Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sailing Southwards on Wandering Star

Motoring down the cost of Guadeloupe
We left Antigua and had a fabulous sail to Deshais at the north end of Guadeloupe stonking along at over 8kts at times. We learnt more about Wandering Star’s capabilities and were pleased with how she handled. It was a gusty day but the seas were not too big.  Even so there was a lot of weight in the Genoa and we found the clam cleats on the furling line almost dangerous to deal with.  With Sim’s bad back I was taking on all the heavy work and several times feared my fingers were going to be lost whist unlocking the cleat and taking the full weight of the sail in my hands. There is no way to take a turn (to take the weight) when using a clam cleat as the line has to be lifted to be unlocked.  We will be putting spinlocks on to replace these in the very near future.  We noticed the difference in Wandering Stars performance compared to Alianna but also in reference to how we sail in company with our friends “Imagine” who are sailing with us now but also a lot in the past.   It would be fair to say we go a good knot faster than before and oh what a difference a knot makes!!  But we are also glad we didn’t go bigger than 44ft in length not just because of the exponential costs of a large boat but also because of sail handling.  I find it almost impossible to lift the mainsail up by hand – something we use to do all the time on Alianna. 

High Street Bourg Des Saintes
We over-nighted in Deshais a charming little French fishing village at the north end of Guadeloupe, the ubiquitous church clock chiming on the hour, every hour.  The next day we carried on down to Isle Des Saintes – a group of small islands to the south of Guadeloupe and somewhere we haven’t stopped for a while.  Everybody loves the Saintes.  They are cute and oh so very French.  The one street town of Terre D’en Haut is lined with chic souvenir shops, ice cream parlours and little French bars and restaurants.  The streets are well maintained and small mopeds dominate the traffic, this is a world away from the rest of the potholed Caribbean.  Sim braved going ashore and somehow managed to hobble to an establishment selling beer and providing wifi.  We plonked ourselves down with Sam and Jon and whiled away an afternoon. We stayed a couple of days anchored around the corner in a spot called Pain A Sucre where a rocky headland looks like a sugared loaf - I suppose.  In the distance we spotted the start of a waterspout coming out of the clouds, a timely appearance with its land based counterpart causing havoc in the USA.  Below the cloud we watched the water swirling around its vortex grateful that we were at a safe distance
Imagine and Wandering Star anchored in Pain A Sucre
Two days later, we sailed the short distance (if you call 4 hours travel in your world short) from the Saintes to Portsmouth at the north end of Dominica.   A tropical wave is passing through bringing squally and unsettled weather.  So we potter on the boat.  One of the things you learn fast about a steel boat is that you must keep it dry from the inside.  This is something we are struggling with.  The shaft seal leaked like the Niagara Falls until Sim tightened it, even so it still leaks whenever we use the engine – drip, drip, drip; when we haul out we will be putting a dripless gland in.  Plus we have found a small leak coming in from the anchor locker.  All this means, that every time we finish sailing we need to flush the bilge out with freshwater and then dry.  So much extra work! As usual the jobs list is endless.  Who ever thinks that life on board is feet up and relaxation is very, very wrong!
Pain A Sucre
Waterfront Bourg De Saintes

The pretty church

and good snorkeling

Portsmouth, Dominica

Grey days in Portsmouth, Dominica

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