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Altair's Cruz Nuz
cruising, vb, kroozing, working on your boat in exotic locations around the Caribbean....Dudley and Becca
Rubbing Shoulder's with The Maltese Falcon
Becca Butler
02/21/2009, Still in Falmouth Harbor, Antigua

Maltese Falcon, Fundraiser at AYC 2/20/09

We, my friends Lorry and Stephen on S/V Droukit Cronie (Gaelic for soaking wet friend) and me, managed to gather a small group of cruisers to join in on the fundraiser bash last night at the Antigua Yacht Club. "Bring Back the Love" by The Maltese Falcon. The Falcon was the host with the mostest and they organized a thrilling evening full of cruisers, kids, yacht club members and, we heard, some WHO's WHO in the sailing world!

We sure didn't know the movers and shakers or famous sailors that were there, but WE were guests, so there. The evening included a raffle, a band, an auction, a BBQ, a bar, of course, and tons of positive energy as exhibited by the generous turnout. A bit of mystery was added to the evening when we found out the guest list for the Maltese Falcon was closed according to the Falcon's website. We wouldn't know them anyway! The winds have been howling for days giving us a delightfully cool night, the sunset was gorgeous and we couldn't have asked for anything more unless it was a boatload full of money for the cause.

So what do you think small cruisers like us went for, eh? The Paaarrrrty! (There are so many Canadians in the crusing community that I'm going to have stop with the "eh" thing soon. So far there's French, Spanish and now Canadian to learn... I've got my work cut out for me, I think.) There was good music, food was simple yet plentiful and the vast group of volunteers made the evening spectacular. Who doesn't like to participate in a function like this when the major reward is giving back. I don't know who the auctioneer was but she was really good! She was quick, fun and thoroughly entertaining. With her stage presence and ability to rev up the crowd, the participation and buying power of the guests during the auction, the raffle and the food and drink sales, I'm very optomistic the proceeds were plentiful! We all want to thank The Maltese Falcon for organizing and hosting such a wonderful event. Thanks to the AYC for providing the venue, staff and for their support. We had a blast AND we were able to give back to the wonderful people on this island! Actually, I've been waiting for news of the actual success of the monies raised last night from the yacht club and the names of kids who received these gifts. No word yet. I sure will post it when I find out.

Know about the Maltese Falcon? This blog entry depicts a picture of yet another boat that is not ours! Why you say? It's just mind boggling that there is that much money out there for mega yachts like this. She's a special one though. This sailboat is a clipper sailing luxury yacht owned by an American, Tom Perkins, and is the largest privately-owned sailing yacht in he world at 289 feet. This quote is dated last year, so may not be acurate today. The sailboat
has a permanent crew of 18 to maintain the technical aspects including the rig, and to operate the onboard "hotel" which can accommodate twelve guests plus four guest staff. The boat also
includes an onboard gourmet chef and stewards and stewardesses. Think I'll just reserve a suite for Dudley and I. Ok, probably not that nor even a spot on the sole in the engine room . It's really worth looking her up unless you're already familiar. If you love the lines of a classic yacht of yester year, this will probably not be pleasing to your taste or mine! But you just have to appreciate the technology, not to mention the design achievement. She is enough to make you drop your jaw! I made the mistake the first time I saw her come into the harbor here at Falmouth of calling DC on radio and declaring that it was "ugly"...even though I can appreciate it's magnitude". Oooops, You're never supposed to 'dis' another person's boat on the air, not PROPER, ever?

I'll sign off by sharing that we met another couple during the evening who was also on a boat called the Maltese Falcon, not (THE) mind ya. Well, I had to jump in and declare that our 34' Tartan was the baby Altair, speaking of another mega yacht that stole OUR name too. We got a good laugh at being the 'who's who' in our little group last night.

Dudley and I like here, alot!
Becca Butler soon to be Clark
02/20/2009, Antigua, Caribbean West Indies

We Altair's like to hobnob...doncha know...hehe

When we tell just about everyone we meet that we've taken a year to get here from Miami, they guffaw at the silly news! When we arrived here at English Harbor, that gorgeous blustery day early in December, 2008, there were boats pulling in Nelson's dockyard after the Nelson Pursuit Race renowned on this island for decades. The yachts were breathtaking! We had just sailed in from St. Barts the day before and were sitting at the dock licking our wounds. A gorgeous 60' Oyster, "Savage", pulled in behind us at the dock and just arrived from from the Canary Islands, all six crew! When they asked us where our trip originated they all but giggled and retored with "It took us 16 days", exclaimed the owner, "with some of them seasick, all exhausted, yet they were all exhilarated still "! Too right then. We were truly, thoroughly impressed. The elegance, beauty and stealth streaming by us that day was absolutely remarkable.

Back in St. Thomas (way back in June, 08) we learned of another Altair, this one a mega yacht and she's a l33' wooden, gaff,
rigged, 1931 William Fife & Sons, schooner. Simply gorgeous. See for yourself. The crews were calling to us reminding us of that mega yacht and they were addressing us as the "teeny Altair, itty bitty, Altair", you get the idea! Boat after boat passing us by, pumped with the excitement of their race, cheering another "Baby (not inflamatory in any way mind ya) Altair". They were describing our sloop as small, which it is! Bloody Well Right . We're in British territory, so I'm getting with program. Of course it was all in good humor and we were quite puffed up being all tied in close to the rich and famous! You can look up events like the Oyster Regatta, Stanford Antigua Sailing Week or the Superyacht Cup, just to name a few. To get a peak at the history and staggering wealth of Antigua Yachting look at the AYC Classic Regatta. Sailing is synonomous with Antigua, and various racing events have been annual traditions for over 40 years. The most recent addition to the racing calendar is the distinguished annual Caribben 600 that takes place in February out of English Harbor. This is a joint venture between the Royal Ocean Racing Club, (ROYC), and the Antigua Yacht Club. It's coming up in a couple of days actually and it would sure be cool to be on one of those boats! Check out the Antigua Yacht Club website to see the entire year of racing and just for the record ladies among you, AYC's commodore is a woman, Hip Hip, Bloody Righto, and all that. Jolly goodo! I'm really not on any committe promoting these races or regattas, you just can't bloody help getting caught up in all this Yachtdum, hehe!

We just happen to be very fond of our 'whittle Altair! Just for the
record, she's a beatiful, Tartan design, 34' sloop rig and sails like a
witch, when we have wind, of course.

Now that you're caught up with the "where" we are part, let's get caught up with our adventure on our humble cruiser. Soon come...I'm possessed now.

New Year's Eve with Jane and Andy on Drimia
Becca, First Mate, Only Mate
12/31/2008, Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua

We're still in Antigua and making the best of it! It's New Year's Eve and we are ready to whoop it up on the lawn at Nelson's Dockyard! They sure know how to pull off some good parties here on the island!

We were lucky to have Jane and Andy, our friends on Drimia, join us for a whopping good time! These are wonderful, crazy brits heading for Austrailia! The BBQ, the music, dancing and fireworks were a hoot!

Happy New Year to ALL!!! We love you, Dudley and Bec

Christmas in Anteega...
12/25/2008, Nelson's Dockyard's Christmas Party!!!!

Ho Ho Ho and A Jolly Great Christmas to Everyone!

Had no idea we'd still be in Antigua for Christmas! How crazy is this! Being away from home for the holidays, from our warm, caring, wonderful family and all of our delightful friends! "It's a Wonderful Life", "Miracle on 34th Street", Nat King Cole, turkey and stuffing and the carols. Miseltow, candy canes, presents under the tree! Absolutely NOT this year! We miss you family! We are so blessed to be loved both near and far!

Merry Christmas AND a joyous, jovial and a jolly holiday everyone!

On Christmas Eve, we chickened out of our trek to the Christmas Midnight Mass at the Anglican Church up the hill from Catamaran Marina! Wind was howling and would've been crusty and soaked from the dingy ride for the service! We all decided to have Christmas dinner a day early and DC would cook a bird cause they have the oven! Oh well, OK! If we must! We prayed and gave thanks over that juicy and so delectable bird for this special day and every day! Lorry and Stephen prepared a feast for kings and queens at least, thank you soooooooo!

The Party at Nelson's on the 25th was awesome! We got a plentiful peak at the personalities that come out for this and any celebration here on the lawn at the Nelson Dockyard Marina! It kept us hopping all day! We ate, drank, danced and people watched, it was a hoot!

We had a blast! We miss you soooooooooooooo!

Fabulous 24 Hour Sail from St. Barts...
12/06/2008, Ordinance Bay, English Harbor, Antigua

When we left St. Barts, we were so exhilarated! Everything, the wind, the fluffy angelic clouds, the fireworks sent off in our honor last night... NOT...just kidding, WAS PERFECT. It looks like we are going to do some sailing! You can never have too much of that! Excellent!!!!

How long, we don't know, but seas are looking mild with 4-6 footers on a beam and the wind was reaching us to our first waypoint, 100 nm away! It's a spot on the west coast of Antuiga called 5 Islands... a bit too high to start with, just a constant reminder as always to stay high on the mark til ya get there! If you can!

What a gorgeous sunset, a phenominal sail, all night long! About l0-15 superb hours of sailing. Well there you have it...that's it...Finito!!! Kaput!!!! No Mas!!! If it could go wrong, it probably did and here it is:

We are always thrilled to be sailing, but we were extra happy about it for this leg because we have a leak from the fuel pump or an injector! The chart plotter beeped at us or stuck it's tongue out every five minutes, how annoying. Resetting, finding the satelittes, etc., like I said, annoying! At about the time we could see Antigua thru the sunrise, it was time to wake my honey up for his watch! "I'm sleepy, and it's your watch"!

I'm still sleepy when I bounded down the steps and splashed in water! "We're Sinking"!That's not a pleasant thought...ever! I'm looking at stuff floating, the printer, stereo, some books, the coin can....coins everywhere....and I immediately reached down to that squishy carpet and tasted it! YES, it's fresh! Thank God! A cruiser's worst hit something, there's a big bad whole in the boat, something hit us! It's bad that it's our drinking water, at least 25 or 30 gallons of it, depending on which one blew--good that it's not salt and our 'home' is not sinking! Yep, hate that word.

That's not it, of course! We are really stuck in that current between Antigua and Monsterrat and we decide to crank up the engine....yes, the sail is over! We needed a tow! Seriously though, the current and wind on the nose joined forces to make sure we got a good shot of the south coast, going nowhere! Four hours of staring at that same spot on the foggy coast! The alternator is screaming at us! It's probably the belt more than liklely, and that happened coincidentally at the same the auto pilot went on hold, or sneezed or said "Piss Off"!

Just at about that time, I'm steering, my amazing captain is down below trying to tighten the belt and the weather decides to squally as all get out now with the wind coming from all directions taking the sun with it! We would love to brave it right into a close haul, screw the seas, we've seen worse! We are going to pull down the sails and motor into everything and just get there! We probably stared at Monsterrat going on nine hours now, and yes, we want to go check out that volcano ....some other time, not today! Dudley went up to the bow to see what's buggering up the roller furling when he noticed the anchor chain hanging overboard off the starboard side of Altair! No way! Way!!!! He managed to retrieve all the rode and chain but not before it took out some of the toe rail; the hull... can't really tell (it's pretty bad to begin with); but the new bottom job is toast for sure! It looks bad for a good long stretch near our water line on that side! Bugger!

As if that's not enough, we have two new salt water leaks! Of course, one is over the storm berth (could be chain plate area, probably not that, too easy right?) and the other is over the galley (the dodger should prevent that, oh.... yeah... it's a boat). We're afraid to look! Higher priority first!

We're going to have a lot of work to do. We've now gotta get another slip, pull that carpet! Get a mechanic for the alternator, fuel pump, exhaust elbow, injector leaks, ordering re- placement water bladders, two now! Yeiks!

You know we'll keep you posted and it sure is beautiful here!

Sailing among the Frenchies!
11/30/2008, St. Martin to St. Barts

This is where we turn the corner! Everybody kept telling us that St. Martin would be the the beginning of the best sailing to come! We are so glad to hear that and we are living proof today! We got an early start, out the French side of the lagoon and in time for the early bridge to rise and we're off! It was probably blowing 20kts, we had ALL the sails reefed, sounds like a cutter ketch, right, and we were having a blast. It was a splendid sail! We set a new record for the rail in the water! We didn't stop, but got a close look at Anguilla while tacking by it getting around the north coast of St. Martin. We really did have a blast, but were soaked and very crusty! Very fun and exciting! Never dull on the good ship Altair! I'm telling ya that we are still so outta practice! Me tinks I forgot to stow the spinnaker and spare jib halyards and they went flying; the fuel tank we wedged beneath the dink on the foredeck went skidding around the deck because it wasn't tied; I couldn't steer the bow cleanly thru the wind for a smooth tack a few times; and we were a mess when we arrived at Ile Fourchue, just 5 miles north of St. Barts for our little 6 hour journey! The printer was on the floor along with lots of other things we thought we stowed, guess not! We thought we'd tidy up before pulling into the hoity toity elite isle of St. Barts!

We decided we were going to stop at Ile Fourchue, snuggle in for the night to clean and tidy up, when we found that all the moorings were taken, except for one. The entire anchorage is very deep so a mooring is practically essential and we took that one waaaaaaay out by the mouth of the harbor! We felt like we were on the moon! The guide book says, "it's a picturesque lunar landscape because of the goats having devoured everything, except the prickles. Judging by the way some of them were coughing they seem to have started on the prickles too." We wound up staying for another day, just for the heck of it and it was very serene when all ten of the boats moored before us left the next morning! Very blue, very quiet, very craggy with the lunaresque steep rocks just next to us, creating a whopping funnel of wind and gusts keeping us company. We managed to relax and were glad to say we stopped there.

St. Barts, now that's a deliciously different story! Very colorful, beautiful people, the fabulous architecture, the cheese, the wine, croissants and to top it off, everything is so expensive!

C'est beau!

We danced, we ate, we went to shell beach! Great finds of beach glass and superb sea donations, and we, Dudley and I both, indulged in some topless bathing with a great lunch on the beach too!

It all went by so fast, but we really enjoyed our short visit!

Au revoir!

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Who: Dudley Clark and Becky Butler
Port: Coconut Grove Sailing Club
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