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DATE: February 2, 2007
LOCATION: Road Bay, Anguilla

We sailed in to Road Bay, Anguilla on the afternoon of the 28th, a big open harbor easily accessible. Anguilla wasn't really a destination of choice but sometimes in a sailing vessel you go where the wind will allow you. I almost always wait until the wind allows me to make a destination, or at least close on a long tack. I avoid tacking to a destination if at all possible. Its not that Parallax won't go to windward, she goes to wind well for a cat. But as the saying goes gentleman don't sail to windward. I might add, that neither does middle aged sailors. There was really nothing of interest in Road Bay. Road Bay adjoins a long stretch of beach called Sandy Ground. The harbor itself is not particularly pretty and the beach places were very expensive. Road harbor is the only point of clearance in Anguilla and the only place you can anchor without paying for a cruising permit that costs approximately $35.00 U.S. a day. This permit will let you visit the numerous nearby small islands, which reportedly offer some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, and because of the fee, deserted or semi-deserted most of the time. I didn't buy a permit so I don't know. For me meeting people as I travel is the most fun, every deserted beach I come to seems more or less like the deserted beach I came from. My favorite beach so far is White Bay in Jost Vandyke. Certainly among the most beautiful, but the quaint beach places, the collection of all sorts of different people who visit there is what makes White Bay, my favorite. At any rate, I can't comment on the real attraction of Anguilla, the island beaches, as I didn't go there. If that's your cup of tea it may well be worth it. If your visit is just to include Road Harbor and Sandy Ground, as one of my cruising guide/ reference books would say, you might want to give it a miss. That is unless the wind dictates otherwise.

A day and half in Road Bay was enough for me and I set sail for Antigua some one hundred miles to the south. But the wind just wouldn't come north of east and this would have me tacking or worse motoring so I bailed out and made for Marigot in St. Martin. This is a favorite place, and I spent 2 days waiting for the wind I wanted. Finally, the forecast showed a wind shift that would last 12 hours or so, just enough, so we sailed out in the evening planning for an early morning landfall. The wind did cooperate, just barley, and we made the west coast of Antigua early morning just as the wind shifted hard to the east, it took 2 hours to come up under the island and make English Harbor to the east in a 25 knot headwind. That was a thrashing and reminded me why I don't sail to windward. There was no room to anchor in the historic English Harbor so I motored to the adjacent Falmouth Harbor and found a spot. The sail had been exhausting, a very close reach with wind up to 25 in the squalls. I had a single reef set in the main sail but around 3 A.M. the reefing line chafed through and the main went nuts until I could bring it under control. I had no choice but to put the deep reef in as the wind was too much for the full main. Turned out to be ok as the wind built and stayed at 25 with gusts to well over 30, so the deep reef was fine for a close reach in these conditions. After formalities in Antigua I returned to the boat for a nap that lasted 18 hours. Exploration o f Antigua would have to wait a day.

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