We love being in Falmouth Harbour, Antiqua.
We are gently swinging on a secure mooring buoy, the wind is reducing, the sky is blue, the sea is turquoise and the sun is warm – we are surrounded by stunning classic and super yachts that make us go “ohhh” and “ahhh”.
These yachts are beautiful things.
Their crew and army’s of specialists – world-class painters and genius varnish wizards, who do such magical work, keep them in pristine condition. Everything on these classic yachts is something to be admired – the rigging, the steel, the wood and the paint – but most of all, the overall visual effect gives you a feeling similar to the feeling you get when you hit the perfect melting point of excellent chocolate on your tongue. You know what I mean.
But, apart from the natural and yachting beauty here, the best thing of all is the great fun we are having with lots of people who we know. It is often what any cruising sailor will tell you is the best bit. The people.
We have to tell you about an amazing party. We got an invitation to Motor Yacht SKAT (we weren’t special, they invited everyone who was on a yacht!) – the invitation said SKAT WARS and it was a Star Wars themed party. We turned up with a ‘May the 4th (4:5) faux Tattoos one on Mark’s T-Shirt and one on my right arm. We brought a bag of drinks and Val and Cliff from AWOL joined us. We were so surprised to find that there was a professional BBQ set up with chefs cooking up delicious burgers – all you can eat – also a dingy had been filled with ice and cans of beer for ‘all you could drink’ and then they served trays and trays of delicious jelly vodka shots – How generous is that! They had invited all the yachts from Falmouth Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard. Amazing! I know the people who own these amazing yachts are wealthy but there is no rule that says they have to be generous. We were moved and the following day delivered a thank you note.
The owner of SKAT is Charles Simonyi a billionaire one of the software designers of the Microsoft OFFICE package Charles Simonyi, Paul Allen and Bill Gates are all Microsoft buddies. We have paid a fortune to Microsoft over the years so it was nice to get a free burger and a beer!
We do find it interesting looking at and finding out who owns what boats. Like Venus the motor yacht we say in Rodney Bay – she was designed by Philip Stark and owned by Steve Jobs – he never saw her finished before he died. His wife now owns Venus and when she was in Rodney Bay she was being charted by Mark Zuckerburg – the guy who created facebook. So the super rich charter from the super rich. We remembered also Octopus – we saw her in Gibraltra and she is owned by Paul Allen who owns Microsoft.
There are some fantastic places to eat, drink and hang out here in Falmouth and Nelson’s Dockyard:
‘Catherine’s’ on Pigeon Beach – stunning food, right on the beach with hammocks and cocktails
‘The Pillars’ – excellent art on the walls and a wonderful relaxed vibe and good food
‘Le Cap Horn’ – fantastic food and fun
‘Abracadabra’ – Southern Italian Food – go early for a peaceful, delicious meal or late for dancing and Djs
We balance eating and drinking out with eating and drinking on Magic – having reviewed that sentence I realise the drinking has no balance!!
Happy hour (s) are a must and we have also been going to the ‘Tots” at 6pm with The Tot Club. This is a unique organisation you can find all about them at their website www.royal-naval-tot-club.com
We are beginning our initiation process. We were first introduced to The Tot Club and their work by Andrew and Susan from Andromeda in Lagos. They emailed the club and nominated us. While we are here Chris and Fiona from S/Y Four Seasons are hosting us. They crossed the Atlantic too and now they are enjoying Falmouth and pondering their next adventures. The initiation to The Tot Club includes a test on British Naval History and also you have to attend seven ‘Tots” within 14 days. – The “Tots” are always at 6pm and are held on 6 out of 7 days a week in various watering holes and even yachts around Falmouth and English Harbour’s, a gathering of members make a loyal toast – sip some water (to cleanse the palate) and down a ‘Tot’, a double, of Pusser’s Rum. They also read out a, ‘today in history’, note from British Naval History. It is a special organisation with members all over the world. We will begin our initiation “Tots” when we return to Falmouth Harbour on the 12th April. We can then manage 7 ‘Tots” in 7 Days.
We are leaving tomorrow for Jolly, but we are returning for the Antiqua Classics race, which starts on the 13th April. We have timed our time here so we can see or even participate in this race.
Tomorrow is Wednesday, 30th March and we are going to Jolly Harbour for 13 days. We have a lot to do there.
We have begun the decommissioning of Magic for the summer. It is a much bigger task than we thought. I was reflecting on how the plans we have had have been in bursts. When we set sail for the Med – that is all we had in our mind. We were thinking of The Bay of Bicuay and Portugal. Then when we got there all we were thinking of was crossing the Atlantic. Then when we got to the Caribbean we felt we had sort of fallen off the end of our plan – because the plan was to cross the Atlantic and we had done that. We hadn’t thought a lot about the Caribbean. Then we enjoyed our Caribbean cruising but once again we were not really thinking about the time when we would put Magic on the Hard for the Hurricane season. We had thought about it enough to ensure we had a place for her booked but we had no idea what the process was. As it turns out, it is another large project and, of course, as with all things on boats – it is going to cost more and take longer than we thought. The storage is just the beginning. Then there is the decommissioning of all the equipment – the water-maker and the generator, the engine, the fridge and the freezer – all the equipment needs to be carefully and professionally decommissioned to ensure it is all in good working order when Magic is put in the water again in December. Then there is the huge task of considering all the ‘stuff’ on board. There is – safety gear, food, clothes, books and fun stuff like a BBQ and Hammocks. Mark and I are working through every locker, under all the seats and beds – cleaning and sorting as we go. We have a system – Charity Shop, Friends, Ship Home, Storage, Bin and Take home with us. We don’t want to waste stuff so, for example, we are giving away our long voyage food to Cliff on AWOL for his trip home across the Atlantic. Food in Antiqua is more expensive and we have to get rid of all of ours. We have – as always – made life more complex for ourselves as we are planning for two scenarios. First, that we are flying back for another season on Magic – our flights are booked for the 27th of December and second that we sell Magic before December and we either don’t return or we just return for a holiday and to finish the sale. We suspect, and rather hope, that we don’t sell Magic and that we have her for another season in the Caribbean. She is a wonderful yacht and everything works and is new. We have only just got everything working. But, we are tired of living aboard, for now. However we both know, that after a few days or weeks at home we will miss Magic, our new friends, the Ocean and the Caribbean. How much we miss it all may make us make new plans. We are stressed out by the uncertainty but we are also addicted to it as it is exciting not to fully know what is next. At least we do now know that we will be moving into our beautiful converted chapel near Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. We had though it was going to be rented out but now it is not and that is good – so we at least are not homeless!! Packing away and giving away all our stuff is emotional. I have had several weepy moments. I am not sure why. Perhaps it is the overwhelm of the amount of work we have to get though. Perhaps it is change. I don’t know why it makes me cry – it just does. I do, as always, keep reminding myself what a first world problem this is! Mark and I constantly remind each other how happy and lucky we are to be living life as we do.
As always – life on board is punctuated by events – some fun and some traumatic. Mark and I had been working on more sorting and Mark was taking a dinghy load to the charity shop. I was cooking up a Spag Bol and Chili to freeze – we don’t want to (aka cant afford to) eat out every night in Jolly Harbour and we don’t want to cook every night. I was also stowing things for tomorrow mornings sail to Jolly Harbour. I had Van Morrison blaring out and was in the zone of cooking and sorting. Then I heard a desperate sounding Mark – “Tina” “Tina” “It’s a rescue” he was shouting. I have learned whilst sailing to just go to a calm place and deal with what ever is happening. I turned off the cooker and ran up the companionway ladder – through the cockpit and to the stern. I saw one dinghy with two crew pulling Mark in our dinghy (still full of our charity shop stuff) He looked a little sheepish. He explained that he had let a rope fall in the water and it had fouled the prop on the outboard. Then he valiantly tried to row, hard against the wind and current in the harbor. However the rowlock broke so he couldn’t row. As he floated past S/Y Ayesha on his way out to sea – they asked, “Do you need any help?” Mark said “yes!” And they launched their Dinghy and went to his rescue. We had met S/Y Ayesha further south on when we had arrived into Mustique – They had radioed to us to tell us where the Harbour Master was. Here they were again helping us. This time more intervention was needed – they had to launch their dinghy and tow Mark in ours to Magic. They were so lovely – saying – “that’s boats for you – there is always something!” That is true and I thought, “Bloody boats!!” – when a simple trip to the charity shop can a life threatening terror. I thought – there it is – that is why we are tired of living like this. Now we have a broken rowlock and Mark has to dive onto the outboard to cut the rope free. I am sure there are people who love to live like this every day but I am pretty sure they are under 50!
Don’t get me wrong – I love the ocean and I love sailing but I love the sailing where we can sail in gentle breezes with dolphins and turtles. I love the fun and the friends. I love the sun and I love the ocean. I even love living in a confined space. But I do not love the constant jeopardy, the breaking of everything, the constant unexpected expense, the hanging upside down in impossible lockers trying to reach impossible seacocks and doing gymnastics to make the beds. I think I either need to win the lottery and have a super yacht with crew or I need to charter so that all the maintenance stuff is someone else’s problem. I don’t like it that you are supposed to be born with the knowledge of how to replace an impellor on a generator.
Line freed from the prop Mark headed off again – now with only one oar I suggested he took the other one as if anything happened again he would at least have it as a paddle. He said no it was fine – it wouldn’t happen again. I reminded him as a joke not to talk to strangers and to keep the line on the dinghy away from the prop. He laughed and headed ashore to unload the stuff for the charity shop and to watch England play the Netherlands. I stayed on board to write this. I was enjoying the quiet and time to write when I heard Mark sounding stressed and calling my name. I ran up on deck and looked over the transom. There was Mark in the dinghy only 3 meters away from Magic but drifting further away fast. It had happened again – the dinghy line had fallen in the water and drifted in the prop. Mark could not row as one oar was attached and one was on Magic. All he would have been able to do was row in a circle. I had no choice – fully dressed I dived in and swam to the dinghy. I was worried about May as she hates to be on Magic alone and she was on deck and could see I was in the water and Mark was in the dinghy. I had to will her not to jump. I swam hard towards the dingy and grabbed the line. I swam and pulled and was soon at our transom door, which was lowered. We were back. I was starting to process in my head that this had happened twice in only a few hours when suddenly I was drifting out to sea with the dingy. Mark had jumped off the dingy onto the transom door and as he did the dingy was pushed away and me with it. I lost it – I was swimming and pulling the dinghy and shouting at Mark – I got back to Magic and unfurled the line from the prop then I secured the dinghy and went to quietly fume. It would be a few hours before I could see the humour in it. We got changed and went a shore for that evenings 6pm Tot.
It was 35 Degrees but things were a little frosty.