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Sunday, March 31, 2013

March 31, 2013-Judy goes to Harmony Hall

Judy Checks out the art.

Near our Green Island anchorage in Antigua, we found Harmony Hall, an art gallery and restaurant. Judy thought we should check it out for lunch.

We had a great lunch, saw some interesting art, and had a nice dingy ride home.

Click here for more photos of Judy's fun day out.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Antigua

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 24, 2013-A Quiet Anchorage

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Greeen Island.

There is little which gives us more comfort than a really quiet anchorage.

In the middle of night, when we are in our snug cabin with soft lights on and softer music playing, whether we are reading a good book or just napping with a half-finished glass of wine close at hand, that is when the peace of a quiet anchorage is perfect.

By quiet I mean still. No waves to rock you, no wind to whistle through the rigging and buffet you; a still place where the boat is as motionless as if it was on dry land.
Oh we have also enjoyed those other bullet-proof little hidey-holes where the wind whistles overhead while we stay safe and protected; content to let the storm rage outside, knowing that we will be untouched, and we have endured nights with both wind and waves, but it is the still places, the ones as still as a graveyard, that give us real peace.
We’ve found some of these spots on Antigua: inside Jolly Harbor, the back of English Harbor, and in most places in Falmouth Harbor.

Falmouth is probably the best. During the day, even if you have anchored up at the head of the bay, close to the mangroves, there may be some wind waves to disturb you, but at night they die off and Falmouth becomes still. You can ask yourself, “Are we still at anchor? Or have we moved into a marina for the night?” You go on deck and you see the motionless anchor lights of the other vessels around you and maybe you hear a dog barking in the distance, but little else.

We love Falmouth.

Now we are in Nonsuch Bay on the east side of Antigua, moored on a bouy at Green Island. It is only six miles from Falmouth and it is another perfect anchorage. Here we are in a small bay protected behind a spit of sand in the island and beyond that the Atlantic swell breaks up on the reef and comes no further. During the day the sun awning shakes and bangs some with wind gusts and small waves may sweep by, but at night it all quiets down.

We love it here as well.

We pass the days lazily, maybe doing a small project or going exploring in the dingy. Yesterday we were ashore and we poked around through the shrubs and agave cactus. Today I got the sewing machine out and we worked on a new canvas seat for a deck chair. Judy went into the water and cleaned the water line. Tomorrow I am meant to go in and do the keel and rudder. Maybe I will.

And she made bread. Since I overhauled the oven it can get up to 425 degrees although a knife must be used to hold the knob in and keep the fire on. I need to fix that. I also helped to knead the dough.

I’ve read three books since we’ve been here.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Our Feathered Friend.

And the little black and red bird from the island which comes into our cabin to search for bread crumbs visited us as soon as Judy took the new loaves out of the oven. We chased him off; I’ll share a cookie with him but the bread is off limits.

This is cruising.

Click here for more shots from Green Island.
Click here for more shots of the little bird.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Antigua

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March 12, 2013-Finding Falmouth

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Superyacht "A" in Falmouth Harbor.

It is unusual weather in Antigua when the north wind blows and the northwest swell rolls in and the normally calm lee side becomes as angry as Neptune can make it short of a hurricane.

Under these conditions we departed Jolly Harbor bound for Falmouth and as we left the inner harbor we found the outer harbor empty except for a few diehards in denial who hung on and rolled to their beam ends while the swells rose up at random over the flats and crashed over the leading marks.

This was no place to be in a north wind and big swell.

The safety lies in blue water and we sheeted in and held our westing ‘till the last of the breakers were behind us before we turned south towards Falmouth. Once we got away from the flats of the west side things got better; it turned into a nice sail.

Outside of the reefs off of Johnson’s Point we picked up the “On Deck” sail training fleet in their way home and we raced with them until they peeled off for Carlisle Bay.

wingssail images-judy jensen
Fred Steers to Falmouth Harbor.

One stayed out heading further east and I worked on him for a couple of miles up the coast. That was the best part of the day’s sail, when I was matching my helming skill and our boat speed against that other, unknown, guy. I had my total concentration on the two boats, on the wind, the waves, and on trying to eke out a few feet whenever I could, until when it was time for us to peel off for Falmouth Harbor, and by that time I had him beaten and it felt good.

With the wind in the north Deep Bay looked inviting and we turned in and dropped the hook in eighteen feet of water the lee of Brake Island. Up to the east the crowd of Falmouth seemed intimidating to us; who needs to anchor with 200 other boats?

Later I sat out in the cockpit drinking red wine and listening to the Who’s Quadrophenia while Judy played one handed scrabble and I watched some late arrivals come in. First a schooner tacked in and dropped anchor under sail the then a tall sloop with four sets of spreader lights dropped their hook right in the entrance.

Tomorrow, if you believe the forecasters, the wind will shift back to the east, and we’ll have to move up into the harbor.

We’ve come a long way in the last few years. Once upon a time we were immersed in China. I read a story today, “Nothing Good Comes from a Dead-Pig Tide” and in some ways I’m glad that China is a long way behind us. I‘m glad we’ve found Falmouth.

Click here for more photos from our trip to Falmouth.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Falmouth Harbor

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Thursday, March 07, 2013

March 7, 2013-Antigua's West Side

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Antigua's West Side.

For most Caribbean islands, and that includes Antigua, the west sides are generally protected during the trade wind seasons.


And we have been gunk holing along Antigua’s west side for the last few weeks, going from one west side bay to the next and enjoying beautiful and peaceful anchorages.


But normally doesn’t mean always.

For example, even during trade wind season, from November to April, unusual weather patterns can set in. The trade winds can shift from NE to SE, or even die off. And even when the trade winds are blowing something like the book says they should, the ocean swells can come rolling in from weird directions.

So, when you are in one of these west side anchorages, which are open to every direction but the east, you pay attention to the weather.

Like today: The trade winds stopped, the swell came in from the NW, and our anchorage in The Cove outside of Jolly Harbor became unpleasant. So we moved inside the harbor and picked up a mooring buoy. Here it is quiet, like a millpond. Yes, we have to pay a daily fee to be on the buoy, and they don’t allow anchoring in here so we have no choice but to pay, but it is worth it.

And it was a good thing too, because we needed a calm place to work on the dingy engine. It packed up yesterday and we had to be towed home. Overheating. There are always boat projects, and for us, lately, there have been very few urgent ones, but the dingy engine is one.

We hitched a ride to town, bought a new impellor, and spent two days going through everything on that Merc to get it to run properly. In the end it did (after we removed a stuck thermostat). Well, I still believe that Mercury is number one, made in the USA, one pull, etc. etc., but after 13 years even a Merc can have problems. At least we got it fixed, we think.

Zen and the art of Mercury repair

wingssail image-judy jensen
Working on the Mercury.

In the first place, I have a sore back so I work slowly. That’s OK. I let the pain sit in the background and work slow, and at night I take my codeine drugs and it all feels better and worth it. Judy helps me work doing what she can and lets me be me. When we work she stands by and hands me tools and holds nuts, and offers suggestions which usually are spot on. We are a team.

But working slowly is really rewarding; without pressure I can think about each problem and do the right thing. And I don’t have to force things. If you look at a problem the right way, and long enough, you often find a good way to fix it. It feels good to solve things and fix things the right way. Also I have a good work space in the workshop on Wings; I can mount the engine on the workbench I have a nice little stool which I bought in Mongkok (Hong Kong) so I can sit down and work on the lower parts, and I have good tools. If the going is slow, that’s OK. What else should I be doing? As long as we are at anchor, and are not going to have to get underway, it doesn’t matter if I have a two day mess in the workshop.

Some problems still get me stumped but we have Internet and a Google search usually results in some good technical advice, and I was able to download a shop manual for $9.95, which has been helpful.

So I am happy to be working on my Mercury Outboard. I had to put it on the dingy twice to try out the water pump and gear shift, but in the end I had them all fixed, and now I can look at some other projects.

Gunk holing and doing boat projects in Antigua.

Click here for more Antigua photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Jolly Harbor, Antigua

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Saturday, March 02, 2013

March 2, 2014-New Shirts

New Shirt Graphics.

We've got new T-Shirts coming for our race crew for Antigua Sailing Week.

Click here for more views.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Antigua

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