Saturday, February 09, 2008

St Vincent Arrival

It was as if the powers that be didn’t want us to leave St Martin…At first it was delay due to repairs, then it was our desire and duty to watch the Patriots in the Superbowl. In the end we had trouble checking out since we’d checked in (after Saba) with a guest that we’d forgotten to take off the manifest because they intended to make the sail south with us until the repairs were further delayed. A few phone calls, emails and hours later, we finally got our clearance papers. Now all we had to do was lift, clean and put away the dinghy. This too proved to be a difficult task. Proof that we had stayed too long, the outboard engine lock had seized, and seized tight. A can of Lanocote and couple of hours later, my captain managed to unlock our engine theft device. By now it was early evening so we opted to get a good night’s sleep before setting sail. As it was we’d expected to spend two days and two nights at sea on this direct passage, but there was no reason to make it three nights.

It was a good decision because the passage required our full attention with winds usually well above 20kts and an active sea state. More often than not we had a reef in both the main and the 100% jib, and at night with gusts to 30kts we had two reefs in the main. Our one port-tack sail was also a wet ride with frequent breaking waves over the port side. During the first day we took on one large wave that arched above us and then fell in such a way that it immediately filled both cockpits. Removing the salt residue from our sunglasses in order to see was a full-time job. We couldn’t remember the last time we were so salty! Even our lips hurt.

I often complain about how people falsely think we’re lounging and sipping drinks on deck because we rarely get a chance to lounge and we never “drink” during a sail. So, shame on me for having such an idyllic image of island hopping in the Caribbean. I thought we’d surely have a nice leisurely sail down island. A good weather window, sunshine, and warm weather, perfect right? As experienced, I have since read the short passages between islands are often difficult due to high winds, erratic downdrafts and strong currents.
As far as we know, we made the 343nm trip to southern St Vincent without any damage, aside from a few bruises. We’re currently on a Charlie Tango mooring between the mainland and Young Island, surrounded by picturesque views and happily salt-free.

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