Leeward Islands, Caribbean Sea/ West Indies   May/ June 2012                     Vessel: Jeaneau, Sun Odysee 439, Cajou Equipment: VHF, Dinghi 5BHP, 4 Cabins (no EPRIB), Solar Panels Provider: Sea & Sail in Guadeloupe (France), Broker: Windward Islands Journey:: 440nm, 16 days Guadeloupe - Antigua - Barbuda - St.Bath - St. Martin - Anguilla - St.Bath- St.Kitts&Nevis - Montserat - Guadeloupe Why again? Great sailing, trade winds, nice swell, great beaches, nice weather - all this one can expect in the West Indies. We wanted to have that experience again and - with a bit more time - we wanted to go as far as Anguilla. Having been not extremely happy with the Sea&Sail provider last year, we heard that they had a new boat (build Jan 2012) for a bargain price to go. We thought that not much could have been bad kept until we went so: we gave it a try. Indeed, the boat was as shiny as one could dream off and (almost) ready to go. A few things were not in place though: Life line from stern to bow 3rd reef not properly set up (and we needed it quite often) Not a proper area briefing (see below) Having said this, this time we had solar panels on board which were capable of keeping the fridge running and decent temperatures as one can dream off without the need of running the engine at all! A real delight that is! The boat is speedy, 8-9 knots was a good speed to go under sails, with a bit of wind. And we had wind, 20-25 knots, 3m waves at times. This gave our journey a pretty sportive touch. But the autopilot worked well, which gave us some rest. At times we had to be very vigilant about the weather as we saw quite a few squalls around which required us to reef quite often (and jump into our rain-gear). Having a good eye on the weather and not shy to reef, the trip was amazing and what is better than an ice cold drink after some salty spray from the day? Having some more time this time we wanted to go as far as Anguilla. St. Bath however was the nicest part of the 3 additional islands we went to this time. Now, we mentioned our intensions to go there while we did the briefing. Unfortunately we were not hold about the terrible holding in the marina of St. Bath. BE WARNED: Anchoring in the marina (anchor out and stern fixed to land) is quite dangerous. The wind comes usually with great velocity through the valley and presses the boat towards portside. We set the anchor twice since at the first position the anchor dragged. we pulled the chain tight, fixed the boat at stern, put 3 fenders out so that in case we would swing against the concrete wall, the boat would be ok. Nobody warned us that the holding is terrible - even not at the marinas’ capetanerie. The anchor did hold for approx. 30 hours and during the afternoon hours it must have slipped a bit and the stern hammered against the wall, fender broke and thus the hull at the edge, 1x12cm approx and thankfully above the waterline. Somebody was called and he took the boat in our absence outside. We were of course thankful about that and he asked for 43€ - this would be his usual fee for saving boats. in other words, this happens often enough to make him a fixed fee. And later we found out, that this was common wisdom that holding is crap there. Thanks, 1400€ of damage. I felt a bit troubled afterwards, taped the boat against water, called the charter company and motored later to their marina in St. Martin. There they fixed the boat so that we were able to go under sail as normal - and our phantastic holidays were no longer disturbed. This things can happen. It will not change our attitude towards sailing since all of the crucial parts (navigation, weather, depth etc) went well. St. Bath is still worth going, its beautiful albeit the anchorage outside is very shaky and often crowded. We didnt shoot too many photographs this time since we have done this last year already. This time we did more videoing - a small part, kind of a “medley” - you can see below. For copyright reasons we had to remove the original sound since we had the music playing loud while sailing. St. Bath
Barbuda This time we brought champagne and dinner to the beach... Guadeloupe under water we brought our diving gear with us and went for 2 dives at Guadeloupe, its not really a must to dive here, but now at least we have an idea about what is going on here ;-)