December 22, 2012-Hectic Day at Union Isl;and
wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Clifton Harbor, Union Island.
It was a wet and squally day on Friday when we sailed up from Grenada to Carriacou but we started early and managed the 32 miles easy enough and got the hook down in Tyrrel Bay in the late afternoon with little mishap except a torn headsail which was a consequence of my own rough handling. After that we were tired and just cooked a meal and settled down in the salon.
Saturday, on the other hand, was a full day.
We were keen to get on to the Grenadines; Union Island was only 10 miles to windward of Tyrrel Bay, and we had a lot ahead of us if we were going to do it that day: repair the sail, inflate the dingy, go to town to check out, back to the boat, stow the dingy, and then a 10 mile beat in a fresh breeze.
It seemed like a lot.
But then Simon came around in his battered little skiff and offered to take me to town and back, which saved the work of inflating and then stowing the dingy and I jumped at that.
By 12:00 I was back on board Wings with our passports stamped and our papers in hand and in an hour I had sewed a new luff tape on the head of the #4 and by 1:30 we were weighing the anchor.
The beat to Union Island, even with a foul tide, was uneventful and we did it in a little over two hours and dropped the jib and tacked through the reefs into Clifton Harbor looking for some shelter in which to drop the main.
There wasn’t any. Besides, as we bore off into the channel the main filled and we were soon doing 6 knots into a blind alley of a harbor filled with anchored and moored boats, to say nothing of several reefs in the middle of it all, which wasn’t what we had in mind when we started this trip.
Judy thought I knew what I was doing but actually it was turning into somewhat of a predicament. I needed a spot to turn around or to head up into and drop the sail and there wasn’t one. The spectators watching from anchored boats must have been wondering how this was going to turn out and I was too.
Then there was a guy in a yellow speed boat, a local boat boy, motoring right alongside yelling at me. I couldn’t hear for sure what he was saying or even pay much attention to him but I figured he was trying to sell me a mooring which is the last thing I needed right then as THERE ARE NO BRAKES ON THIS THING!
The boat boy, along with his yelling, started gesturing at the main, like, “Get that thing down man.”
“I’m trying. We’re a little short handed here, you know?”
Geez, we had our hands full for a few minutes.
And then I spotted a gap in the moored boats to windward and I punched up into it and Judy pulled down the sail, successfully thank God because there was no second chance, but she then had to stand on the sail to keep it from blowing over the side leaving me to deal with either anchoring or getting a line to the boat boy who continued to maintain that the holding here was impossible and we needed to take a mooring.
“Right, give me a break already.”
The next fun event happened as we tried to pick up the mooring. The boat boy was standing in his speedboat holding Wings in his left hand and holding the line from the mooring buoy in his right hand but he couldn’t hand it to me, the breeze was too strong. Besides almost being pulled into two pieces he’s worried about his hat blowing off, and he yelled at Judy, on the helm, “Please missus, bring the boat forward a little, HEY! DON’T PUT IT IN REVERSE!”
“Relax guy” I said, “she knows what she is doing; she just needs to get the prop unfolded.”
Before his arms got pulled out Judy found forward gear and motored far enough ahead for me to get the line out of his hand and aboard and tied to the bollard on the foredeck and he went off to fetch his hat.
Probably there are other days that will be this hectic and other ports in the Caribbean filled with reefs and where the wind blows in unabated but we haven’t seen them yet and we don’t need to.
Are we ready for a drink?
wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Union Island