After the Classics

After the classics, everything quietened down. We drained off the water from the fuel tank with the help of Mike, an engineer friend we’d first met in Carriacou. Mike was after a CD drive to replace the broken one in his computer so I gave him my broken down macbook. It was of no use to me.
The following morning he returned with the macbook back in working order. Apparently it took no more than a bit of meths on a toothbrush to clean up the circuitboard. Great news for me………….. I thanked him and we traded some beer for his repair work. But it left me singularly unimpressed with the computer repair shop in La Palma who had first written it off without trying.
Giles took a room ashore to give himself some independence and be nearer to Chippy’s Fine Woodwork, a workshop he’d managed to gain access to. He’d been busy making a sculling (or is it scullying) oar to keep himself out of mischief. Gerry took a plane over to Monserrat to visit his mother who lives there. Noley and I took Holly Mae around to English Harbour for a change of scenery for her last few days (Noley, that is, not Holly Mae).
After the marina, run by a sullen, overweight American, who refused to give us water, it was a beautiful and peaceful contrast. We anchored off the beach in Freemans Bay, and spent our time swimming, walking and having the odd cold beer.
Then it was back to the anchorage in Falmouth Harbour, from where we went to the airport for Noley’s plane home. We were sad to part, but it had never been part of the plan for Noley to do the crossing and she had a new grandson to meet. I will have to wait another 2 or 3 months to meet Raef, Joe and Immi’s beautiful little man.
Back on the boat I had a week or more to get Holly Mae back into shape for the next big passage. Nothing major, but a few more deck seams to recaulk………….. we were still getting wet below when there was water over the deck. A few rigging jobs………….. the bowsprit bitts to reinforce……………….the self steering to repair and replace (we’d been asked to remove it for the classics for the photographers). Also the AIS antenna cable needed replacing and I had another unsuccessful go at producing a readable weatherfax from the SSB radio.
We also put on diving tanks and scrubbed Holly Mae’s bottom. When I saw how fouled it had become I kicked myself for not doing this job before the racing!
It wasn’t all hard work though……………….. we met up with Dan and Charlotte again, of Hestur, a junk rigged schooner whom we’d first seen in Union Island. And with Eliot and Vicky of Swallow, a Bowman 40. We’d all crossed over at similar times. I’d noticed Hestur in Madeira, but not seen her crew, and we’d been in Sal, Cape Verdes with Swallow. We sat in each others cockpits and compared rum cocktail recipes. And were now all planning to cross back soon and hoping to meet up in the Azores.
A couple of days before leaving a 60ft Polynesian catamaran turned up in the anchorage. Her skipper, Hans, passed by and invited us over to have a look. We went over that evening for a few beers. She was a pretty impressive vessel. Each hull was around 60ft long, (they were different by quite a bit) and 9 or 10ft in beam. This gave quite a bit of accommodation and a massive deck between them all of rough hewn timber most of which, including the rudder was held together by rope and twine bindings to give flexibility. With her crabs claw sail she was a stark contrast to the rest of the boats in Antigua.
5th May We had a gentle sail around the corner back to Jolly Harbour, to pick up our last crew member, stock up for the passage, and check out. Fredrik arrived that evening .

21st May. In Bermuda, leaving for the Azores tomorrow after good trip up from Antigua but a week of little or no wind since arrival. Forecast looking good. Will update blog in Azores