Jolly Harbour with it’s flat water looked like heaven!
Admittedly, we are beyond blessed to have the opportunity to live on LIB and have these adventures. I know Facebook and blogs tend to make cruising look like an idyllic, lazy lifestyle. And it certainly can be.
But let’s be realistic for just a minute; peal back the rose colored lens and share with you our trip from St. Martin to Antigua.
December is the time for “Christmas winds” in the Caribbean which means the wind is strong! Add to this the fact that Antigua is south east of St. Martin which meant going there would be sailing into the wind because the wind usually comes from the east. We were facing a pretty miserable trip.
So when we saw a slight north predicted in the wind on December 27th, we decided to grab it and hope we could sail fairly close to our rhumb line to Antigua.
The good news is that there actually was a bit of north in the wind. The bad news is that the winds, which were predicted to be around 20 knots, were consistently above 25 knots and usually were around 29 knots. The highest wind speed we saw was 41 knots during one of the several squalls we faced.
Next, combine the delightful winds and squalls with waves that were 8-10 feet until we were an hour from Antigua.
As if this weren’t enough, the passage is about 88 miles which means we sailed overnight.
The final piece de resistance is seasickness. Yep, I prepared by taking Meclizine the night before but I didn’t take it during the trip because I wanted to be awake and able to help. Bad planning on my part. I would have been more help working sleepily than I was because I was too ill to do much more than a one or two hour shift.
So, that is the bad part. There were actually some good things too.
~The moon was beautiful and FULL! This meant visibility was excellent – so I could see those big waves heading toward us. 😉
~The wind had enough north in it that we were able to sail pretty directly to our destination without tacking.
~We were cautious with our sail area. We had double reefed the main and our jib was also shorted. So even though the motion was rough, between our reduced sail area and heading up into the wind to reduce forces, we were safe.
~We arrived pretty quickly – we were along the Antigua shore after about 17 hours.
~We love Jolly Harbour and it is a beautifully calm anchorage!
All in all, the trip to Antigua was not fun for me, though Frank fared much better!
Still, we will be around Antigua for about a month and our next several sails should be with the wind instead of against it.
So, next time you are looking at a blog or FB page and everyone else seems to be having these amazing, beautiful, idyllic, exciting lives…. remember, you are only seeing the rosy bits.
Anyone else care to share a less than perfect sail story?