Waiting in port is part of a prudent cruiser’s life but not one we particularly relish. We are naturally impatient, wanting to get out there and sail on to our next destination after a couple of weeks in the same island. Last season we had too many nasty trips and are resisting the urge to leave in a short weather window, which may change and instead are enjoying being in Antigua with friends doing the same. Sadly, Adrian and Clare on ‘Flyin’ Low’ needed to move on and we have no idea if we’ll see them again. They have been great company during the times we have met up during the last 3 years.
For our dominoes afternoon I baked a pecan and coffee sponge, then made a New York cheesecake for dessert when we had Bob and Lin over after their long 3 flight marathon from the UK. Great to see them both again and glad they are staying here for a few days. Howard and Wendy also hosted a dominoes session and showed us around their Beneteau 36CC (Centre Cockpit). Interesting to see the big difference in layout to ours but all the fittings, wood and styling is just the same. We also met Dennis on ‘Tiger Lily II’ who broadcasts an excellent weather net at 0745 on SSB 4420. Apparently when there are more than 3 boats in a bay listening in to his net, the ‘Friends Of Dennis’ club rule is to call a meeting, so we are gathering in the Mad Mongoose later today!
We regularly walk to the Dockyard and saw the training ship ‘The Lord Nelson’ in Nelson’s Dockyard. The Copper and Lumber Hotel is just one of the lovely historic buildings there and hosts the Seafood Friday, which 8 of us attended again. In Falmouth several big yachts have returned after New Year and the Yacht Club is hosting quiz nights and other social events. The sailing centre is very active and we see dinghies with their safety boat out most days. They sometimes come alarmingly close to us but not as close as the kite surfer in Nonsuch Bay, who wrapped his kite around the top of someone’s mast, taking out some of their equipment in the process.
One evening we had the pleasure of drinks on board the largest sailing yacht we have been on at more than 30 feet longer and 6 feet wider than Beyzano. I was especially interested in how the extra space is utilised, as boat designs are a fascination of mine and the modern style is light and airy but with very few curves inside, just straight lines everywhere. Basically all modern sailing boats of any size have a sleeping cabin, heads, galley, sitting area and navigation desk inside. What you get with larger yachts is more accessible engine rooms with filters on show rather than hidden away, so everything is much easier to service. The tools needed for the equipment within the engine room were all hung on the door, so no searching in the toolbox in an emergency. For us, lots of our equipment is under bunks or stored under a host of more frequently used items, so we have to lift up our mattresses to change the watermaker filters, for example.
The owner’s sleeping cabin wasn’t a lot bigger than ours, surprisingly but as they said, you only sleep in them. My favourite extras were a separate bar and an office area, both really lovely additions. They also had a huge TV hidden in the dining table and a seating area opposite with a coffee table. The galley was very modern with lots of storage, good sized cooker, huge freezers and a robot cooker which steps you through a recipe by measuring, chopping and cooking the ingredients which it prompts you to add. The power generation and watermaking capacities were huge and the control panels were very state of the art and well organised. Astern of all this though, was the real working part of the yacht, with 2 crew cabins and the navigation desk. Separate steps from the helming cockpit mean the crew don’t have to intrude on the owner’s living space.
Outside the decks were uncluttered and smooth with teak over some of the hatches, making it all look very sleek. The hull construction is very light and strong with Kevlar and carbon layers with foam insulation between, carbon rigging and huge hydraulic winches. She sped across the Atlantic, often cruising at 15 knots. It was lovely to see such a modern boat, built in conjunction with the owners and giving them exactly what they require for their circumnavigation but I’m afraid I’m too selfish to share my boat too often, so I couldn’t contemplate employing a full time skipper and crew to have on board all the time. I value our freedom too much and the sense of achieving our dream, just the 2 of us. I also think there is a maximum size of yacht 2 aging people can handle and Beyzano isn’t far off that length. A grill and icemaker would be good though!
The prices here are much higher for food, gas, laundry, eating out etc. apart from wine, which is a lot cheaper than Grenada. Filling a gas bottle cost us almost 12 GBP but is 8 in Grenada.
For now we are waiting out the high winds, have our plastic bags (more hygienic than the towels we used to use) in place to catch any rain and will look forward to the weather improving on Wednesday onwards so we can go to St Kitts on Saturday. Our front awning seems to withstand any wind strength if we position it low over the deck and allows us to keep the hatches open when it rains. It soon becomes humid and hot inside the boat if we have to close all the hatches.
Our watermaker decided not to work one morning and is clearly a piece of kit that is temperamental on a lot of boats. We hear people calling up ‘Watermaker Services’ here every day. Fortunately our friend Jeff on ‘Horizons’ knows a lot about boat systems and came over early one morning having been kept awake thinking about our issue. A couple of hours later, after cleaning filters, checking pressure and the inlet pump, we were making water again. We still need to flush some cleaning chemicals through the membrane and he suggested a way to do that without obtaining a special fitting. Salt crystals build up on the filters, so we are now making sure we let the system do a post watermaking flush every time, rather than every other.
Our MPPT controller also decided to let the batteries equalise and had them over 15 volts for too long, so we had to disable that option on the controller before the batteries fried. This is the unit controlling the power the solar panels are putting into our battery bank. All around us are people fixing equipment on their boats, another part of cruising but not one that should take up all your time as that’s just demoralising and expensive.
So with everything working on Beyzano for the moment, we took time out in a rare calm to swim and snorkel on the hull, glad to see there were only a few tiny barnacles on the plastic stern strip and none on the hull itself. Then Rob had nothing better to do than start making his lampshade out of shells, losing his prescription, photo-chromatic glasses overboard in the process and swearing a bit. The boat had been swinging around since they bounced into the water and I would have put money on him never finding them in 5 metres depth with a dark sand seabed. He struggled to get down at first with an almost empty, light air tank but within a few minutes he found them, as there was about a metre of visibility on the bottom. Happy again ☺
The bad news on our annual spending for 2014 has just been added to the Cruising Information Section Under Cruising Costs/Details of Spending.