Antigua, here we (all) come, soon.

Last week I presented an overview of our plans for the fall Salty Dawg Rally to Antigua, along with a broad “itinerary” of what cruisers might want to do during the season as they make their way down the islands of the eastern Caribbean between Antigua and Grenada.

Some will likely opt to make the run home to the US in the spring but some will also plan on leaving their boats in the Caribbean, mostly in Grenada and Trinidad, outside of the hurricane belt.

It looks like we will have a particularly large number of boats heading south this fall with the rally.  As of now, we are running way ahead of normal pre-pandemic signups with nearly 50 already booked to join the rally.  This compares very favorably with 30 signups by this time in 2019, the last “normal” year.   If this continues to hold, and most signups generally happen in the last few months, we could very well have 100 or more boats in the fleet.

This year we are going to try a second start point, Newport RI, when we join forces with another rally, the NARC, North Atlantic Rally for Cruisers.  And, as an added treat, we have a planned stop in Bermuda, a nice way to break up the 1,500 mile run to Antigua.

Being back in Bermuda will be a bit of a milestone for me as it will be the first time I have been on that island since I did my very first offshore run several decades ago on a friend’s boat on a delivery back to Norwalk CT following the Bermuda race.

My presentation, tailored to those who are considering a run to Antigua, focused on some of the highlights of Nelson’s Dockyard and the two weeks of events associated with the fleet’s arrival.

Additionally, I talked about a number of special events that we will tie in with during the season including Carnival in Martinique, Yachtie Appreciation week in Dominica, the Easter Regatta in Bequia and the Classic Yacht Regatta in Antigua in April.  We also plan a week or more at a beautiful resort in St Lucia, Marigot Bay Resort.

My talk was about 40 minutes followed by 15 minutes of questions.  If you want a sense of what visiting Antigua and cruising the eastern Caribbean is all about, check out the link to the presentation below.

Doing a talk via Zoom isn’t quite as much fun as presenting to a live audience, with the unblinking camera the only feedback, but it’s a great way to get the word out.  I’d be interested in your thoughts on my presentation.On the home front, it’s nearly the end of June and I am making pretty good progress on my “honey-do” list.  The gardens look wonderful and the kitchen and guest bathroom are “demoed”, if that’s a word and the kitchen floor tile is in place.

Over the next few weeks the new kitchen counters will be delivered and the painters will begin prepping the cabinets for a fresh coat of paint, light grey, I think.

I have also made good progress on the guest bath and expect to begin Sheetrocking today in preparation for the waterproofing of the shower enclosure.  While things are progressing nicely on the kitchen and bath, I’ll admit that I am tiring of living in a construction zone.

The good news is that we can now begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel and soon, I hope to turn my attention to Pandora.

Sadly, work hasn’t yet begun on the installation of the lithium bank and wind generator but I am told that they expect to have the work completed by the end of July.   If they make that date, in spite of having Pandora since mid May, I guess that will be OK.

The good news is that I am not paying for dockage so that has saved me some money at a point when I would not have used Pandora much anyway.  I don’t want to get too excited about that savings as it will be dwarfed by the expense of the new systems.

As soon as I get Pandora back to CT I’ll have to consider what I have time to tackle prior to heading back to Antigua.

All I can say is that I am very glad that I tackled the big projects at home as it makes having Pandora stuck in Deltaville a bit easier to swallow.  Boatless or not, at least I am busy.  However, with Brenda away for much of the middle of July, that would have been a great time for me to bring Pandora north.

Well, we are where we are and things here at home are progressing nicely.  I hope the same will soon be the case for Pandora.

One way or the other, late October and the plan to head south is coming soon and I hope that I am ready to head south with what will likely be the largest fleet, perhaps ever, for the Salty Dawg Rally to the Caribbean.

Antigua, soon, here we come soon and I hope I’m with them.  If I am, I expect to be warmly welcomed, as I was last November when I was summoned by the Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda and presented with a medal for service to the Yachting Community.   I just stumbled on this link to an article about that event.

I wrote about that experience in this post.  I’ll tell you it was a thrill, for sure.  As for Pandora, all I can do is hope…

Kitchen and bath?  That’s a lot more certain, for the moment anyway.

I hate to have to say this yet again but wish me luck and while you’re at it, consider heading to Antigua with the Salty Dawg Rally.  

I sure hope that when it’s time to head back to Antigua, that I am ready.



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