Happy new year!
First blog of the year and so far so good on Dorade. The Christmas holidays in Virgin Gorda where a blast and I hope every body enjoyed them as much as I did. The wind was blowing hard for most of the stay in the BVI so it was decided not to do so much sailing but plenty of relaxing, eating and drinking. The one day we did sail we were blessed with a great day with nice wind, calm seas, good swimming and great company.
After all the team had departed the BVI and headed back to the west coast Bush flew in to join me for the delivery back to Antigua. On the Way up from Antigua Laurel sailed with me and we enjoyed a scorcher of a downwind sail to the BVI. Unfortunately now the wind was still blowing just as hard and from the same direction which meant this return trip was going to be dead upwind and in big seas. I had a third guy who was supposed to come with us but I think he must have seen the forecast and decided against it. All the race crew where arriving inAntigua on the 5th to do a little training and look at some new sails so I really didn’t want to be up in the BVI whilst they are all in Antigua. However the weather forecast didn’t look like it was going to improve and if anything it would get worse so we pushed off.
Quickly the seas built up and we were smashing into 20+ knots of breeze with as little sail up as we could and and although not dry or comfortable we where making ok speeds in roughly the right direction. Soon enough Bush was hanging over the rail emptying the contents of his stomach for Neptune. I asked “Bush did you take the anti seasick tablets I gave you last night”. “No man was the reply” and reason why I have no sympathy for him. So now it was mostly up to me. After doing a couple of 6 hour stints on the helm with only a small break between I was not particularly enjoying this trip. Bush got some sleep and eventually we both managed to get a little food inside us as cooking was out of the question for this trip.
The second and final day i was on the helm when a bang came from the mast. Initially I thought the worst but quickly I realized the mast was not falling down and the jib winch had just sheered clean off the mast. Bush ran on deck quickly to take the helm as I ran forward and managed to transfer the halyard onto another winch, pull the sail back up and quickly get back up to speed. As we had been bashing around waves I had encountered a particularly big one which didn’t seem to have a back to it. As Dorade fell into the trough the next wave slammed into the jib and the pressure of the wave was clearly the culprit. Anyway after a painful 42 hours we arrived safely in Antigua a few hours before the race crew. The boat looked like a war zone. Also lesson learned is although we made it safely I’m not going with only one person again on a trip like this. The funny thing is that some of the bigger boats arriving after us in the 120ft range where complaining it was the worst trip they had ever done!
Anyway after the carnage was cleared away it was good to have the race crew out for a few days and a great opportunity for looking at sails, training and having a good catch up and discussion about the up coming events for the next year.
After my first few days off in weeks it was nice to get away from the boat this weekend and spend some time relaxing with friends. However today is Monday and as ever the list of things to do is unending so the varnish team is already working away at the interior to make it look like new again. The mast winch bases have all been removed and are now epoxied to the mast and I’m in the process of lining up all the other jobs for the rest of the week and next month or so before the team are back out and we are ready for the RORC Caribbean 600.