The Classic Tale of the '2014 Antigua Classic Regatta' aboard 'Guiding Light'
Monday 15: After shopping for food and a few last minute jobs, also a quick reorganise of storage + putting away tools etc. we were ready to leave early on 15th April for Antigua, I had Customs sign the girls on as crew, and cleared out of St Lucia. Only 2 items were leaving a bad taste, my camera had been stolen by my paid helper of the last 3 months, and my generator that saved me and Guiding Light in 2010 had also gone missing off the dock! both on Sunday night!
We had a very nice Monday evening meal at Brig Unicorn Restaurant, and a few more drinks and off to sleep.
Tuesday 16: We were up early and made ready to leave the dock, we managed to do that at about 0730hrs, waved goodbye to a few early risers and motored out of Rodney Bay.
Then the first bit of fun started;
With having had the mast down and all rigging taken to bits, and then put back, and not having had a trial sail or even a sail in her since June 2013, I now had to put all sails up!
It took an age, nothing seemed to be in the right place and I and the boat must have gone round in circles 3 times at least, with main sail wrapped round my neck and legs, and everything flapping noisily in the quite strong easterly wind. Rowan and Maggs offered a lot of and much encouraging abuse and derision as was suitable for the total mess I was in, but, after a short while approx 45 minutes all sail was up, and amazing as it might seem to the reader, we were heading in the right direction as well, doing over 8.5knts and only an hour behind schedule.
We were in typical Caribbean sailing conditions of lively seas, SUN and strong breezes (classic).
Down below the girls were finding the leaks I hadn't found yet, and all those many items that hadn't been stowed away quite right, all over the cabin floors! And I must say, they both seemed quite comfortable and had no trouble with having a doze or two or three.
We started to pass Martinique in the afternoon and as evening fell we had passed and were heading for Dominica. It was good sailing and GL was making good time too.
Wednesday 17: We passed Dominica during the night and morning saw it astern as we headed for Guadalupe. It was a good day but had to motor most of the way past, the land blanks all the wind here.
As we passed and with English Harbour nearly dead ahead time was getting on, the wind now was playing up a bit and it took an hour or 2 for GL to get up to speed again.
We took the Pillars of Hercules as a place to aim for and arrived at the entrance to Falmouth at about 1800hrs 17th. And another performance ensued, with me trying to get the lazy jacks unravelled and set. This achieved and with all sails stowed, also with the same enthusiasm from the crew as putting them up!, we headed for the dock. I was assured that a berth was available in my spot, (this is next to the yacht club lawn) and arrived there doing 5knts into the dead ended finger; There was no space left! On the lawn a speaker was giving a memorial speech for the recently deceased chairman and founder of the classics, Kenny C. which was attended by everyone also on the lawn. I put GL in astern to stop and turn round and MY ENGINE STOPPED! ahead was full of yachts, GL was doing 5knts right at em! Everyone in the classics was watching us! PANI-I-I-C!!! I jumped out the cockpit and like a whirling dervish unlashed the sea stowed anchour in about 10 seconds and had the anchour over the side, at the same time Rowan had grabbed the tiller and steered GL away from hitting the longest boats first! as we approached the zenith of a collision I had been paying out the line with a slight tension and seemingly very calm had also been listening to the speech. The boat stopped with about 3 inches to spare, we had arrived!!!