07/05/13 – Repairs and Regattas

Somehow I missed posting an update for a while…..so, sorry if this one is a bit long.
After 3 weeks in the BVI, we moored Aztec in a marina and returned home for a couple of weeks, which was refreshing! The unseasonally cold weather was certainly a shock to the system but it was fantastic to have a traditional family Easter at Woodbrook. Due to a communication breakdown, both Amanda and her mother (Beth) had baked, so we had quite a bit of Simnel cake!

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Looking out over our very frozen pond…is this Spring?……….One of the legendary Simnel cakes….low calorie, of course

Back in the BVI, I had picked up a horrible bug, so we spent several days at anchor in ‘quarantine’ but still visited a few more beautiful locations. We really enjoyed our time here and have decided we will return, as there is so much to see and do. The wildlife is amazing but, most of the time, has proven too challenging for me to capture with my limited photograhic skills.

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The first time the spinnaker has been up in the Carib………..Amanda on Sandy Cay after swimming ashore….

CIMG2722CIMG2746Sunset at Cane Garden Bay on Tortola…………………..having lunch on the ‘Willy T’ schooner in The Bight, Norman Island

CIMG2685CIMG2742Pelicans on the beach at Anegada….they don’t want to move……..Finally snapped a turtle, always a great sight….
We could delay our trip back down to Antigua no longer and we set off in what we thought was a reasonable weather ‘window’, with not too much swell or adverse wind. However, the wind was always just too shy to sail and the waves were short enough for a rather uncomfortable crashing motion. So it was an unpleasant overnight trip of 165 miles. Having reached Antigua,the bow thruster failed and the generator wouldn’t run. The watermaker had also being playing up, but fortunately we had brought out parts from theUK and we were ableto fix that in a few hours. The bow thruster was also a fairly easy job but the generator had a part sheared off underneath, so we had to head for the dock and call in an engineer to lift the engine out and make a new part in stainless steel.

The main reason for getting back to Antigua was to see the wonderful sights of the ‘Classics’ regatta. So many stunning boats. I was also fortunate to be have opportunity to sail on ‘Wild Horses’ a 76 foot modern classic (thanks Russell!). To add to the occasion, we won our class….by 12 seconds in the final race.
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With Russell on ‘Wild Horses’ after a race………….’Wild Horses’ moored in Falmouth Harbour Marina….
44871_10152800684325492_1808500389_n-1CIMG2929┬áTrimming the mainsail during the last race…wild crew shirts!…..Amanda at the ‘Classics Tea Party’ at English Harbour
Amanda had been kindly dealing with engineers on board Aztec Dream during this time and took nearly a week to finally complete the generator repairs. It was straight into preparations for Antigua Sailing Week, the final regatta of the season. Jonty was coming out from the UK to sail Sleeper VIII, which we had previously raced in the Caribbean 600. Crew were flying in from the UK and Holland and there was a bit to do to get the boat ready, launched and entered. The day before the regatta we also entered the ‘Round The Island’ race to check the boat out, but we did this very short handed as some crew had yet to arrive. In the end, it all worked out well and we achieved a creditable 5th overall in the RTIrace and 4th in class for Sailing Week, despite suffering a collision on day 2 that removed all our wind instruments from the masthead. Jonty persuaded Amandao sail with us as the ‘Sewer Rat’, an endearing term for the person responsible for dragging the spinnaker below and repacking it before the next leg of the course. She absolutely loved it….had a great time……I think she’s hooked!!
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Onboard ‘Sleeper’ with our scratch crew……………..some close racing at the start of our class…too close on one occasion!

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Amanda gets into swing of the regatta partying………….Tim, Frosty, Jonty, Rood, Russell, Jade, me…and Amanda (camera)

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Post race party on ‘Impulse’ with hosts Russell and Tammy……Amanda and Jonty after the final race……

One days rest, a few goodbyes…..and we’ve left Antigua to head south towards Grenada and Aztec’s winter quarters.
Where does the time go………

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