Easterly winds of 15 to 20 knots made for a hard on the nose romp to Jolly Harbor. In squalls we saw wind gusts to 35 knots apparent, and in one of those gear-busters, our tired Genoa gave up the ghost. After 12 years of hard sailing, most of it offshore, the sail shredded on two glued seams causing us to motor-sail under main and staysail for the last couple hours. No drama; no real issues, just the day to day realities of our cruising life.
Once we cleared in to Antigua, we got the boat squared away and removed the damaged sail; this time it was not worth repair, so we gave it away to a lady who would use the material to make bags to sell. Saying goodbye to a stalwart piece of gear, we hoisted a 30 year old Dacron working Jib. Though the sail is 30 years old, it has never been used, so it is like new, but very small for day to day use. You’ll have to stick around to see what’s around the corner in our sail inventory.
We spent the next few weeks cruising Antigua. First we motored over to Five Islands anchorage, then on to Deep Bay, one of our favorites for its calm clear, water.
Then we headed north under reefed main and Jib towards Jumby Bay on the north side of the island. We motor- sailed the last hour head to wind, and just as I was about to turn south through the reefs towards our anchorage, the engine died, kerchunk. It would not restart. Oh Boy, what to do now. A quick look at our options left really only one choice, to sail back off the wind all the way to Jolly Harbor where I knew we could short tack into the anchorage to drop the hook under sail at the rear of the pack. What had taken us 3 hours upwind was a quick 60 minute roaring blast off the wind and back to familiar territory.
The above photos, left to right, are Five Islands, Deep Bay, Passing the Frog, and the North Coast.
After anchoring and letting out lots of chain to be safe, I went to work on the engine. In less than an hour, I discovered the small inlet tube to the primary filter was plugged solid; a first in more than 30 years of sailing. I cleared the blockage, changed all the filters, and restarted the engine. Had I known how simple the solution was, we could have stayed in Jumby Bay; but far better to be safe at anchor in a location where parts were a short dinghy ride away.