Towards Antigua

I have already posted several posts from our trip from Hampton to Antigua by Iridium Go, but no photos can be attached at least not with any reasonable quality.

Unfortunately, most photos was taken with my Huawei Mobile who now refuse to cooperate with my computer so I only have a few photos to select from. If anyone know how to debug a Huawei, please let me know, I have used half a day browsing internet for solutions, I found several suggestions but no one worked for me!!!

Anyway below follow a quick update with some photos.

The fleet on the way

A few boats on the way out, no it is not Kerpa it is Pat and Diana on Shenanigans, one of three SM in the rally, the other is Joy with Chuck and Kim.

Brita

We left a rather cold and murky day with the rain hanging in the air. Brita who have very limited experience of offshore sailing, looks rather happy, but I guess there were some “butterflies in her belly”

On the way

The fleet is on its way and the sky does not look promising.

Reefed down

After crossing the Gulf stream the wind was still brisk and with substantially reefed sails we did around 8 kn with the wind just forward of the beam.

Thomas outlook

My brother Thomas keep sharp look out with a firm grip on the helmsman’s chair to keep his balance.

But after a few days the wind died and come on our nose, so the engine was deployed and the fishing lures went in. Luckily we did not had to wait for long before we got the first catch.

First fish

We believed it was a Bar Jack, that was soon followed by a

Mahi Mahi

A Mahi Mahi, what a beautiful fish! Lock at the happy face of my brother, he enjoyed being the “hook man”

Kertin and the fish

Kerstin goes to action with a very “firm face” cleaning the fish and continued to make the most delicious dinner for us.

Fish on the plate

Enjoyed by the crew, but the fishing luck was not over, we landed another Mahi Mahi and a large

Big Beast

Barracuda (104 cm) , then we stopped fishing, we had fish for the remaining trip and our freezer was full of food. The Barracuda tasted very good indeed.

Calm sea

The weather was then very calm for several days,

 

Sun set

With beautiful sun sets

Breakfast

But the swell made it rather rocky, so all meals were served on the cockpit floor, this time the breakfast. Note it is very practical with a non skid mat to serve the meals on, it works both on the cockpit floor as well as on the table.

Relaxing

Relaxing on the deck, as we know the lazy days will soon be over as brisk trade-wind are waiting.

 

The last days offered very good sailing with reefed sails and speed at around 8 kn. We arrived Falmouth Harbor 23 of November at 23:40.

 

Total distance                             1683 nM     6,7 kn     10 days 12 hours
Total motoring                             715 nM     5,8 kn        5 days   3 hours
Total Sailing                                  968 nM     7,5 kn        5 days   9 hours

 

The day after the rain was pouring down as we

Rain in Antigua

Inflated and launched the dingy so that I could clear us all in.

Nelson Dockyard

Later we motored over to Nelson Dock yard in English Harbor to have

Well deserved Rum Punch

A few well-deserved Rum punches.

I must give my respect to Brita who kept a good spirit all the way, did not mistrust any time, even if the forecast threatening with tropical waves, tropical lows and one model even indicated the possibility of a tropical hurricane. The whole trip was very bumpy even when the wind was low, but when the wind was “on” the sailing was both exiting, demanding and rather uncomfortable, but Brita admired the variations of the sea and enjoyed the trip most of the time. Well done Brita.

 

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Nelson Dock Yard

Finally we arrived, Antigua offered a rainy night , at 23:40 the Anchor was firm in the sea beed in Falmouth Harbor. Of course we had to empty the bow locker to get access to the inspection hatch for the anchor chain, as it hand tumbled around in the heavy seas. Kerstin had to sort it out before the chain run out smoothly. A bottle of Champagne was consumed before we went to bed. We all slept relatively well, but no time for rest, we needed to clear in, but before that breakfast. The dingy needed to be inflated and launched this was done during a torrential rain, so Thomas and I took a well deserved shower in the heavy but rather nicely tempered rain. Finally everything was fixed and we decided to move to Nelson Dock Yard just a few miles away. Now we have tied up and enjoyed lunch so time for relax, socializing with other Salty Dawg participants but very few has arrived yet. And of course to discover. Antigua. Total distance 1683 nM 6,7 kn 10 days 12 hours
Total motoring 715 nM 5,8 kn 5 days 3 hours
Total Sailing 968 nM 6,7 kn 5 days 9 hours.
Now we are tiered

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Soon in Antigua

Now it Is not very long before we reach Antigua, estimate to arrive Falmouth Harbor by midnight, Falmouth Harbor supposed to be easier to navigate at night than English Harbour. We thought of slowing down but the going was more uncomfortable and we are eager to arrive. Sailing condition still the same true wind 20-22 kn swell 8-10 feet. During yesterday and the night we had some strange “squalls” not very strong but the wind was on the nose and when it passed we had moments of very light wind that slowly picked up to 20-22 kn.

Sometimes after rough sailing the chain has tumbled around in the anchor box and have been impossible to get out without getting access to the chain. The easiest way to do that is to empty the forward bow locker and open an inspection hatch I have installed, the only trouble is that the locker is full of gears and it does not appeal to me to have that task at pitch dark night very tiered after the passage, so keep your fingers crossed it will not be necessary. Tomorrow I will clear in and then we will move to Nelson dock yard in English Harbour.
Looking forward to that and exchange stories with the other Salt Dawg sailors over a Rum punch or three!.

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Guest blog by Brita & Thomas

Now we have been sailing as crew on Kerpa for about ten sunny days. 😎We left Hampton Virginia on a Monday, i.e. with a delay of three days, after thorough discussion about the weather forecast. We saw a window of opportunity to pass through the turbulent golf stream between all the different areas of bad weather with storms, coming from all over the place. Since I have never been in this area, never seen the stream and the great waves formed by furious storms, it was a challenge to keep calm and rely on the captains experience and judgement. It is all about trust.☺️

Being on the sea has been really beautiful, I become very impressed by Mother Nature. We have had a great fishing luck – we ate different species of fresh fish such as Barracuda, mackerel and green jack – which tasted both exotic and delicious. The colors and the pattern of the fishes is like a piece of art. The same goes for the sea, it is so beautiful, it is breathtaking. Looking at the change of colors, from gray to sparkling gold, the creative wave formations and the turbulence forming foam does never get boring. It is like meditation. It is so marvelous that it is hard to describe, you need to be there to understand.
Night time, I very much appreciate the moon giving some light at least in the beginning of the night. When it raises up from the horizon and returns back into the sea again. Moreover, the stars which are bright on the sky, seen so clearly with a 360 degree overview, as if it was a picture in a school book are beautiful.

We have not seen more than a handful of sea birds, despite that we have really been trying to observe them. We have seen plenty of flying fish, though. They are impressing with their strength making it possible to fly over the boat, like silver birds.
We enjoy ourselves with intense discussions covering everything from family to politics. We have also been suntanning and enjoyed a lot of tasty food, thanks to our Kerstin’s superb skills.

However, as time goes you become very affected psychologically, being awake to observe what happens during the night, needing to be clear and awake, and being in a turbulent, never ending, continuous and non harmonic movement in all directions, and that is 24 hours a day – it is like as if day and night melts together.

We expect to arrive at Antigua on Friday morning and we really look forward to meet the people on the other boats -the Salty Dawgs – taking part in this rally. It will also be nice to put our foots on solid ground and to explore Antigua. Not having to think about tropical storms for a while.

Lastly I would like to mention that we are still strong and vivid – we are well shaken but not stirred! 🙃🙃🙃🙃

Captain’s log:
Sustained wind 22-24 kn right on the beam, sea 10-12 feet, Kerpa rides them nicely, but occasional heavy sprays bashing spray hood and Bimini, but we stay dry. Well reefed, boat speed close to 9 kn.
Pos 21 16 N ; 60 59 W, 262 nM left to go, with current speed we will arrive shortly after sunset. As English harbor should not be entered by night, we either slow down soon or anchor in Falmouth Harbor.
Our hydro generator caught some Saragasso sea weed and broke one of the blades on the propeller ( Swiss quality?) I will send them a photo and avait their reaction. Diesel generator over heating , now only solar power and power when running the mail engine, so now very pleased I install the smart regulator from Balmar.

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Record

Some record are epic and last for many years, I remember Bob Beamons record in the Olympic Games in Mexico 1968 he jumped 8,9 meters in long jump, he totally crushed the old record. I was 11 years old at that time, and become over 50 before the record was beaten. So what has that to do with our “sailing”? Well we have made a record not epic, on the contrary a record to forget and hope it will not be beaten by us for a very long time. Yesterday at 18:41 we turned off our engine, then it had been working non stop for 68 h and 42 minutes, except for a short stop just to check the oil. We made 392 nM speed 5,8 knots. But the reward came yesterday, just after sun-set the Trade-wind started and after maybe an hour it was very brisk. We could alter the course more south and on a broad reach we went like a bullet 7,3 knot average add a counter current of maybe 1,5 knots I.e boat speed close to 9 knots through the water during the night, The wind is expected to be in the range 18-25 knots with gusting 30 kn until we get to Antigua. Boat Speed is still around 9 kn with reefed down Genua and Main and full Mizzen.
Before the wind set in yesterday Kerstin prepared ready meals for us for the remaining trip in the warm and bumpy galley, lack of wind does not mean lack of waves. For dinner we got Barracuda fish burger, tasted very good, my best fish burger ever. The brisk sailing is exciting and fun, but not very comfortable, sleep is not very good, and one has to move very carefully aboard not to hurt your self.
Position 24 11 N, 60 33 W, distance to Antigua 490 nM will probably arrive Thursday night- Friday morning.

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