Saturday, May 15, 2010

This day was our passage day - a long and rather arduous journey from St. Barths to Antigua. The weather reports that I had gotten from the Capitainerie in St. Barths the day before were, unfortunately, incorrect - the waves had kicked up significantly and the long Atlantic swell had the new winds and wave patterns superimposed upon them, making for a bit confused but rather large seas. The wind was Beaufort 5-6 most of the day and came out of the E or ENE all the time, thus we couldn't hold our direct course to Antigua. I listened to the 9am weather report from the St. Barths coast guard and it was not propitious with heavier weather expected during the course of the day and significant seas of 3 meters with waves of over 5m possible. But as we were already underway and had to be in Antigua in time to ensure that Björn makes his return flight, we opted to continue the passage instead of returning to Colombier for yet another day of fun in the sun and waiting for a good weather window.
The long run of over 80 miles was done at between 7.5 and 8.5 knots (depending upon which end of the wave we were on when looking at the speed log or GPS). After that we had to tack against wind and waves in order to get into the lee of Antigua and work our way upwind into Falmouth harbour; the last miles were particularly difficult as we were tired and started making mistakes during tacks. The last hour was motor sailed into the wind so that we could enter the difficult Falmouth harbour entrance while still halfway fresh.
The entrance was negotiated with ease, the leading lights being distinctive and the chart plotter GPS information was accurate as well. I remarked that we should have a red buoy to our right but I couldn't find it and a minute later a dark and large object moved past at our starboard side with just inches to clear. As the season was almost over, the harbour itself was almost empty and finding a good anchor position was simple.
We had departed Anse Colombier at 8:20am and arrived shortly before midnight - tired but happy to have arrived. One sandwich and a Carib later we both were ready for sleep.

Anse Colombier Anse Colombier
Anse Colombier
Bjoern casting off Bjoern casting off
Bjoern casting off

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