By Cath Hough
St Martin to Antigua, a day sail.
My first sail on Seadragon was fun, exhilarating, exhausting and at times wet! The passage that was planned was from Simpson Bay, St Martin down to Antigua. As a first experience of sailing in the Caribbean, it was going to be hard to beat these sailing conditions! With two reefs in the main, the genoa and staysail we cruised along past St Barts and St Kitts Islands at a comfortable 8/9 knots. The conditions were great with sun, no rain and 25 knots of wind.
As there were three of us on board and it was going to be a day sail we didn’t run a watch system and just enjoyed the time on deck. As a newcomer to the boat, it was great to learn about the way things worked and how the boat handled.
As the day went on and the sun started to come down the wind picked up and the swell increased meaning a sail change was needed. We furled away the genoa (lots of grinding!) and headed up to keep on track.
While I was sat on deck at one point a heard a loud ‘pang’ coming from the end of the boom. We quickly realised it was a reefing line which had twisted whilst putting in the reefs had untangled and realised itself. Nothing big, after tightening up the line again it was all holding without a problem.
As the sun came down the lights ahead on Antigua became brighter and slowly more defined. At this stage it felt as I looked ahead onto the horizon the land wasn’t getting any closer, but slowly the Island came more into sight.
As our destination neared the harbour lights of Falmouth came into view. We unfurled the genoa to gain more speed as we were in the lay of the land, however not so long after that a squall came through meaning dumping the main and furling away the sail again, (more grinding!) We powered on through the rain and wind, at times pretty wet!
After a tack in towards the harbour it was time for sails down and a short motor to our anchorage.
After successfully picking our spot and anchoring it was satisfying to tidy up the boat and relax down below. A successful first passage for me which was very rewarding! I certainly slept well after that!