24/02/13 – Life in Antigua

On our return to Antigua we found about 2 inches deep of water sloshing around in the bilges of Aztec Dream. It took several hours to pump and sponge it all out and 2 days of investigation to find the cause and convince ourselves that we weren’t in any danger of sinking! The problem was in the generator water pump, where a rubber impeller had disintegrated, blocked the outlet side, causing back pressure in the pump which in turn pushed the seals out, enabling water to pump straight into the boat. I now know much more about the construction of water pumps than I ever wanted to or thought possible! Fortunately the spares kit onboard and email support from the UK helped enormously. So, finally we were able to take a couple of trips and revisit some of the stunning coast.

The stunning west coast produces unbelievable sea colours……..Amanda’s favourite bay in the southeast..

After last years efforts constructing a rather cumbersome ‘battleship’ for the Tot Club’s entry into the Wobbly Boat Race, we set about the design and build of a more streamlined craft with an alternative power plant. Initially all went well and we even picked up a sponsor….the local Italian restaurant…who supplied us with prosecco and kebabs to keep us going during the 3 hour build. Unfortunately, they were a little disappointed with the prize that we won……’First Boat To Sink’!


The initial build went really well, with pedal powered paddle wheels…..dry dock trials all looked good too….


Ooops, forgot about the power cables on the run to the launch beach…..some very innovative designs….



All ready to launch with high hopes of a swift race……………disaster strikes!!

John Duffy was summarily sacked the same evening as the Tot Club’s Naval Architect. Oh well, it was good fun and raised a lot ofmoney for the Antigua and Barbuda version of the RNLI (ABSAR).

We continue to find interesting new and strange things around Antigua, especially with all the comings and goings. There is a new superyacht this year called Ace but it also has a support vessel that follows it around called Garcon, which carries the helicopter and other toys. Apart from the aviation fuel and diesel, she also 5000 litres of petrol….I hope no-one onboard smokes!



Garcon, with her mother ship Ace in the background…….Amanda finds a new friend….


Fish Stop…..the local Routemaster fish and chip shop…….can anyone identify this fish? It was tasty anyway….

In a moment of madness I had agreed some weeks ago to join Jonty Layfield and a number of ex Brighton Marina Yacht Club crew (flying in specially) on the J39 Sleeper VIII to race in theRORC Caribbean 600. Preparations started several weeks in advance and Jonty did an amazing job optimising the boat. It’s a very young race but entries had risen from 39 last year to54 for 2013 and it’s now considered as tough or worse than the Fastnet. We managed to write off the spinnaker pole on the first leg and there proceeded to be an alarming number of breakages as the race proceeded. The crew of Jonty, Rob, Mark, Joe, Ben, Frosty, Jack,George and Jervise (a local sailmaker) were very competent and managed to make up for the mediocrity of the ‘naviguesser’ (me) to come in first in class. Fantastic result.



The start of the Caribbean 600…see you in 4 days……morale was always high onboard….

CIMG2252IMG_0056Accommodation below¬†was interesting……..Amanda stayed with Vicky, a bit of a contrast!


Sleeper moored next to Aztec Dream after the race….. The crew receiving the trophy for IRC Class 3…….

It’s been a busy few weeks and it’s always tempting to stay in Antigua, as there’s always so much going on. However, we are now moving on to travel further north over the next few weeks……but we will be back in late April. Looking forward to it already……

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