Finally, I made it to Antigua and into English Harbor the morning of December 29, 2016. I stopped blogging for awhile because we had major issues with the boat and the manufacture was giving us a hard time covering the sail drives under warranty. It is a long story that goes over a number of months and we were advised not to discuss. Happily, the boat was restored to working order and many of you have seen me working in the office January through mid-April. I thought it might be fun for Toni to give you her perspective of her first experience with the boat. This is from my wife’s perspective.
I am not a sailor-yet. However, I am in love with a man who loves sailing, so, I go with him- sailing. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my time on the boat. At first I typed, “thoroughly enjoy my time on the boat”, and then thought better about it and took “thoroughly” out. There is the nagging issue of sea sickness. My, oh my, as I literally expel a heavy sigh; only if blogs came with sound effects. My life holds great promise of adventures filled with both people and places to get to know. There are future sunrises and sunsets to inspire and and stories yet to be written. All this lovely hopefulness is cast with worry over being able to handle the seas.
After 30 years of owning and running a small business we sold. It made great business sense to turn our profit (and save on taxes) over into a new business adventure. So we bought a brand new 45-foot catamaran and plan on living our dream before our bodies tell us it has to remain only a dream. Yes, Robert agreed to purchase a catamaran for stability. The new cats are terrific, roomy and steady. We have decided to put the new boat in charter until we can fully finalize our work commitments. So, in the meantime, someone else is enjoying my sunrises, sunsets and people and places. We expect to get to sail our boat a couple of months per year.
My husband, Robert, was part of the three-person crew who sailed her from her birthing port of Les Sables d’Olonne, France. He arrived in France November 5th, 2017 and finally took off from port on Thanksgiving Day, November 28th. After very rough seas, weeks of delays and sail drive issues the crew and boat arrived into English Harbor, Antigua on December 29th, 2017. It was a joyful sight to see my husband at the helm and cry out “Ahoy” as he approached the dock. Our lingering hug was memorable. We gave him two nights of land rest before our family of five jumped aboard for our short acquaintance sail.
Our dream of sharing two weeks with family aboard “Our Time” was cut short by the multiple weather delays. We were so happy to at least have seven days and six nights together to get to know our boat. But that does not qualify me as a sailor nor instill the confidence I need to be a worthy sailing mate. I have three twenty-something young men for children and they are all doers. I have to remind them and myself that mom needs to learn the water maker, the bilge alarm, the navigation system… I have to learn to trust the boat and myself on the boat. I still fret every time we drop anchor questioning, “Will we hold.”
I have had a whole six nights on our boat, “OUR TIME”. The very first night aboard was December 31st. This very first night out represented years of dreams, hopes and anticipation. We were happy, excited and exhausted. Imagine getting your first brand new car. It still smells so good, is clean and you feel so free. You can go anywhere! Until you simply get tired. Whenever we are out on the water we tend to rise and set with the sun. And soon after leaving English Harbor we went a very short way, and tucked into the lovely Carlisle Bay with a hotel on the beach. Truthfully, I cannot even remember what we did that first night. Did we cook a fancy meal? Pop a bottle of wine?
What I do remember in going to bed soon after sundown and worrying if the anchor would hold. Darn that big rock on the downwind side of the bay. I kept dreaming we would drift towards it at night. I even began to imagine what boat against the rock banging would sound like if we did hit. As I dozed off to a restless sleep I got up once to peek out the cabins windows to get my bearings. Were we dragging? Are the hotel lights in the same general direction? And there snored my man oblivious to my cares and concerns. Heck, he just finished a two month crossing in horrible weather, this bay peacefully calm to him. I went back to bed, rolled over numerous time, said my prayers again and knew I would have to learn to relax. I did fall back to sleep. Until I wasn’t asleep any longer.
I was startled awake by that banging noise I dreamed up in my head. Only, I was not dreaming. I literally fell out of bed in a rush yelling out to my sound asleep husband, “Rob, Rob what is it?” I laugh now because I clearly remember that just a bit of light from the hotel or moon reflected off his bare bottom as he stumbled out on deck. Thank God neither one of us broke a leg in our haste. What day did I mention was our first night out? December 31st. Apparently, on the island of Antigua, in this Carlisle Bay, the hotel was shooting off fireworks along with two other celebratory showings north and south of us. At least I can honestly say that I will never forget my first night aboard our new boat.
We were both so shaken up and tired that we barely watched the beautiful show. It was loud. We assessed the potential harm from firework shells launching out over the water in our general direction and simply went back to bed. We just wanted quite. I carried another concern to bed. I was wondering if my brand new boat was going to show scars in the morning light from firework debris. In hindsight this would have been a great photo opportunity for a future blog. That thought never entered my worrisome brain. All I could think about was what would it really sound like to hit that big rock and how would I even know it with all this noise.
Toni, is a trooper and is keeping an open mind, heart and attitude with my dream of sailing. She has never done a long sail that extended also through the whole night and I plan to push, I mean, encourage her to do longer and longer sails as we take a month off this Spring to “test-drive” a new lifestyle. Our next trip we will continue sailing around Antigua and head over to the Island of Barbuda which is about a five hour sail. I hope to bring my ninety-year-old father along for a week. He inspired my love of boating and I with trips to the Bahamas. I look forward to sharing time with him out on the water, again. Stay posted for our next update. And please, if you see Toni, tell her how lucky she is to go sailing, I could use the help.