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Saturday, May 25, 2013

May 25, 2013-Anchored at Jolly Harbor

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Mountains Around Jolly Harbor.

I go on deck after dinner.

I have a glass of wine in my hand.

It is calm here in an easterly, which we have tonight, in the protected bay off Jolly Harbor. There are hills around this anchorage which wrap us like arms of a protecting father, leaving us open to only the West and Southwest although that is where the trouble would come from if there was trouble. From the weather that is. The storms often come from the SW.

But tonight there is no storm, only some gusty east winds which are blowing clouds rapidly past us and making a low moan in the rig. It is not loud enough to bother me tonight but I hear it; I hear every sigh and moan of that wind, even in my sleep. After 30 years on a boat you do that.

We’d like to be heading south but computer problems keep us here. Dell says we need a new mother board which sounds to me about as trivial as a heart transplant. The motherboard is being shipped. It all makes me worry.

And around us several other boats sit quietly. Late leavers like us, maybe also like us, anxious about the turn of the weather. Hurricane season officially starts in a week or two.

I look at the moon and see the speed of the clouds. I wonder if the gusts will be hard enough to flip up the dingy which hangs on the side of Wings. Then I would have to let it down to the water and to float astern. But now it looks OK.

In the moonlight I see those protecting hills standing like sentinels around us.

I remember other places where the hills surrounded us; Tanjung Ruh, in Malaysia, for one. That was a few years back.

At the head of the bay, behind some trees, there is the loom of some bright lights; maybe a sports stadium in the village in the back.

To the south, on the tallest hill, a string of street lamps snakes up almost to the crest where more lights indicate there are homes up there. I think they might have good views but if they look out their windows tonight, towards the bay where we lie, I doubt that they would know we are here. They wouldn't even see our anchor light.

As I sip my wine standing on the dark on the foredeck of Wings I wonder if we’ll ever get out of here.

Surely we will, but other problems could come up.

Well, we’ll see what they are in good time. For now I tip up my wine glass and go below.


We went to Shirley Heights with some friends to see the sunset and hear some music.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Guitar Player

Click here to see a few more shots from Shirley Heights

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Jolly Harbor, Antigua

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 12, 2013-As English Harbor Empties Out, Wings Remains.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Judy and the Canon.

The sound of large ship’s horns blowing tells us another of the super yachts is departing for the Med; the other yachts still here are giving it a send off. We look to see who is leaving. This time it is Endeavour, last of the J’s in Falmouth Harbor, and we see her mast moving through the anchored yachts towards the ocean. She reaches the mouth of Falmouth Harbor and turns into the wind, her long bow rising and falling with the Atlantic swell. We see the huge mainsail creep slowly upward, waving gently in the breeze. Then Endeavour bears off and gathers way.

And is gone around the point.

Many of the other boats have already left or are leaving; all of our cruiser friends have departed.

It’s getting quiet here.

We, too, are ready to be on our way, yet not ready; there is a sail, a replacement for the number 4 jib, now under construction at North Sails, to be finished, there is a new computer to be delivered, (replacement for the beloved Dell studio which died, out of warranty of course), some rigging bits to be built at Antigua Rigging, mail to be delivered from Seattle, etc, etc.

We pass the time. Today we took a walk to Fort Berkley.

But sail we will, and soon, possibly Monday or Tuesday. By then the boat should be ready.

Bound for where?

When all preparations here in Falmouth Harbor are complete we’ll sail around to Jolly Harbor for final provisioning and to check out of the country. It is an easy shakedown from here to Jolly. We can take a look at the new sail and check out the cruising systems.

Then a short passage to Dominica. We missed it on the way north.

But by early June we should be on our way southwestward, to Bonaire, and after that, Cartegena, Columbia.

These are ocean passages, yet not the long ones we’ve done in the past; 480 miles to Bonaire, another 500 miles or so to Columbia. A few days each.

But we’ll go prepared, and that is why we are still here in English Harbor.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Two Boys on a Slow Day.

Click here for a few more images from English Harbor and Falmouth.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Antigua

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Thursday, May 09, 2013

May 9, 2013-The Season Changes in Antigua

The season is changing; the rain is pounding down, the cruising boats (as well as the super yachts) are leaving and things are finally getting quiet for us after a month of frenetic activity. What with making preparations for Antigua Sailing Week, viewing Antigua Classics, having a visit by sister Jan and her husband Howard, the racing, all the parties, and finally putting everything back the way it was on Wings before all of this started, we have hardly had a moment to take a breath. Now we do. Finally I have time to post a blog or two.

Antigua Sailing Week

Antigua Classics Regatta

Visit by Jan and Howard

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Antigua

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May 8, 2013-Antigua Sailing Week

jason pickering imageWings Flying.

Antigua Sailing Week is over. We had some good sailing, our crew was wonderful, but a couple of disasters occurred which put us last in our class, plus my sister was here and, while ashore, got hurt.

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Marco and Andrew look at Damaged Sails.

Last in class? How did that happen? First of all our sails self-destructed. These kevlar sails, which worked so well for us in Thailand, and have hardly been used since we won King’s Cup with them, started coming apart on seams. We’d be sailing along and, without warning, the sails simply spit apart. The jib broke at the top and the main broke twice, once at the top and once in the lower middle. This is obviously a defect in the sail construction. The seams where they split are glued seams, not sewed. Well, they are sewed now. We did one repair on the boat and on the day off we took them to North Sails and had all the seams sewed with big reinforcement patches. After that they held, but the damage to our race score was already done.

We also tore the #4, our Dacron working jib and that is serious because it means the cloth is getting old. We may need to replace this sail soon.

The other problem is that we were slow. Even when the sails held together we could hardly get out of our own way. I accept responsibility for this. Gambling on the weather I had the boat rated for non-overlapping sails. So, for the whole regatta, we couldn’t use the genoa. But the wind went light and with just the #3 jib we were desperately short on power. This affected our starts and the beats. Downwind we were fast. Of course on the days when the wind blew we were fast enough all the way around the course, but then we had the sail problems.

So we finished the races in the bottom third, and with the retirements, ended up in last place.

Analyzing the results data I found that if we’d have had only 1/3 of a knot of more speed we’d have been very competitive. The genoa would have delivered that so going without it was a major mistake. Of course if the wind had come in as forecast, 13-18 knots, we’d have been fine and would have enjoyed a very low rating. You make the call and take the chances. This time I lost.

It does leave me feeling like I have unfinished business. I’d really like another shot at this regatta but that is probably not in the cards. This time next year we’ll be in Cartagena, Columbia and are not likely to make the trek back here to Antigua. Oh well, maybe there will be other races in other places.

Not to make this report even bleaker, there were personnel injuries. Not among the racing crew, but among the shore crew. My sister Jan and her husband Howard were here for a holiday and to act as shore crew for us. On the night before the regatta Jan fell while dancing at one of the parties and shattered her shoulder. She has been undergoing medical treatment here in Antigua and trying, unsuccessfully, to get earlier flights home to get it looked at by her doctor in California. This was really a disaster for Jan and Howard and basically ruined Sailing Week for them. We are very sympathetic but there was nothing we could do, but being there for her as much as we could, and going through it with her and Howard, brought us closer together.

And Sue, from the yacht Piano, who took over line handling ashore for us, as well as making our lunches every day, fell boarding her dingy and sprained, or broke, her wrist, so she too became one of the walking wounded.

Were there any good parts?

Superb Crew, never got discouraged!.

Yes, by all means. Our crew crew was superb. The whole week they remained positive and performed brilliantly. Whatever I, as captain, asked for, they delivered. And we had fun every day, even the days when we broke down. And there was some great sailing with blue waters, sunny skies, and pleasant, if light, winds (dang!). Though I didn’t get enough of it, I had some real duels with other boats on some occasions, and that was great.

The camaraderie of our group, including Jan and Howard and Sue, was terrific. So our 2013 Antigua Sailing Week crew have joined the Wings’ family and will remain always in our hearts.

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Great Sailing, at times.

All in all, Sailing Week was a mixed success for us; one which, for various reasons I guess, we will all remember.

Click here for more photos from Antigua Sailing Week.

Click here for photos of the whole crew.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Antigua

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May 8, 2013-Antigua Classics Regatta

Fleet of Classic Yachts Set Off.

We grabbed a bunch of friends and went out to watch the classics regatta. It was a wonderful day of good weather and fine sailing. We got a few photos and one of the best things was having Jan and Howard aboard with us.

Click here for more photos of the Antigua Classics Regatta

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Antigua

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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

May 7, 2013-Jan and Howard

Jan & Howard at Antigua Yacht Club.

My sister Jan and her husband Howard came to Antigua to visit and to enjoy the Sailing Week activities with us. They were to be our shore crew. It didn’t happen quite as we planned it. After a week of fun and visits and exploring Antigua together Jan had an accident which changed it all for them and us. She broke her shoulder when she fell (or was knocked over) at one of the Sailing Week parties, and she shattered the arm bone right at the shoulder, and from that point on she was out of action.

Well we, still enjoyed the visit tremendously but we are so sorry for her and Howard both for the sad turn this holiday took for them.

Jan Sails with us at the Classics Regatta.

We are wishing Jan a speedy recovery.

Click here for more photos of Jan and Howard's visit.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Antigua

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