Steady as she goes.

The mood of the fleet, as evidenced by this morning checkin SSB net, has lightened quite a bit now that conditions are just easy reaching toward Antigua.  As of late evening yesterday, at around 23N, we began to pick up steady trade winds, the very thing that everyone has been waiting for since leaving Hampton.

After days of hunting for favorable winds and a painful amount of time heading more east than south, toward Antigua, it is a huge relief to be pointing directly toward our destination with a minimum of fuss.

The wind is solidly from the east now which puts us on a point of sail with the wind just forward of the beam, a great sailing angle for Pandora.   Wind speeds are consistent, moderate and running between 13 and 15kts, making for easy sailing.

We are still bucking a slight northerly current but we are going fast enough to see over the bottom speeds in the 7-8kt range.  It wasn’t more than a few days ago when we were motoring directly into light winds and current that we had to settle for speeds of about half that to make things worse, we weren’t even heading directly toward Antigua.

I like this much better and to be able to see that the mileage to Antigua is now under 300 miles warms my heart.  Actually, “warm” is the word of the day as it’s pretty hot and stuffy down below.  We can’t open up any hatches as the odd wave hits Pandora without warning, splashes over the deck and would surely find it’s way down below.

I can recall a time on my last run south when I had the small hatch over the galley open only to be shocked when gallons, and I mean gallons, of water surged in,  soaking me and the galley with an inch or more of water in a single shocking moment.  What a mess with salt water sloshing around on the counter and seeping into the fridge and behind cabinets, an experience that I don’t want to repeat.

So, hot and steamy is the word until we get to Antigua.     And, the answer to “when will we get there” seems to be in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

While we plan on tying up at the Dockyard in English Harbor for the next week with most of the other rally boats, we will first run next door into Falmouth harbor as the entrance is easier at night and there is enough space to get into calmer waters before we take down the main.  Recall that I am using my toping lift as a main halyard and taking that down means going up on deck to release the line, something that I don’t want to do in the chop outside of English Harbor, where the waves can be pretty large.

After a celebratory bit of rum after we drop anchor the crew will settle down for a nap and then move Pandora over to English Harbor in time to tie up at the dockyard when they open at 08:00.

After tying up in the dockyard we will clear in to customs and immigration, take the main off of the boom to send it out to the sailmaker for repairs which it is badly in need of.  I am hopeful that the repairs will be good for at least another season or two but I guess I’ll know more after the “diagnosis”.

However, the big event for me will be seeing Brenda as it’s been more than three weeks since I left home to begin preparing for the run and now making my way to Antigua.

For now I am so pleased to be making good time on the final leg to Antigua.  Steady as she goes about sums it up.

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