Crossing to St. Vincent

We took what looked like a pleasant weather window for a beam reach to St. Vincent, intending Chateaubelair as our first stop. As the Pitons fell behind us in a curtain of early morning rain, we were briefly visited by a curious and large dolphin, seemingly popping by to say goodbye.

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The forecast weather once again had a few quirks in it. There were several small squall systems that we could not avoid and on the first one, we got the second reef in as the wind climbed over 33 knots and big swells with breaking waves pushed through. We were sailing on a close reach when we decided to tighten up the genoa. Too bad we left the car a bit too far forward and we had a big gust of wind just as Liz was tightening up using the electric winch. The roller on the car exploded upwards and described a spectacular arc on its way off into the sea. We secured the genoa and let out the staysail in it’s place – redundancy advantage of a cutter rig. When we later ordered a replacement part (US$260 plus delivery etc), we read that the working load of the car was 1500 kilos and the breaking load 3000 kilos. Lesson learned about taking care with the powerful electric winches!

As we entered the lee of St. Vincent, the conditions moderated and a flight of Boobies came to greet us by lazily encircling the boat in between bouts of fishing.

We went in at Chateaubelair and anchored in 12 feet of water which was very close in to the beach. We felt uncomfortable as the wind was swinging about between on and offshore and the buildings ashore looked desperately delapidated and gloomy. We had been warned about the very real security risks on St. Vincent as well as about very aggressive boat vendors. No sooner had we dropped the hook and started to discuss the wisdom of the anchorage than we espied a flotilla of small boats, canoes and paddleboards converging from various directions on us as fast as they could, racing each other to the pickings. That did it. We were the only yacht in and the combination of circumstances made it prudent to up anchor and leave.

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