The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Mon 16 Apr 2018 12:28



14:04N 60:57W


We’re in St Lucia.  Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


15 April 2018   French Guyana to St Lucia (Day 5)

When we were directly west of Barbados, the wind dropped to 12-15 knots, so we shook the three reefs out of the main sail for the first time in three days and managed to carry on sailing at 5-6 knots.  At 07:00, we were still 90 miles from Rodney Bay, so we resigned ourselves to a night land fall.


The amount of Sargassum Weed in the sea seems to be increasing as we head North.  When I was having my morning constitutional around the deck, I heard a gurgling noise from the stern.  I found a huge ball of weed wrapped around the Hydrovane rudder, which took me 10 minutes to get off with our gaff – I think that we were going ¼ knot faster once I had removed the drag.


I’ve read that Sargassum Weed is a huge problem in the West Indies because most of it ends up on the windward beaches of the islands, growing to several feet thick in places.  Not only is it unsightly, but the rotting seaweed produces Hydrogen Sulphide, which in high concentrations is a health hazard.  The people who remove it from the beaches have to wear breathing apparatus.


The day remained fine with a steady 15-18 knot wind.  We finally picked up a favourable 1 knot current at 16:00, but it was too late to make a real difference.  We watched the sun go down over St Lucia and then had a lovely sail around the north end of the island, gazing at the sparkling lights on the houses ashore.  It was an easy approach into Rodney Bay and by 20:00, we were safely anchored at 14°04.64N 060°57.66W in 7 metres of water.


We have now completed our circumnavigation of the world.  We left St Lucia on the 21st January 2012, so it’s taken us 6 years and 3 months to complete the voyage.  We’ve done 40,000 miles, visited 49 countries and had a great time.  Our plan now is to get to Trinidad by the middle of June.  That’s two months to sail only 220 miles – we’re on holiday.