We set off for our 100nm sail from Bridgetown, Barbados in the afternoon to give us a little daylight before sailing through the night and arriving with plenty of daylight the following day. This was Anna’s first night-sail experience so we were keen to have a fairly relaxed downwind sail. She took it all in her stride without even a hint of seasickness, Woop woop!
We set out with a fully reefed main and gull-winged genoa as we expected a brisk 20 or so knots, all went perfectly to plan and we were in view of the islands as dawn came around. We did end up a little farther north than first planned, due to wanting to maintain our sail plan, which meant the wind pushed us to where it wanted! Although this actually made the transition from deep water to shallower water around the islands easier, and then the sea was flatter on the west side of the various islands.
We stopped at the island of Canouan to check in, get some local currency (now Eastern Caribbean Dollars) and stop at a little beachfront cafe for some lunch. They even had a cute treetop table that we had to try, but aborted halfway through eating when a torrential downpour came through and everyone made a beeline for the cafe interior.
We knew sy_danae and sy.artemis were already a little way south of us on Union Island so naturally we set off again for a few miles more to reach Chatham bay. It was a busy anchorage but luckily there was room for us to squeeze in close to Danae.
We were very glad that the sea bed was sand (the best holding for an anchor) as the bay was incredibly gusty, one minute there would be no wind and Hannah Penn would bounce forward on the anchor chain and then there would be 30+knots. Interestingly when a gust comes and the boat was not already pulling back on the anchor, the bow will get pushed downwind, meaning you’ll turn sideways onto the wind, and then as the chain tightens, the boat gets slow motion whiplash as the bow is pulled back around.
This happened every half an hour or so all day and night, so we definitely set our trusty anchor alarm!
After being happy with how the anchor was holding, we headed to shore with everyone to have a great catch-up on how everyone’s Atlantic crossing went, and how many things got broken! We think Danae did the best in terms of not breaking anything but it catches up with them at a later date, stay tuned for our time in St Lucia for the story!
So during our chatting, we got onto talking about dinghies flipping over, which Artemis had experienced a couple of times now.. with their engine on…
The next morning a couple came by and knocked on our hull, about something, and you’ve guessed it, we forgot to take the engine off the dinghy before we went to bed, a gust had flipped it in the night and we looked out to find a sad looking little propellor sticking out of the water.
Time for the dinghy engine resuscitation procedure!…
I cleaned the seawater out with lots of fresh water and then got to work taking it apart and meticulously cleaning and re-greasing everything to prevent corrosion. For a while, the gear had been fairly stiff and we thought this service would be exactly what it needed. So all back together and working perfectly we set off to pick up Michel from Artemis for a snorkeling session, we got to their boat and changed from forward to neutral, loaded him and gear in, and went to change to forward only to find it was jammed in neutral :|not ideal!
Getting memories of our outboard engine oil change back in the Isles of Scilly.
We all went in his dinghy and afterwards I took the engine apart for the second time that day!… now we have a dinghy engine permanently stuck in forward, so slightly more useful than neutral but still not ideal. Beggers can’t be choosers I suppose!
After a mildly stressful day we were looking forward to a Full moon party on the other side of the island so we sailed (with motor too because we were running late and didn’t want to arrive after dark) to clifton harbor. The mooring field was packed and as the sun had just about set we got ourselves on a bouy instead of worrying about anchoring.
It turned out the party was canceled for some unknown reason so we all went to the Happy Island Reef bar instead and had the place to ourselves, it was a lovely time to talk to other boats we hadn’t seen since before the Atlantic ocean
More island exploring to come as we head to Tobago Cays and lots of others.