Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Across the Caribbean Sea

 "Wind northeast, runway 03, up to here the engines howl." If I remember correctly, these are the lyrics of a song by Reinhard May. With us no engines howl, only the northeast howls violently. 35 knots and once again too late with reefing. Well, why easy, when you can have it difficult. At night at two o'clock, who wants to reef. At some point it is no longer possible and I put on the life jacket. Forward to the mast and reduce the sail area.

Sailing on the Katinka

Three days ago we started on St. Kitts & Nevis, in Basseterre. In the Caribbean begins on 01.June., officially the hurricane season. Therefore we sail to the south, because here the danger is not very big. Basseterre is approached by cruise ships and you have to walk a long way to avoid the influence of this industry. Nevertheless, we also discover a few beautiful places in Basseterre, a city that can not quite discard its colonial flair, even today. We run the city only because you can clear out here.

Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis

The anchorage is rolling and the funnels of the cruise ship lying at the pier, blow their exhaust fumes to us over. We drive with the dinghy into the harbor and are received by the Port Authority. After it is clear that we want to clear out, the stress factor of the young man goes down significantly and he accompanies us to the Customs. The lady is very friendly and hands us a paper with which we should sign out at the immigration. Immigration is located at the cruise terminal, which we finally find after a friendly passerby shows us the direction. The lady from Immigration is also very friendly, but does not agree with the paper from Customs. So we go back again. No one understood exactly where the problem was, but after the two ladies exchanged phone calls, I get the right form and the second visit to Immigration was just a formality. We make a small city tour, buy some fruit and vegetables and find a nice snack bar where we have lunch. Back on board everything is stowed and lashed for departure. Especially dinghy and outboard are well stowed.

St. Kitts & Nevis

The next morning we set the main and bring up the anchor. With a moderate ten knot wind from the southeast we sail directly from the anchorage. Once out of the bay, we set the genoa. At first we make good progress, with five knots of speed over ground. But quickly the wind falls asleep and we bob along at two to three knots. The sea is relatively flat, the air oppressive at almost 30°C. The sails start to flap because the wind pressure is missing. The first leg is calculated by the computer with 102 nm and an average speed of 4.2 knots. Until the early morning hours of the next day, we don't make much progress. But then the tide turns, wind and wave become stronger and stronger. Due to the lousy night the day´s run of the following day was also only a moderate 115nm and an average speed of 4.8 knots, but by the end of the day we had a speed of seven to eight knots. On the following days we reached distances of 148 nm and 165 nm. Since the wind did not come from the northeast, as announced, but from the southeast, we again had the unpleasant wave across, which also built up at times to over three meters. At two o'clock in the morning we were then about ten miles off Aruba. The wind had freshened to 18 knots and comes in the gust to 25 knots. I'm tired and the high wave doesn't make it any easier. I'm annoyed with myself for not having set the reef the night before. 

When the field of view is restricted

The individual steps of the reefing process in my head, the hand movements are difficult for me. Who actually had the idea to sail around the world? Eventually, after what feels like an eternity, the reef is in place, but we are still clearly too fast. With partly 11 knots we shoot towards the cape Punta Basora, whose beacon Colorado Point, we see already quite a while. The waves have increased once again and shake us vigorously again and again. With a distance of half a mile we round the cape. In these conditions, despite darkness, no meter is given away. At the height of Rodger`s Beach it becomes much calmer. The anemometer still shows 20 knots, but the wave has decreased considerably and is now coming from astern, which makes the whole thing pleasant to the maximum. The last challenge is to hit the reef entrance, which brings us to an anchorage area that is directly in front of the customs. But even that we still manage and so we lie down first to clear in a few hours later in Aruba. 

Surf Side Beach, Aruba

After three days and 20 hours we made the 527nm from St. Kitts & Nevis to Aruba. In the next week I will tell you about our first days in Aruba. Until then, as always, fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.