Anxious to move on… for croissants…

It’s been three weeks since we arrived in Antigua and I will admit that I am becoming a bit restless to begin heading south. In past years, the “Christmas winds” tend to be a bit lighter toward the second half of January but this year the winds were quite reasonable earlier in the season and not so much recently.

For the last few nights we have had strong squalls where it went from sort of windy to quite windy with heavy rain only to lighten up ten minutes later. The good news is that it washes off the decks. The down side is that we have to jump up to close all the hatches with no warning except drops hitting us in bed.

Nighttime is beautiful in Falmouth with all the yachts brightly lit. I can only imagine with that costs as a KWH is about $.75. I have been told that some of the yachts run up electric bills of thousands a week. I guess if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

The view of the yachts in the marina at night is pretty impressive. For the purposes of scale, note that a mast that is over 100′ tall has to have a red light. Lots of red lights…

The one with three masts on the right is the Maltese Falcon, that I wrote about recently.

She left the harbor a few days ago. It was impressive to see her unfurl her sails. Amazingly, a few hours later she was back in the marina. Imagine taking a 300′ sailboat out for a day sail? “Ok, let’s head back to the dock. Enough of that for today. I don’t like the whole wavy thing at all.”

Every day I look at the GRIBS (computer generated wind models) along with Chris Parker’s forecast with the hope that lighter winds are on the horizon. It is possible that we can head south to Guadeloupe on Monday but that is a very narrow one day window and the winds will quickly become strong again. The good news is that we may be entering a period of lighter winds in about a week but that’s a long way off so I guess we will just have to see how that goes.

With that in mind, we headed to Jolly Harbor today, a short 15 mile downwind run. There is a nice grocery in Jolly as well as a place to check out with customs. Tonight we will have dinner with our old friends Bill and Maureen on Kalunamoo. You may recall that they were our mentors on the very first trip south in 2012. We are all a bit older now and somewhat worse for wear.

Here’s the view from Pandora when we arrived in Jolly. A beautiful day with lovely clouds.

Hopefully Monday will not be too windy but the waves are expected to be between 7-10′ on the beam. Windy yes, and a contrast to the view of our home in CT, here with a dusting of snow. Thanks to Mike and Heidi for sending this shot and for keeping an eye on our home this winter.

Yesterday was laundry day and with the strong winds everything dried PDQ with the first load ready to fold and put away as the second one came out of the washer.

I have tried to do what I can to help Brenda feel productive aboard Pandora this winter. It is no secret that she misses “her people” when she is here in the tropics. To ease all that, this winter she is doing a bit of teaching for some of her more advanced tapestry students. Here she is during her first two hour session. We have things set up with a second camera so that she can demonstrate techniques as well as share photos from her computer along with commentary. It seems to be working very well and she’s enjoying the time .

Fortunately, many of her groups are using zoom, even when they are being held in person. This is good as many members can’t get to live events as easily for various reasons like age, weather or, in Brenda’s case, thousands of miles of ocean between her and the meeting. Perhaps not as good as “being there” but she is smiling as I write this, participating in a bobbin lace meeting.

Yesterday I had a meeting at one of the big marinas and took advantage of the moment to take some photos of some awesome sailboats visiting to participate in the upcoming Caribbean 600 race, one of the top ocean races in the world.

These three trimarans seem to be of identical design.

One of them is Argo. At 70′ she is a beast, capable of upwards of 40kts. She’s a handful and I can only imagine what sailing one of these boats must be like. Read this first hand account of what the experience is from Sailing World.

Better yet, watch this short video of her under sail. Hard to imagine sailing one. Perhaps easier to imagine crashing or flipping one if you don’t know what you are doing.

The cockpit on Argo is all business. And, they are tiller steered with three rudders.

The rudders and foils look like they would snap under the massive loads. I guess that they do on occasion.

Imagine the loads on the dagger boards that require blocks to move them up and down.

What is on the “water end” looks impossibly fragile.

One thing for sure is that this sort of boat needs someone with deep pockets.

And, speaking of deep pockets. I would love to get aboard Nahlin, owned by Dyson of the vacuum family.

And, of course, Nord, fresh from the builder’s shed. I have written about this boat recently but it’s worth noting that in past years, the owner’s last boat, Scat, held an end-of-season cookout on the dock for all comers. The day I took this photo, the office staff of the marina had been invited aboard for lunch. I suspect that most owners aren’t quite as open.

And, for bespoke yachts, bespoke tenders. And, usually more than one. Not a bad ride.

And speaking of “rides”, how about rowing across the Atlantic in an open boat? The first arrivals of boats in the Talisker’s Whisky Challenge have begun arriving in English Harbor. You can see where all the boat are on that page too. They come in with great fanfare.

Seeing them step on shore for the first time in over a month of rowing is quite a sight.

A lot of hugging.

And tears…

Family comes from all over to welcome them. It’s quite a moment.

It’s been nice to be here in Antigua for the last few weeks but I am anxious to move on. Off to Guadeloupe on Monday, I hope.

Love those French islands! Croissants, baguettes and oh yeah, wine in our future.

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