Day 23. Stars, showers, speed!

I’m on watch at 0600  and the clouds broke sufficiently for me to get a fix from the stars this morning, much to my relief and the fix looks good on paper.  Within an hour the sky had darkened and the rain had come in – really ridiculously heavy rain, no chance of a sun sight this morning or at noon, so for the final couple of fixes I’m relying on stars at dusk and dawn.

For most of my watch I’d had the hotel shifting at around 8 knots, with 2 reefs and a smallish headsail, it is a nice treat when the squalls come through and the wind blows.  In the biggest downpour we’ve seen yet I get the deckbrush out and give the topsides a wash down, then I have the joyous task of emptying literally gallons of water out of the mainsail stack pack, I basically had to half crouch under it with arms outstretched, put my neck and shoulders under it and stand up to lift the weight of water out of it!  “This could be a Youtube moment” I say to my shipmate, who reaches for his camera.  

Before this unexpected cool shower I was ready to get back into my bed at 0900, but after the soaking I am wide awake, so I set about getting the charts out and looking at an approach plan.  At an averge speed of 7 knots we’ll be there early morning, 6 knots, just after lunch, 5 knots and we’re holding off the coast for the night waiting for daylight.

I get the passage chart for the Caribbean out and note what longitude we will appear on it and then come up with an approach plan for English Harbour, Antigua.    We are now at 17 26’N 59 29’W, the clock will change again in around 30 miles time, soon after we’ll be on off the Atlantic chart and on to the Caribbean chart. I am determined to finish the journey by traditional navigation, as I started it.  I’m also not hugely comfortable with the over reliance on the chartplotter in these parts.  I want to know what I am looking for to use the physical navigation marks on both land and chart.

It doesn’t look like the job at that was promised at yacht show is going to happen, the owner doesn’t seem to have made any arrangements even for a berth at the show.   I’m not sure what will happen in Antigua, but I’ve got a day or two more to not think about the land.

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