Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Visitors and a broken boat

Visitors and a broken boat

Antigua has been a busy time for us; we have had 3 sets of visitors. First we had Cliff, then Ruth and Michael and finally John and Penny.

Always nice to see friends and family we have had to entertain our visitors interspersed with mending the various things that have gone wrong with the boat.

Poor Cliff didn’t get much sailing, in between a period of Northerly swells which made the sea lumpy and waiting for the electrical tech to look at our problem wind generator.

With Cliff at Shells fish and chips - Real English fish n chips!
First to get repaired was the Air Breeze wind generator that we had fitted in Bonaire last August. A fault with the internal regulator was diagnosed and battle royal developed between the manufacturer and the supplier as to what to do about the faulty piece of kit. Eventually after much pressure, Budget Marine supplied a new one. The manufacturer’s suggestion of returning the unit to them (at our cost) was quite frankly ludicrous!
Ruth and Michael brought out with them a box of spare goodies so we could repair our faulty engine alarm panel, unfortunately, this unit is still not functioning properly after several attempts to diagnose the problem.  At least we have an alarm buzzer even if we don’t have alarm lights. We think that this new module is faulty and so do the two engineers that have looked at it!

Ruth at the helm

John and Penny brought out our final tranche of spares and we have replaced our leaking stern gland. This was really very bad as we were getting several buckets of water a day in the bilge when we were sailing. The new stern gland was fitted while in the water (quite exciting!) and we have managed to slow the leak to a drip which only occurs when we run the engine. There is obviously still something not right in this area and we will need to investigate further. Thanks must go to Peter on ‘Ear to Eternity ‘, the Vice commodore of the OCC for helping sort the engine panel and fitting the stern gland, who we fortuitously met in deep bay when we were considering cancelling going to the OCC rally and hauling out instead.

In between fitting new stern glands, attempting to repair alarm panels and replacing the wind generator we have managed to do some sailing. With Cliff we had a relaxing time sailing up the coast of Antigua to Deep Bay, snorkelling and sundowners on the beach. We met another couple sailing a Westerly Corsair ‘Scavaig’ then back to Jolly harbour where we all had a party on Ann and Pete Thompson’s ‘new’ boat ‘Maia’ a Moody 376.

We were back in Deep Bay a week or so later with Ruth and Michael, after doing an island tour in a hire car, Shirley heights, English dockyard
The 'Master & Commander' of The 'Galene'!

and a drive to the highest point on Antigua (Mount Obama or Boggy peak).
Indian Creek from Shirley heights

That was one of the worst drives in a 4x4 I have ever had (never again).The road was so steep that at times we felt we should get out and walk, the 4x4 was not up to it.

They weren't kidding!

When we finally reached the top, the road simply stopped at a big gate “NO ENTRY” and virtually no room to turn round. There was a slightly worn path along the fence, so we thought this must lead to a viewing point. It did not. After a short steep climb there was a view down to Old Road Bluff through a small gap in the trees – simply not worth all the effort.

View from Mount Obama

The day after Ruth and Michael left us John and Penny arrived, onto the boat and off to Guadeloupe. A bit off a rough ride, the new crew survived the trip (minus their stomach contents!)

The new crew enjoying themselves
Local Pageant in Deshaies

 We stayed a couple of days in Deshaies then on to the Saintes at the bottom of Guadeloupe.

A local Pageant in Deshaies

John and Penny were keen to experience French culture and in The Saintes, Penny got the full cultural experience of nude male sunbathing; this was on a boat less than 30 yards away, a full frontal nude on the deck of a catamaran standing in front of the mast! Needless to say the binoculars were fully utilised that morning by both girls who claimed to be ‘bird watching! (The excuse the guys normally use!)

We also got the harbourmaster delivering bread ay 0700 in the morning, very nice.
Practice for the RORC Caribbean 600 - Brisk tradewind conditions

A brisk Tradewind sail - Note the speed!

Two nights in the Saintes, back to Deshaies and then to Falmouth harbour Antigua in time for the 2nd ODI between England and WI’s (England won!)

At the Sir Viv Richard Stadium

 Next stop Deep bay, more beach sundowners, finding Beyzano there who we had last seen in Bonaire and finally back to Jolly to drop off departing guests. With John and Penny we sailed nearly 200 miles in 2 weeks, not our normal pace. It would normally take us either a couple of months or a couple of days! But at least they got to see several islands on their cruise.

Sundowners with 'Beyzano' and 'Ear to Eternity'
Time for Laundry, a trip to the dentist and some provisioning then we are off to Dominica for the Ocean Cruising Club 60th anniversary rally in Prince Rupert bay Portsmouth. More social events and hopefully we can arrange some diving as well.

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