Wednesday 28 November, Bermuda day 8, St. George’s: Gale force winds produce a few dramas. And a Lili Bermuda perfume makes my day.
They said a storm was coming in the night … and come it did. First, several heavy squalls with 35kt gusts and big rain. The wind is 30deg off our port bow and pushing us against the quay. Glen is up at 3am when the first squall hits, to keep an eye on things, making sure the fenders are doing their job. In the bay there are dramas among the anchored yachts. Fog horns are blasting – presumably to wake the crew of a yacht dragging anchor. And several of them are then motoring around trying to re-anchor. Poor them.
By 5am the cold front squalls have passed and the wind has both steadied and shifted right, to be bang on our bow. Thankfully we are now less pinned to the concrete quay and Glen gets some rest. Awake again at 8am to the sound of the wind still howling in the rigging.
The tide is up now and there is only 1ft of quay above the now very agitated water. So we spend the morning watching the fenders to ensure they stay down, protecting the hull, and not popping up on the quay.
At 10:30 we return the scooter. We had thought about using it for 2 hours this morning but we would have likely been blown off! Glen rushes back to keep his eye on Cloudy while I go to the Lili Bermuda Perfumery, which has intrigued me a few days ago, but it had been closed then.
During a short tour of the facility I learn that The Bermuda Perfumery was founded in 1928 by William Blackburn (W.B.) Smith and his daughter Madeline Scott, making it one of the oldest perfumeries in the world. It all started from the scent of Easter lilies, which Smith’s wife loved, and she wanted a fragrance with that scent. But they had no experience with perfumes, so a chemist and a perfumer were hired. With the assistance of Eminent French Perfumers, Easter Lily Perfume was first produced experimentally in a small wooden building in Bailey’s Bay. The family gradually acquired the surrounding properties to a total of six acres (which is immense to Bermuda standards), turning it into gardens.
Bermuda and the Perfumery prospered, even during World War II. The Island was essentially insulated from the cataclysms that were shaking the rest of the world and there were enough visitors to sustain the Perfumery. When the war finally ended, the tourism took off in Bermuda and The Perfumery was now an attraction. The gardens were coming into their own and traditions were being established. One was the decoration, in its entirety, of the screen at Holy Trinity Church with Easter Lilies from The Perfumery on Good Friday. Another was the sending of Easter lilies to the Queen Mother.
Now they are producing a variety of perfumes, with shops only in Bermuda (but worldwide shipment). The limited quantities make it a rare perfume. And having said that, I had to have one 😊 ‘Sunkissed’ is what I chose. Lovely!
After a short walk through the town I return to Cloudy Bay, only to find Glen exactly where I left him: on the quay, watching the fenders.
Out in the supposedly sheltered St. George’s Bay anchorage the water is white and very rough considering it only has but 1 mike of fetch. We have pretty big movement in the harbour but nothing compared to the yachts at anchor in the bay. They are severely pitching and rolling, with waves occasionally breaking over their bows.
Some are kiting all over the place while others seem stable, head to wind. We wonder what characteristics influence kiting. Certainly Cloudy Bay could win gold medals for her own kiting on anchor, or so it seems when we are on board.
We also wonder why most of them remained anchored down this end of the bay when one mile upwind the fetch (hence waves and wind) would have been greatly reduced, sheltered under the land. Maybe they wanted to stay near to town … or maybe they don’t listen to forecasts. Though that we doubt.
One yacht in the distance and close to the lee shore has its genoa unrolling, and soon it’s ripped and flapping in shreds up the forestay. We can see their rig shaking even from 1/4 mike away. Nothing they can do but wait for the wind to die. Unfurling and attempting to drop a sail in this 35-45kt wind, on anchor, would be a huge risk.
They also have out one of those small triangle stabilization sails, rigged on the outboard end of the boom. Except they don’t have it tight enough and it’s acting more like a small spinnaker, making their kiting actually far worse. Or that’s how it looks. Again, poor them. The delivery skipper of the charter yacht next to us says they saw this yacht being towed in by the authorities a few days ago.
On a similar theme, Glen talks to a guy on the quay. He looks like a salty sea dog (aka a seasoned sailor) but soon realizes the guy is full of sh$€%T. His 32ft yacht is bouncing on anchor out there. He claims all the captains here, that he has spoken to, don’t know the Atlantic weather patterns and proceeds authoritatively to tell Glen his version.
When Glen voices surprise that he isn’t on board his yacht in winds like this, on anchor, he retorts “Not likely! I came in and have been in Hamilton for the last 2 days. My boat will be fine, it’s the others you should worry about”.
Glen observes that his forestay is rather shaking about. “Yes I broke the furler on the way here” he says, but if the forestay breaks it’ll be OK, the mast won’t fall down, the shrouds are very strong”!
Then proceeds to tell Glen how he skillfully sailed into the harbour when he arrived. “Engine problems?” Glen asks. “No, I ran out of fuel about 300 miles before Bermuda.”!
At that, Glen bids him farewell and good luck and climbs back aboard Cloudy Bay. It’s people like this that cause the nightmares for rescue services. Hope he realizes such services don’t exist in the Caribbean! Not to mention that sailors like this are a danger to other boats around them.
Just 10 minutes later he is pacing up and down the quay desperately looking to hitch a ride out to his yacht. He has seen that his 2nd anchor, which had been on the bow, is now hanging down and bashing against the hull. We asked where his own dinghy is, and he declares he doesn’t have one. He paddled in on a kayak and now it’s not where he left it 3 days ago. Hmm, surprise, maybe it blew away?!
Finally, a good hearted dinghy takes him out. Through the binoculars we can see the anchor banging the hull, also a solar panel flying lose in the wind – looks like it is only retained by its cable. And the forestay does indeed look like it’s about to break.
But he does manage to get aboard and after 30 minutes his anchor is secured. He had no wet weather gear on and we can see him on his knees on the foredeck with waves crashing over him. Maybe there are other more deserved people for the Chief of Numpties award 🙂
Meanwhile, back at Cloudy Bay, Glen is trying hard to keep Cloudy off the quay. He has pulled the main sheet all the way along its track towards the quay, then tied the boom outboard to the gunwale. The wind acting on the boom is now helping to push us away from the quay.
To make it even better he also unfurls a small piece of the mainsail and pins it out hard with the outhaul. Now we are really pushing away from the quay! Excellent. And from now on the wind should go even more to the right (west), so our battle with the quay is hopefully over.
And it looks like no damage done to the newly polished hull – thank god!
Down below, (with a delicious smell of perfume about me!) I have wisely taken a seasickness pill and am toiling over the next video. We view the first cut together and Glen is suitably impressed with the content and flow. It’s a huge amount of work to compile these and make a good story, but the end result is worth it. We just hope people will be interested enough to watch it to its end.
We have lunch in the cockpit as the daylight fades and the wind continues to howl in the rigging. In the bay the gusts are clearly visible by a mini white-out of spray as they fly downwind at gale force. s/v Gale, anchored across the bay, sends us a small video of a squall passing them. The water is streaked white foam and TWS between 45-50kts! For once, we are glad to be in the harbour and not at anchor.
In the evening a few more squalls across us, some with rain. But the wind is now firmly on our starboard bow which means we are blown clear of the quay, the water is flat and we are sheltered at deck level by the town’s building. The only downside is we are now pelted with dust and grit blown from the town. Let’s hope none gets in the fenders, because it will be like sand paper as they roll on the hull.
Glen reviews the weather forecast. Best window for optimum wind direction to Antigua will be tomorrow afternoon. After that we could face head winds 1/2 way there. Leaving tomorrow will mean seas still up from this present weather system, but at least we would be going dead downwind, like the Atlantic crossing and it will rapidly calm in the first 12 hours. We will review again tomorrow.
Hoping for a better night’s sleep tonight. There should be no reason to wake up tonight. Famous last words.