We arrived in Antigua at the beginning of May to prepare for our second Atlantic crossing to Norfolk, Cheasapeake from Antigua. We expected this trip to take 8 to 10 days. This also happened to be Antiqua race week so Falmouth Harbour was busy with many yachties behaving as Yachties do – being very social and drinking. We were able to be meet up with some fellow rally members – Chris Swallow, and Allen and Marie from Lady Jane who are also travelling up to US. We were very pleased to note that Weston’s cider was on offer and we have collected various free glasses and hats from the celebrations.
Preparations for our trip included making space in the guest cabin – always a challenge as things seem to spread out! Julian climbed the mast to check all is well up there – it was. We checked the newly cut trysail, topped up the diesel and finally stocked up on food which involved a trip to St John’s, the capital of Antigua, by bus and home by Taxi.
Neill arrived looking very pale so before we left Falmouth we made sure Neill had seen the sights and warmed up! We had a drink at the delightful Admirals Inn and a great walk up to Shirley’s Heights. The view is spectacular and on the return we were delighted to see the racing fleet finishing with all their Spinnakers flying.
We left Falmouth harbour on Saturday morning with good winds of 15 to 20 knots which continued for 5 days so swift progress was made, however the swell caused the boat to rock and roll. This does make life, and sleeping more challenging. Julian,who always cooks breakfast, lost the frying pan and contents to the floor – this did cause some expletives! Just about all rattles have now been been eliminated, I think! We had to motor for a couple of days but this allowed for a better nights sleep, and all the cleaning and washing to be done. Happily the Gulf Stream provided an additional 1 1/2 knots for 24 hrs when we were motoring and the sea temperature rose by 4c as we crossed it. It is now 20c so no swimming here!
On passage we have celebrated Neill’s birthday over several days due to practicalities. Neill, as expected has turned out to be excellent at making soft shackles – possibly on par with Tim Birch. The Blue Ensign which had quietly been destroying itself on a guard rail fitting has been mended. Some old nickers just happened to be the perfect colour! The offending guard rail fitting has been changed.
The fishing has been a triumph. We only fished for a couple of days and caught 5 but only managed to land 2. These were big fish, nearly a metre long, and it was a collective effort. Neill was certainly enthusiastic with the gaff, but just possibly our “getting the fish on board” technique needs to be refined. Only frantic efforts by all ensured these fish did not escape! Thank you to Stuart for improving the fishing tackle as this has definitely improved the odds in our favour.
The new solar panels and charging systems have surpassed themselves and Julian has found a way of displaying the weather grib files downloaded via SSB on to our InavX navigation software on the iPad – happy days! Sadly the boat computer has not survived the various upgrades it required and this will return with Neill for a refit at the factory.
Norfolk is a delightful city heavily influenced by its navel history. I have never seen so many warships! We have taken advantage of the wonders of modern retailing – I managed to have a new pair of glasses made and my hair cut in 3 hours! Julian has a new phone so for our 8 months in USA we will be connected. We have finally managed to purchase the correct fittings so that we can watch films downloaded to the iPad.
Greta and Gary Gustavson, OCC port officers for Norfolk, welcomed us on our arrival. We had a great chat about ours and their adventures and Greta was absolutely wonderful and took me shopping. The boat is now restocked and we are heading up to Annapolis – the self proclaimed sailing capital of the world. Neill is flying home from Baltimore and this should be an excellent getting off point.