Down to the Home Stretch….Antigua on Thursday?

We are down to the last 420 miles or so until we arrive in Antigua.    It’s funny to say “last” as that’s still a very long way to sail but after over 1,200 miles under our keel, that doesn’t sound like all that much.   Now that we are finally headed directly for our destination, with predictable winds in the forecast, somehow it doesn’t seem all that far away anymore.

Overnight and today, Monday, have offered a welcome respite from the drama of the last few days and I am happy to report that we have not had any more broken gear and a lot less action in the squall department.  We did have a big squall with really heavy rain last night that followed us along for nearly 5 hours but there wasn’t much wind, not even enough for sailing actually.  However, it kept us busy and at the helm and ready just in case.

Today was a beautiful sunny day and we took advantage of the light winds and smooth conditions to transfer all of the fuel that I had in jugs, 22 gallons, into the port fuel tank as that tank and the mid tank under the floor had been run down to empty.  We kept running on each tank until the engine began to shudder as it sucked in air.  Even though we had more fuel in the third tank and in jugs, it is very disconcerting when the engine begins to shut down and you are over 400 miles from anything.

And, as I switched to my last tank, I couldn’t help but remember two years ago when I did just that and discovered that my tank had water in it which rendered the entire tank unusable.   The good news is that we switched and everything is good.  And, as I just put the fuel into the other tank from the jugs, I am confident that the remaining fuel in the other tank is clean too.

We are currently running on the starboard tank, the last full one, which we estimate to be about 30 gallons and then once we run that one out, if we do, we will switch back to the tank with the fuel I transferred today.

Antigua is still a long way from here and it’s a bit unsettling to know that if something were to go wrong we don’t have enough fuel to get there under power alone.  Losing the main halyard on the main the other evening is something that I don’t want to repeat.

However, the wind is beginning to fill in and we should be able to shut off the engine around midnight and sail most of the remaining distance to Antigua from here.

George spent several hours today working on a spreadsheet to keep track of our motoring time as well as to track our speed with the goal of estimating our arrival time and be sure that we don’t run out of fuel.

Timing is important as he and Cliff have to catch the same flight on Thursday evening at 5:00 and they don’t want to miss their flight and have to buy another ticket.  They are both a bit bummed that they can’t spend even one day enjoying Antigua but the idea of paying for another ticket doesn’t sound appealing either.   Besides, I am sure that they are really excited to be heading north to the chilly North East.

Brenda emailed me today to say that there is a possibility of snow in CT on Wednesday.  What fun.

I feel badly for my crew having to leave immediately as this is a very long way to sail just jump off of the boat and into a taxi.

Hopefully we will have at least a few hours for them to get the lay of the land.  Besides, I do have to buy them a rum punch to toast their arrival before I see them off.

Brenda arrives on Wednesday afternoon and will be living in the lap of luxury, with the bed all to herself until I arrive at the beautiful Admiral’s Inn, located right inside the dockyard where Pandora will be berthed.

And when will we arrive, you ask?   We’ve been giving it our best guess for days now and now that we are entering more predictable winds, we are pretty sure that we will arrive sometime late morning on Thursday, with a few hours to spare before they head to the airport.

So, that’s it, we are down to the last stretch on a long run and I am getting pretty excited about seeing Brenda after several week away.

And speaking of excited,  I am sure that Andrew Dove at North Sails will be thrilled to see me with my damaged mainsail that is badly in need of repair.  I’ll also make he local rigger happy when he prepares my new main halyard and snakes it down the mast.

So, there you have it, after 11 days at sea, and I hope that’s all it turns out to be, Pandora will arrive in Nelson’s Dockyard, perhaps the most beautiful harbor just about anywhere,  in good style.

And, I’ll be arriving just in time as the first of our week of planned events is on Thursday evening to honor the Salty Dawg fleet and their successful passage to Antigua.

I know that a good number in the fleet won’t arrive until later in the week but that’s why we have a full week of event so fast or slow, everyone will be able to enjoy the fun and celebrate their successful passage.

Oh boy, I can’t wait to have a rum punch.

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