26 December 1993 Atlantic Crossing (Day 20)
What a terrible night. Squall after squall with 30 knots of wind and lashing rain. A big squall went through at about ten o’clock this morning - fortunately for me it was John’s watch. He sat at the wheel getting absolutely soaked while the rest of us cowered below. I opened the hatch enough to shove up our waterproof camera to take a “blind” photograph of him and got soaked in the 15 seconds it took!
I caught up on the astro navigation plotting this morning. We’ve got 125 miles to go and we are trying to time it so that we make land fall at dawn (1000 GMT). At midday we had clear skies and about 15 knots of wind, the squalls have totally disappeared - it’s hard to believe that it was so awful last night. We have been trying to go at 4 knots all day, so that we don’t arrive too early. We have had a scrap of jib up and we are still doing five knots - it’s driving me mad!
We are all a bit grumpy today - we are all sick of the swell and the squalls and just want to get there. Another squall hit us at six o’clock, just as Glenys was going to serve dinner. We closed all the hatches and went below and watched through the back windows. The rain is so heavy that it flattens the swell and makes the air above the sea look grey.
Glenys’ Diary. God, what an awful night, the wind howled and the rain lashed down. I thought the Caribbean was supposed to have good steady weather, but it has gradually deteriorated over the last few days. I got up about seven this morning in disgust at the appalling rolling, to a sky that was covered in cloud. It has been squally all day, with about 20 minutes peace before the next deluge hits. We are all sick of it and can’t wait to get into harbour. Neville and I are both snapping at anything that moves. John is as implacable as ever – thank goodness he’s with us or a few murders may have been committed otherwise. I have no motivation to cook dinner so a few tins of chilli with rice will have to do, and so help me if anybody wants anything different.
27 December 1993 Gomera to Grenada (Day 21)
It was another windy, squally night. We took the poles down and ran with a scrap of jib to go at an average of 4 knots. I got up at two o’clock in the morning and spent three hours tacking downwind to go about 10 miles towards Grenada. Our timing was perfect and we made our waypoint 2 miles offshore at about eight o’clock. We then put the clocks back two hours and arrived at Prickly Bay at 0815 which is 1215 GMT. Our passage was 2841 miles in exactly 20 days which is an average of 142 miles per day which equals 5.92 knots average.
I cleared into Customs and had to pay £5 because it is a holiday. The outboard wouldn’t start even after I stripped the carburettor down. A job for tomorrow! We rowed ashore after lunch, rang home, and went to the beach. We went to the hotel bar and had Pina Coladas and rum cocktails before retiring to the boat for a dinner of Fray Bentos pie, mashed potatoes and peas. Brett and Craig (and the rest of us!) liked seeing coconuts in the trees on the beach. We met Angela and Hugh from “Spring Gold 2” from the UK.
Glenys’ Diary. God, what an awful night – am I repeating myself? Well, so is the weather, with squalls coming through every 20 minutes causing gust up to 35 knots. The hatches are closed and opened endlessly – if left closed, everybody suffocates down below. We have had to slow down so that we don’t get too close to land before daylight, yet the wind continues to defy us and bowl us along at 5-6 knots even with a scrap of jib up.
We have now arrived in Prickly Bay, exactly 20 days after leaving Gomera. It feels great to be still, and not have to hold onto things to stop them sliding around. Neville has checked in with Customs, John’s rung his wife, we’ve all had a swim and eaten some lunch out of the store cupboard. We are now winding down, the kids are playing quietly, yet Neville is having to work on the outboard, as we can’t easily go to the beach until he gets it going – life is hard sometimes!
28 December 1993 Prickly Bay, Grenada
Wonderful night‘s sleep. I dived over the side of the boat before breakfast - Great! Glenys went to Grand Anse supermarket with Angela. John went to the airport to book a flight back to the UK with no success. We had lunch and then John and I went into St George’s while Glenys took the boys to the beach. John managed to book a flight back for tomorrow. He couldn’t get one a bit later - only over a week later and he thought Diana would kill him!
We got back to the beach to find Glenys and the boys having a shower in Angela’s daughter’s chalet! We went to the marina bar for a meal in the evening - £15 a head, gasp!
29 December 1993 Prickly Bay, Grenada
John and I went for a quick walk in the morning. We then went alongside the marina quay for fuel and water. We had lunch and then John caught a taxi to the airport. We went and re-anchored, then gratefully plunged into the water - it was 98° inside the boat.
I rowed ashore (still haven’t got the outboard working) and picked up the laundry. We now have food, fuel, water and clean clothes. We spent the rest of the afternoon, tidying up and generally relaxing. It was good to have John here, but even better to be by ourselves.
30 December 1993 Prickly Bay, Grenada
I went over to “Dollie Madison” (Canada) where Myrtle and Malcolm kindly lent me their SSB radio. I talked to Gareth, who will be arriving in Prickly Bay on the evening of the 1st January. We decided to go round to Hog Island for a couple of days and met Dave and Sandra from a UK boat who are organising a New Year’s Eve party. We met Tony, Dee and Marina from “Marina Em” (Guernsey) on the beach.
31 December 1993 Prickly Bay to Hog Island
Glenys went to a farm for vegetables. Dave and Sandra went into St George’s and brought us some chicken legs for tonight’s barbecue. I went for a dive with Tony while Glenys, Dee and the children went to the beach. Brett picked up a coconut from the beach yesterday, so I opened it with a hammer and screwdriver - it tasted very nice too! The barbecue on the beach was a fun way to see in the New Year - we celebrated German New Year at seven o’clock and the UK New Year at eight o’clock which is midnight GMT.
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