Archer Adventures

Onboard "Jet-Lagged"

Across the pond

Jet-Lagged has now covered over 10,000 nautical miles since her launch in 2022. 5,000 of these were covered between September and December 2023, when we left the coast of Turkey to journey all the way to the Caribbean.

What is it like to sail across the Atlantic? I think there was not one of Jet-Lagged’s brave crew who did not think “are we really doing this?” in the lead up to the departure from Las Palmas. Especially when we heard about the fleet that left a week earlier than us and that hit 30+ knots for over a week and experienced some very big seas; one of those boats lost its mast.

The lead up to departure was busy and exciting. Stocking the boat for 5 people for a trip that could last almost a month, getting equipment and spares, seminars on weather and provisioning, safety and rig inspections, and lots of sundowners, cocktail parties and dinners. Even a parade!

The race start was spectacular, with over 150 boats circling waiting for their starting gun. And then we were off! At about 2 knots… The winds of the week before had completely dropped and we started in extremely light airs. And Jet-Lagged has a fat bottom and does not like light airs! So the departure from Gran Canaria was slow and as the sun set on the first day, we were still in sight of the island.

We next saw land 22 days later! The first week was gentle winds and we started to wonder if we were going to make it before the beer ran out! (We didn’t). In the second week we started to find the traditional tradewinds near the Cape Verdes islands and picked up speed. In the third week the wind filled in nicely and we started to get some decent swells to surf down. The third week also saw us sailing through the tropical squalls typical of the tropics, and dodging them became quite a game.

Life onboard was surprisingly comfortable. The crew (Shannon; me - “Meerkat”; Wayne - “T Homo”; Franki; and Murray - “Noodles”) all took turns cooking our favourite meals, T Homo caught delicious mahi mahi, the water-maker made enough for a shower every few days, and a running tally of who had won which games kept the spirit of competition high! We would often sit at the back deck table over a meal looking at the endless sea around us and think “well isn’t this civilised!”. Getting up for the night watches was sometimes a bit tough

Jet-Lagged performed extremely well. The autopilot would start to complain when floating seaweed would build up on the rudders, requiring us to stop and reverse the boat regularly to clear the weed. The navigation electronics all shut down at one point causing an “oh shit!” moment but thankfully started back up again after a reboot. One reefing line chafed and needed replacing but otherwise we had smooth sailing.

We did not realise how lucky we were until we arrived in St Lucia and found out how many other boats either had crew problems as close quarters living took its toll, or had significant sail or equipment damage. Our worst moment was running out of beer in the last week! But luckily the last few bottles of wine saw us home…

Arriving at Rodney Bay Marina and being greeted with a rum punch was a great way to arrive. Our friends from Rockhopper, also a Lagoon 42, were also on the dock to greet us (yes, they beat us, I’ll get over it) and stepping back on land after 3300nm was a great feeling!

Our great crew has now headed back down under and we are alone again, though we are regularly running into friends in their boats in different bays that we visit.

This afternoon we are sitting at anchor on a beautiful clear Caribbean Sea looking at the palm trees and white sandy beach on one of the islands of the Grenadines. It is wonderful to have arrived this side of the pond and it is also wonderful to be able to slow down for a while! If the rest of our stay in the Caribbean is like these first few weeks, we are going to love it here.

We loved our time sailing in the Med, and you cannot match it for history and culture, but we are finding sailing here to be easier and more relaxing.

Wind! We have wind you can sail in! Every day! In the Med, the wind was often either non-existent or way too strong. Here we are getting regular reliable breezes perfect for Jet-Lagged. There are a lot of sail boats here, especially catamarans, but the anchorages are not as crowded as the Med. And the rain cleans your boat! We rarely saw rain in the Med, but when we did, it was guaranteed to leave your boat covered in dirt. Here we get regular short-lasting tropical showers that leave the boat sparkling clean. And then the sun comes out so you can jump into water that is the perfect temperature for snorkelling and looking at the coral and fish life. That’s right, fish life! The Med is sadly so overfished that seeing fish is as likely as winning the Lotto.

Not everything here is an improvement. Excuse my French, but what the f*** is it with the French??? There are lots of them here and they are just as bad at anchoring as they are in the Med. Indeed, even as I am typing this, a French-flagged yacht has just dropped its anchor right next to Jet-Lagged. Even though this bay is a mile wide and has almost no boats in it, Pierre wants me to be able to smell his farts tonight. Are the French lonely? They always anchor way too close and extremely badly. We were awoken one night last week at 3am by the sounds of shouting and a foghorn. We jumped out of bed and saw that the boat behind us was dragging its anchor and about to collide with the catamaran behind it. Guess what - French! And they had anchored in the middle of a mooring field!!

Oh, and the Germans sailing here, though fewer in number, still cannot help but get all their gear off. But at least they can anchor…

But who can stay annoyed after a few rum punches and a Pina Colada? I have consumed my weight in Pina Coladas already. I love the cocktails here! I do not want to throw my manhood into question, but I am rapidly approaching the point where if it does not have a cute little umbrella or maraschino cherry sticking out of it, I don’t want it.

Off to the Tobago Cays tomorrow, if you have not heard of it, Google it, an amazing looking place.