We finally left Georgetown on Feb 16th. The wind had shifted to the west, which was perfect for the next leg of our journey. We had originally planned to visit Conception and Rum Islands, en route to Clarence Town, on the east side of Long Island. Unfortunately, neither Conception nor Rum have an anchorage that provides suitable protection from a west wind. Therefore, we headed straight east to the top of Long Island and then turned south for the long run down to Clarence Town. With the wind running 20-27 kts, we had a wild downwind ride for the first leg, surfing down the face of the rollers. When we rounded the corner, the low island blocked the waves, but not the wind. This combined to provide nearly perfect conditions – lots of wind, coming towards the side of the boat (a beam reach) and minimal seas. We screamed down the island at 9.5-10kts of boat speed. We topped out at 10.3kts (a new Panache record). We had one reef in the main and a full genoa.
From the video below, it looks like it was a walk in the park. That is not the case, but it is certainly a much smoother ride than what you would encounter on a monohull. It is one of the big benefits of a catamaran. Also, the video is shot from inside our helm station, which is completely surrounded by a sturdy, Strataglass (clear plastic) enclosure. Had the “windows” been rolled up, the wind noise would have been very loud indeed. This is a feature of the Leopard 48 that we really appreciate. The enclosure was made in Ft. Lauderdale, by Leo from Merle Stewart Designs. More on their excellent work in a future post.
We reached Clarence Town just before dusk, dropped the hook, had a drink and then went to bed. It was an intense, 10-hour ride.
Clarence Town is home to the Flying Fish Marina. It’s definitely the best-kept outfit we have seen since leaving Nassau. It is home base for large Sportfish fishing boats, owned or rented by enthusiasts with plenty of money (to buy, staff and fuel the beasts). We dinghied into the marina and met a number of the boat-boys who work during the sport fishing season (Feb-Jun). A couple of them had a look at our fishing tackle and provided advice on how best to deploy it. I showed them what Randy Holmes had put together for us and they were suitably impressed. More on that in the next post.