Time Bandit

It’s back to the Caribbean leaving a chilly USA east coast for the winter months in the sun.

22 July 2024
29 June 2024 | The Hamptons, Long Island Sound
08 June 2024
07 June 2024 | Port Washington
21 May 2024 | Island Wanderer from ARC 2011
12 May 2024
04 May 2024
25 April 2024
03 April 2024
04 March 2024
14 February 2024
01 February 2024
06 December 2023
23 November 2023
18 November 2023
17 November 2023
15 November 2023
10 November 2023

Land Life Envy

17 November 2023
Stuart Letton
Pretty much everyone of our “cohort” that we did the long miles, islands and cockpit parties with are, as I type this, probably sat in front of their fire, tele on, the smell of their roast lamb dinner still in the air and maybe a dog lying at their feet. Some are in their camper vans, trawlers or cruising sun-shiny tracks on their e-bikes. Either that or they’re tucked up in a bed that doesn’t move, or better still, perhaps a bar.

We on the other hand have been enjoying that madness that is hurtling along in the pitch black in, of course, thirty plus knots of wind, three to four metre breaking seas, hundreds of miles from land. With that bit behind us we’re now anchored in Bermuda, waiting on tonight’s forecast thirty to forty knots gusting fifty to sixty to kick off. That’s force ten to eleven in Beaufort speak. Oh joy. Really glad I cut off fifteen metres of chain a few months ago to save a few kilos.

The reason we’re here is firstly because the weather patterns to sail direct to Antigua from Norfolk we’re all very nasty looking deep shades of dark red and secondly that, “if we go now”, we can instead route via Bermuda. “That’ll be a nice way to break the trip”.

However, in truth, it’s largely because after visiting Toronto a few months ago, a rather stroppy US immigration officer took exception to our comings and goings …… but mostly coming and stayings, telling us we couldn’t just come and stay in her country, dodging in and out the USA at will. The fact we were entirely legally compliant in terms of days in the country and that her colleagues in Boston and Maine immigration had set the dates clearly stamped and signed in our passports was neither here nor there. Clearly, in her opinion, we were here when we should have been there.

Obviously, somebody got out of bed on the wrong side that morning and it wasn’t us. With a pen stroke she cancelled our permissions to stay until February and said we were to be out the country by fifteenth December at latest. And understand this buddy, “I can revoke your ten year visa” so don’t mess with me.

For a few minutes I toyed with the idea of writing a strongly worded letter but instead, we sought out her boss who, without actually saying it, but whose raised eyebrows were a giveaway, understood his officer had indeed got out of bed on the wrong side. He politely apologised for the confusion and then used up more valuable paper in our increasingly cluttered passports re-setting the stamps and dates. However, this whole exercise made us realise that our plan for the first part of next year to leave the boat on the hard in the Chesapeake for a few months and go gallivanting around Patagonia was subject to the whim of whichever immigration officer we came up against and which side of bed they got out of. Pick the wrong officer and we could be left banned from the USA and Time Bandit stuck there. It wasn’t a risk we wanted to take and, we really need a full six months next year as there’s grand winkies to take sailing.

And that’s why we’re here, Time Bandit tugging at the anchor, driving rain slashing against the windows, spare anchor rigged ready to go, foulies and wellies ready to don and insurance policy looked out. We’re not expecting much beauty sleep tonight.

We’ll head out for the thousand or so miles to Antigua in the next weather window when hopefully we’ll enjoy balmy, benign conditions and be gently and leisurely wafted south in the Trades.

Meanwhile, I’m off to bed to read my book. Not the best choice!

Fat chance.
Comments
Vessel Name: Time Bandit
Vessel Make/Model: Outremer 51
Hailing Port: Largs, Scotland
Crew: Anne and Stuart Letton
About: ex dinghy and keelboat racers now tooled up with a super sleek cat and still cruising around aimlessly, destination Nirvana...
Extra: Next up....the Caribbean. We've left South Africa in our wake and now off to Namibia, St Helena, Brazil, Suriname and into the Caribbean. Well, that' the vague plan. We'll see what happens.
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/timebandit/profile
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