Falmouth Harbour. Kali has spent a few days onboard her and she's really lovely. I was surprised how much the hull and construction looks like an old fishing boat but then I suppose that was the only methods known at the time. Inside, she's all wood panelling and inlays with the signs of the zodiac depicted in coloured wood in the saloon. Goodness knows how much work it must be to keep her in sailing trim. Suddenly, GRP seems like a perfect material.

Kali came back to Nelson's Dockyard with me to get her signed off the crew list. We'd tried the other day, only to be told that Kali needed a confirmed flight out of Antigua so today we booked that and went over to the office. Aha! Another pitfall. We needed proof of where she was going to stay between leaving Saxon Blue and leaving Antigua. Unable to provide that, she's still officially onboard here until we can sign her off the list on Wednesday afternoon ready for her flight before the office is open on Thursday. I'm sure they'll find some other problem but I did directly ask if there was anything else we needed and they said not. I can see why Kali found this whole thing frustrating. It seems to criminalise honest people while doing nothing to inconvenience the ne'er-do-wells. I'm sure the real criminals are busily offloading people all around the coast while the Customs sit in their office chatting to each other and finding new ways to make life difficult.

After I dropped Kali off with Mike on his boat, Andrea and I set off to see if we could get ourselves booked into a hotel for the time when we'll be finally cleaning Saxon Blue and after she's lifted out. As it's almost the regatta season by then, it's difficult but we eventually managed to find a hotel in the Dockyard which can accomodate us. The whole thing was made harder as we couldn't fly out when we wanted so we had to either leave the same day as the boat was lifted out (which seemed like a recipe for disaster) or stay another three days. In the end, we thought that was the sensible option so, at the moment, we're booked to leave Antigua on Thursday 14th of April and arrive in Gatwick early the next morning. That may have to change but at least we've got it all booked for now.

Andrea cooked us a vegetable curry for dinner which was a bit more traumatic than we hoped as she had to work out how to use the frozen veg and other stuff we have onboard. It tasted good, though, so I think it was worth it. We've just had to endure a motorboat near us playing Sade at top volume accompanied by whistling so tuneless that it sounded more like "One Man and His Dog". The skipper of the boat seems to think that Sade is a cool thing to listen to. I suppose it was if you were a twelve year old girl in the 1980s. There's something about motorboats that attracts people who think it's impressive to make a racket. Anyway, I've had a hassly day so I'm allowed to be grumpy for a while.

Harvey

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