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The calm and protected anchorage that I'd enjoyed for the past couple of days had lured me into a false sense of security regarding the weather and waves “out there”. I had removed the fuel tank from the dinghy but had left the engine on and was using a 30 foot line for towing. Once outside in the full waves I realized that my dinghy was in danger of being swamped and it was too late to do much about it. The long line that I use for towing was stowed away, so I couldn't put the dinghy further away from the boat. At first I was sailing with reefs in the genoa, but I took those out so that I could increase my speed with the following seas trying to have my dinghy coast down the face of the waves. Later I had to run almost straight downwind so I fired up the engine to give me that bit of additional speed to prevent swamping. It was only 7NM but it was unpleasant and I was happy to make into the relatively protected Falmouth Harbour anchorage.
I anchored at 09:20 and had to be at the Antigua Yacht Club at 10:00 so the timing, at least, was good. I met Kathy and Hans and we decided that I'd pick up the two committee boat catamarans myself and that Hans would drive me there (this year's catamarans are from Dream Yacht Charters, and their base is on the far side of English Harbour) and then meet me at the AYC dock to help dock the boat - to be repeated for both boats. The first boat is a Catana 42, which is quite a big catamaran and it has two steering stations (neither under a bimini so both are exposed to the wind and sun). We got a simplified systems walkthrough as we weren't planning on doing any sailing; and soon Hans had cast me off and I was motoring out of English Harbour and heading to Falmouth Harbour. During the trip I got the fenders put on the starboard side and moved the bow and stern lines (I didn't see any more lines, so couldn't do a spring line) and Hans met me at the dock. There was just a bit of crosswind but the two of us managed to dock the catamaran and get some lines attached to the dock without breaking or scratching anything.
The second catamaran is a Catana 47 which doesn't sound much bigger but the difference in size is substantial. The systems aboard were similar so we didn't require a briefing and soon Hans had cast me off and I was repeating my earlier trip from English Harbour to the dock at AYC in Falmouth Harbour. The windage on the cats is really big, so much that a 10 knot side wind overpowered the steering mechanism at slow speed and I had to juggle the engines to keep course at slow speed. Docking the second cat was a bit more work, since the space available was limited and with just Hans and myself to get this catamaran attached to the other I didn't have much margin for error; but with Hans giving hand signals we soon had the second one safely docked as well.
After the deliveries I went back aboard and used the washdown hose to clean the salt from the portholes and railings in the hope that it would impede Mr. Rust's attached for a while and at least the windows are now squeaky clean. The pre-race volunteer party was scheduled for 18:00 and I showered, shaved and otherwise tried to make myself presentable before heading ashore. I met a lot of old acquaintances at the party along with a number of fresh faces and I was pleased to hear that attendance for the 50th Antigua Sailing Week event was up 50% from the previous year - that means we are going to be very busy indeed at the start and finish lines.