In the morning, we got up and let go of the mooring, in order to get to Cowes as soon as possible. The wind had picked up, but there was still an est going current.
After an hour or so, the current decreased and the speed picked up. There were a lot of boats out and it was getting tighter as we approached Cowes.
Coming into the harbour, we called the first harbour on the VHF and received instructions where to stay. We planned to stay just a few hours and then take advantage of the good wind in order to sail to Dover overnight (around 10o miles).
The Cowes village was a bit quiet (it was a Sunday afternoon), but the food shop and aboat chandlery was open.
The last hours up to the Needles, we had a good favourable current. The current turned as we came in to the channel to the isle of white and the speed dropped. We did 1.8 knots and the 8 miles to Cowes seemed far… However, Yarmouth is just there and we had been recommended to go there – a quiet place.
When we came into the harbour entrance, there were a lot of boats and a sign “Harbour full!”. Hoever, there were some empty buoys outside. We found one “for max 9m loa”, but since Matilda is just over 9m… we took it. A water taxi took us ashore and we ended up in an Old Gaffers event. Some 160 gaffers were moored in the harbour and there was a big party going on. We walked the treets . looking at the people and had a few beers in the bars… Very nice!
Urban, the captain that sails the boat back to Sweden, was being abandoned by his crew, and I had promised to come down to England to help out if needed. Thus, I boarded a flight to London and took the train to Cornall. A beautiful place!
Urban met me at the train station and we went down to where the boat was moored. She looked a bit worn, with weed growing on the waterline and rust stains on the deck, but otherwise in good shape.
We spent the next day getting organised and drying matresses. It was a beautiful summer day. There was a strong E wind, so there was no sense to try to sail eastwards.
The next day, the E wind was supposed to swing to the S, so we set off. We used the engine, since the wind as weak. However, it turned out that the wind stayed weak all the way, so we ended up using the engine all the way to the Isle of White, some 138 miles and 30 hours.
We had a visitor, who sat onthe outboard for several hours. He/she was marked with GB rings, so we did not risk to bring foreigners to the UK…
A welcome sight:
We were lucky to have a weak wind against the tide, that had started to go out.
I flew from Martinique to Paris on March 19th and then on to Copenhagen. Coming home feels strange, but good at the same time. My family has been longing for this moment and it feels good that they are happy.
At the same time, the trip to the Caribbean feels like a dream – I am not really sure it actually happened…
The first night at home, the floor was rocking when I got out of bed. A strange feeling. I also woke up last night after a strange dream that there is something wrong with the boat. My wife found me sitting up in the bed, mumbling that there is something wrong with the sun roof… I guess it will take a week or two to adapt to life ashore!
In the mean time, I will follow Matilda and the delivery crew on their blog page: http://www.loveforsail.se/
Now that I have a stable Internet connection, I have uploaded pictures to earlier posts – Enjoy!
So we are back in Martinique again after the one week shake down cruise. The crew now know how to set the wind vane, run the engine, light the cooker and many of the other 1000 things you need to know in order to sail a yacht all the way back to Sweden.
We had a good and quick sail. Along the coasts of St Vincent and St Lucia, we must have had a helping current; the speed was very good. Only when we came to the channel between St Lucia and Martinique, we had a opposing current…
Anyway, since the crew will want to provision, we anchored close to the supermarkets.
On the way in to Le Marin, we saw a boat beached on the reef. It must have happened quite recently and there was someone in the cockpit, waiting for help, which hopefully was on its way.
Outside the big horse shoe reef of Tobago Cays, there is a smaller horsehoe reef with a small island – Petit tabac. We passed a catamaran anchored in the bay entrance, and achored on 3 m depth.
The island has a lot of coco nut palm trees and some guys from the UK were trying to get some and to open them on the beach. The beach has soft, rather course white sand and the reef not far away. We did some snorkeling and then raised the anchor to move to Canouan before sunset.
Canouan was a disapointment. The bay is nice and not very crowded. Why was evident when we came into town. Charlestown is a small village with many run down houses. The few nice ones did not compensate, so this is not a place to spend a long time…
Tobago cays are one of the few places in the carribean area that I really wanted to visit. We moved from Mayreau to an anchor position just inside the horse shoe reef:
The water colour is just unbelievable. However, the reef was a disapointment. Most of the reef is dead and brown. There are a few live corall spots and some colorfull fish, but most is a dull brown.
After the first snorkeling event and some refreshments, we went to dive in an area for turtles. Indeed, there was a lot of turtles. Wherever you looked, there was two or three… We also say a manta ray swimming slowly along the bottom.
For the night, we moved to a place behind one of the small, deserted islands:
Tobago cays lie some 25 miles south of Bequia, so there is a 5 hour sail to get there. We got under way just before 12, and had a good sail (some rough seawhen the Atlantic came through the channels though…).
However, when we came close to the cays, the sun was low, so we were hesitant to go in between the corall heads. We decided to go to Mayreau instead. We dropped the anchor in Salt Wistle bay:
The bay is small and has a beautiful beach, lined with palm trees. There are some bungalows behind the trees, but these are not seen from the water.
When my crew had arrived, we spent the first morning to bying supplies for a week and then checking out of Martinique. We tried to stow all the luggage as best we could and, after refuelling, we set sail for Bequia (thus bypassing both St Lucia and St Vincent).
A stop outside the harbour allowed a quick dive into the sea and then we were off. The wind was SE as usual, so the course was on the wind. The speed was not great, but the sea was not very rough, so it was a good sail.
The french Marines came with a low flying helicopter to check us out on the way. After sunset the wind died down so we started the engine and used that for most of the night. It was a beautiful night with warm air and lots of stars. There were also a lot of other boats out, so vigilance and a good look at the radar screen was needed.
The going was good during the night so by daybreak we were approaching Bequia. The crew saw a whale jumping. We took a mooring in the harbour:
Clearing in into St Vincent and the Grenadines was a lot of paperwork and some fees… but then we went to the fruit market and bought a big bag full of different fruit (expensive, but…)