About time we updated the website and our followers on everything that’s been happening on Kealoha over the last few months.
Myself (Jay Faulkner) and my wife Bev took over running Kealoha at the beginning of September from our predecessors Anton & Clementine. The boat was in Palma, Mallorca and we immediately entered into a hectic period of yard work interspersed with some weeks spent cruising with David and family and also racing in the Oyster Palma Regatta. Our main focus however was tidying up the boat both cosmetically and mechanically – and of course finding where everything was stowed. Oyster are very very good at fitting a lot of stowage in a boat – so much so I’m not yet convinced I’ve found everything!
Finally at the beginning of November we were ready to bid farewell to the shipyard in Palma and to embark on our Atlantic crossing. Our crew compromised Bev and myself, David, Jar, James and Chris – aka “The Admiral”. As is normal at this time of year the 1st leg to Gibraltar was wet, cold and vaguely reminiscent of sailing in UK waters – and then we were greeted in Gibraltar with an evening of torrential rain which seemed a bit unfair! We soon put that behind us and tackled the next leg of our passage to Las Palmas in Gran Canaria – again mainly upwind and a lot of engine time was used but we could hear the call of the sun and were eager to get that leg out of the way aswell. Finally Gran Canaria hove into view and after some DIY sail repairs which we had to do on anchor we headed into the Marina and enjoyed some time ashore. Unfortunately fate reared her ugly head just as we about to leave and a short circuit in the engine wiring meant we had to get the engine completely rewired. As always the Oyster Aftersales team sprang into action and after an entire day on the phone we managed to locate a new wiring loom in the UK and get it collected by car and delivered to an engineer who then flew out to rewire the engine. Unbelievably we were ready to depart in 3 days so after some final purchases by our ace provisioning team of Bev and Chris we cast off and headed out into the Atlantic towards the Caribbean.
Our crossing was blessed with steady trade winds that enabled us to pole out the genoa and “white sail” most of the way with occasional appearances by our spinnaker to liven things up. We also managed to land several fish along the way to supplement Bev’s stocks. We soon settled into an easy routine – with so many crew everyone had plenty of time between watches to rest and read and of course eat. In fact the focal point of each day became based around whatever delights Bev would serve up from the galley. Though there was one almost mutiny when the freezer lid attempted to break Bev’s arms and while she was incapacitated I managed to turn a shepherd’s pie into some sort of brown soup. After that my galley duties were restricted to washing up!
After an uneventful crossing we pulled into Falmouth Harbour Marina, Antigua on the 23rd November having covered 3978 miles and in plenty of time to meet our next objectives – being ready for the Antigua Charter Show and equally importantly getting David back to the UK in time to watch England play at Twickenham (which turned out to be a historic victory over the All Blacks). After a couple of days relaxing work started again in earnest to ready Kealoha for participation in the Charter show – a first for the boat and for us. Jar & Chris sadly had to leave us to fly back to the frozen UK but James stayed behind hoping to find work in the yachting industry and he and his girlfriend Iona joined Bev and I in a frenzied whirlwind of cleaning, polishing and detailing to take the boat from “delivery” mode back to “charter” condition. When we arrived there were only half a dozen other boats in the marina but over the ensuing days this soon changed as other boats came in and started doing much the same as us. Each arrival being greeted by hoards of local Antiguan suppliers and casual workers all looking to cash in on the big event. Finally a week later we ready to entertain a steady stream of charter brokers all wishing to familiarise themselves with the boats that their clients would be looking to book for the winter and also keen to plan ahead for the 2013 summer season. Everyone was very complimentary about the boat and were very excited to hear of our plans to cruise Croatia next summer. Even Yachting Worlds journalists visited us and are planning to include us in an article to be published next spring. The high point of the week for us was entertaining our central broker, Molly Marston of Oyster Charter and her selected guests for lunch onboard which everyone enjoyed immensely. We were kept busy doing tours during the day and then enjoying the various “networking” events that are always a key part of these shows. Eventually after 5 days the show came to a close and we were able to close the hatches and take a well-earned rest for a couple of days.