Firefly and her crew of three leaves English Harbour sailng NE and straight into 26 knots of NE wind

Log Preparation days 2 & 3 Dates: 23 & 24/05/03 Position now: Green Isl, Antigua Wind: ENE 20-25kn Weather: Sunny Well the combined beard force has excelled itself – all the tasks conquered despite the heat and humidity typical of the Carib at this time of year. Of course the wind has been a perfect SE 15kn for the last three weeks, but now we’re fuelled, provisioned & ready to roll – what does it do? You’ve guessed – it goes around to the NE and blows 25kn! Rather than bash against it and the accompanying 8-10ft swell, we managed to find a few more tasks on board to give us the excuse to hold on in English Harbour another night. Date: 25/05/03. Finally decided it was time to test the water. Despite still blowing ENE 25kn, we set off for Green Island, eight miles or so up the E side of Antigua. Even this short venture along the course we need for Horta required six tacks, and the decks and us were soon awash with some serious Atlantic green stuff. Everything is working OK though, so here we are on the hook, tucked in behind an Aloe Vera covered islet, swimming amongst the Pelicans feeding in the surrounding turqoise waters. We have to start eating the fresh provisions now as the frozen meats have already defrosted, and besides, keeping the fridge going full blast means using more diesel to replace the charge. That said, stripping down and reassembling the batteries, leads and Balmar regulator and replacing the faulty engine wiring loom has done wonders for our charging ability. We now seem to be able to replace some 65Ah used in around 2-2.5hrs or so. Finally, after some serious PC sessions we have cracked the navigation software and have two entirely independent systems running as they should – no thanks to the handbooks mind you, which seem to assume you’re setting it all up in an electronics laboratory and can ‘phone for help the moment you get stuck! Maybe it’s a good job we’ve got the Zeiss sextant on board and a determined Beard Three who plans to do it the more traditional way. Well the ‘chicken parts’ went down well with a departing bottle of red, and none of us seem to have any ill effects yet, so it’s time to get our last night’s unbroken sleep before battling the elements in the vague direction of the Azores – we hope!