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Although we hadn’t yet bought our boat we were well aware of the thoroughbred qualities of a Sparkman and Stevens. Geoff, who hails from the Isle of Wight, is a frequent visitor to Antigua and his fine vessel, ‘Siesta’, is one such example of an S+S. In fact one could argue he’s really a resident, though he often crosses the pond on his own.
Liz and I were introduced to Geoff by Dobby, and is based in English Harbour working as a chippie. Originally reigning from Cowes, Isl of Wight, sailing is obviously in Geoff’s blood. He’s single-handedly crossed the pond a couple of times, which when you think about it is pretty remarkable.
Blue Monkey was a tired old Beneteau 46 belonging to the charter company Moorings. It was our duty to deliver the boat to the Moorings base in Marigot Bay, St Lucia, in one piece. It wasn’t until we completed our task and got off Blue Monkey that the steering went, the autohelm was lost and the boat literally fell apart in front of our eyes.
When you’ve spent over three weeks at sea Antigua really is a piece of heaven on earth. We don’t need to tell you what it was like because it’s all that you imagine it to be: warm, idyllic, welcoming and simply stunning. With free-flowing rum and the fact it was approaching Christmas the vibe was fully switched on to ‘party’ mode. Tim, Dobby, Michel and myself rented a shack for a month on top of a hill overlooking Falmouth Harbour and quickly sussed the perfect recipie for rum-punch. Yachts came and went, providing the south of the island with crowds of party people who crammed the local joints like the Mad Mongoose.
Within the space of a couple of hours Michel, Dobby, Tim and myself sorted out some accommodation – a breezeblock house that sits on top of a hill, overlooking Falmouth Harbour. Every evening we sit on our balcony, rum punch in hand, and overlook our lucky find. The crickets strike up a Caribbean drum pattern and we sit there, getting slowly eaten by the mozzies gazing out at the huge super yachts in the marina.
Three hours and forty five minutes before my estimated time of arrival we drop anchor at 6.15am, just in time to watch the sun rise over a beautiful and lush looking island! Cracking open our last bottle of wine we celebrate and congratulate each other on our safe passage which, of course, has been one memorable trip!