Saturday, March 10, 2007

Tuesday 6th March

Pinney’s Beach

17 55.457 N
62 52.204 W

02.24hrs we are both awake and waiting for the alarm to go off, which it didn’t as I switched it off before it had the chance. We dragged ourselves out of bed and made out we were enthusiastic to be up and about with an almost full moon shining through the portholes. Getting the boat ready took very little time as we had left everything ready before going to bed. Donning life jackets and head sets we took up our places on deck to haul the anchor and get underway. As we headed out of the bay Dale and Lorie followed us and we had a brief discussion about the destination as we still weren’t sure if we were going to be able to sail to Antigua as originally planned, if the wind was coming out of the East then we were going to alter course and head to St Kitts / Nevis instead. We decided to get clear of St Barts Island before making a final call on the destination, that way we would be able to tell what the wind was doing. As soon as we were clear of the bay we hoisted our main sail with the first reef in place and then unfurled the jib and turned the motor off – bliss! The going was a bit slow as we were in the lee of the island but it was a pleasant start with calm seas, plenty of moonlight and enough wind to push us along. As we approached the end of the island it became apparent that the wind was indeed coming out of the East at a higher than predicted rate and the waves were increasing in size, in fact the forecast was 100% incorrect! If we were to continue to Antigua we could only motor all the way and we would be bashing into the seas, Gerry and I have done enough of that thus far so we quickly elected to go to St Kitts (short for St Christopher) / Nevis instead, that way we would have a good chance of sailing most of the way and not be bashing through the waves. Dale and Lorie agreed and we altered course to accommodate our backup plan. To use Gerry’s word the sailing was “exhilarating”; we were flying along through seas that were between 6 and 8 feet high, reaching speeds of up to 8.3 knots (our maximum hull speed). I took pictures of Gypsy Palace as she heeled and rolled just so that Rose and Mark can see what we do when they aren’t with us! Dale called us up to ask if we had our navigation lights on as he couldn’t see them, he could only see our stern light; when we hauled up the anchor the navigation lights were working so sometime between then and the call the bulb must have blown or we had a loose connection – something to check out when we weren’t going up and down like a lift. It meant we would have to be extra watchful for other boats as they may not see us. I managed to cat nap for a while in the cockpit but Gerry wouldn’t give up the wheel to even try so he ended up very tired by the end of the trip. As we ducked behind the land at St Kitts the wind dropped to almost nothing and the seas suddenly became flat calm – nice for a short while but then it became frustrating as we couldn’t sail and had to motor sail for a while. Once we got away from the highest land points we found the wind again (or it found us) and we stopped the motor and were back doing an average of 61/2 knots. This continued until we reached Nevis (which is part of St Kitts but a separate island). Here we furled away the jib, dropped the main sail and motored into a nice anchorage at Pinney’s beach. Flying our Q flag again, we dropped the anchor in 14 feet of water and Gerry did his anchor diving thing, checking out both our own and Dale’s anchor to make sure we were secure. Whilst I opened up hatches and made some lunch for us Gerry checked out the navigation light, sure enough it had blown the bulb so he changed that before eating lunch and crashing into bed for a sleep. Dale called us to say he had a problem with his fridge and was going to investigate it, Gerry offered assistance if needed. It may mean that we go to Antigua from here rather than continue on this track to Montserrat and Guadeloupe as Dale knows where he can get it fixed in Antigua. Again our plan is very flexible we will see what happens with both Dale’s fridge and the weather.



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