Monday, May 11, 2015

11th May edited version with pics

Hi everyone,
Well its been a good while since I was able to post to my blog, the main reason being the availability of internet in Falmouth Harbour in Antigua. I did get it now and again but it was painfully slow, and I couldn't load my blog page at all. This connection is pretty good but photo's will have to wait for a bit longer. Hang on I'll post photos now!
first 2 pics of G.L. ready to go to Antigua with one job left to do cos I had time after the fire.

So to get up to date here I go.......
Once the galley was finished I still had plenty of time to make it to Antigua and prepared the boat for sea, I also had time to fit my new wind generator, so two pics of that.
After fitting that I went out to anchor in the Rodney Bay itself, and surprise for me was the boat I helped build in China M.Y. 'Nero' came in and anchored behind me.
Took a pic of the boat next to me as well

The weather had gone awful so I hung on for a bit, I waited till I had my Birthday party on the 7th April with a day off for recovery, and left Rodney Bay St Lucia on the 9th The weather report was good with the wind going a bit south of East at 15 to 18 knots seas 4 to 5 feet. I had fueled up on the dock and hoisted all sail and sailed out the channel on my way. As I rounded Pigeon Island I was met with seas approx 9 to 12 feet winds over 27 knots with a direction of North of East!!! so much for the weather report!!!
It was very rough out there and about an hour later.....disaster.... one arm supporting the rudder on the wind vane fell off with the welding and mounting torn out. This really upset me as I was now faced with steering the boat myself.
I had to undo the other support arm and drop it down as well, other wise the rudder would have torn the framework off. Very slowly I made for shelter behind Martinique to lift the rudder out of the water were it could do no more damage, this was achieved around midnight.
It took 3 days to get to Jolly Harbour for customs, and by that time I had only had 1 ½ hours sleep and been surviving on coffee and biscuits, My hands were red raw from rope burns cos the weather never let up and it was so hard to steer her with the wind on that tack. I made the customs quay at 1530 hrs on the 11th , at 1630hrs I went down below and fell asleep, didn't wake up till 8am the next morning, still tied up to the customs quay!! pics of customs quay and damage done to Fred !!

I rang my friends up to let them know I was in Antigua then went round to Falmouth to anchor, whew!

The England cricket team had also just arrived for the test match series against the West Indies, and we all bought tickets for the second days match, 2 mini buses full of boat people. I had a great time there, and met quite a few people I knew, as I walked around the stadium, as well as some newbies.
Quantities of beer were consumed and food refreshments. It ended up an enjoyable different day for everyone. pics follow

From that day on until well after the classics we went out partying every night, going to all the different functions and having a whale of a time.

After registering the yacht and paying my dues, I went rounding up my crew for this year.
Suzie and her crew Maddy of the yacht 'Spirited Lady'
Alisdair of the yacht 'Star Charger II'
Bjorn from Denmark
Lars from Denmark
Yolander from Mexico (Bikini Girl)
and importantly Renford a local man of Renford Taxis
Having Renford on board was the culmination of an approx 30 year old promise I made to him when I left Antigua all those years ago as crew aboard the m.y. Midnight Saga a 58 mtr mega yacht, and my promise?.......

”One day Renford I'll come back in my own boat and take you sailing with me”

He was so overjoyed to take part, standing in the rigging dancing and singing a joy to behold.
I had been given 7 hats and T shirts for the crew and myself and was ready for the first day of the 2015 Antigua Classics on Thursday 16 April
This year I entered the single handed race again having missed it the year before, I designated 'Maddy' the youngest crew member on board as safety officer during that race, I also entered the concourse judging, I came nowhere in that but did very well in the single handed race coming Forth and just missing a place.
On the 4 other races on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday my Crew and I did exceptionally well. We had 4 good starts and were at least 2 miles ahead of the fleet rounding the first mark every race!, we also finished across the line first in class on all 4 races getting the cannon 4 times, unfortunately there was a Folk-boat 25 footer in our class and no matter what I did or how fast I went he won on corrected time, I was losing by about 8 minutes each race, so I did get 4 second places and a trip up on stage to receive 2nd Prize. Photos of the racing + Renford and myself follow

Then the J Class Rainbow came past, so impressive when up close in your face going full speed,
The sound of the sheets being adjusted is like a clap of thunder !!!
 Then one of me crossing the line with committee boat in the background

Then the inevitable cockpit party

Then the obligatory trip up to Shirley's Hights listening to the steel band and Sundowners
And finally the only pics I have left was when Maddie my youngest crew member this year left English Harbour to cross the Atlantic on her first Crossing! and only 18 years old and in a classic yacht Wow.
And she disappears out of the entrance
 The Classics ended this year with the cream tea and gig racing at the Admirals Inn in Nelsons Dockyard English Harbour, my little dingy did a few rowing races and sailing races and a lot of fun was had by everyone, a good day.

This year although it appeared I was sinking again, I later found no more new leaks had appeared and anyway the salvage pump I installed last year kept the bilges dry. I found 1 pump impeller had snapped off and the other one was blocked with hair. This time repairs were carried out afloat.
I now have the support arms re-welded and require re-fitting Fred back on the Boat.
More serious however are the 'Hood Ends' on the Starboard bow, This is due to the reef damage that has finally come to light, 5 planks have come away from the Stem Post, and will require
re-fastening as well before I can go any real distance safely hence leaks while racing, they are all above the waterline as the others below were re-fastened before the reef disaster, when I repaired the stempost.
So now Bang up to date, I am in Jolly Harbour anchorage doing these jobs. I had some problems with engine charging as well and fixed that yesterday morning. Now good to go. Will reassemble Fred hopefully today and tomorrow, then decide were to fix the bow planks. Once that is done I will have to repaint the boat, the hull is in dire need of that, and with this work to do it will have to be seen too as well, means approx 3 weeks out the water though.

Will let you know were I decide which yard to go to.


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