Friends of mine returned from a two-week sailing charter in the crystal-blue waters of the Lesser Antilles--a chain of pristine islands in the Caribbean. On a typical day, they’d get underway right after a nice, lazy breakfast. Get onto a reach and sail across the northeast trades to the next island down the chain and find a protected spot to drop the hook.
Marina Cay, Caribbean
After a late lunch, a bit of snorkeling and beachcombing wrapped up a picture-perfect day. Sounded pretty idyllic to me – until they chuckled and told the next part of their story…
Just being in the lee of an atoll didn’t guarantee protection from all the elements. A persistent ground-swell ran day and night at some of the smaller islands, no matter where you buried the flukes. Their heavy anchor behaved rather well in the gentle swell, with just a slight roll from port to starboard and back again. But this night would challenge their sanity like no other…
Around midnight, Jim and Ann woke up to a soft noise as the yacht rolled lazily from one side to the other. 'Chink!' as she rolled to port. Then she’d wallow to starboard and again that annoying 'Chink!' After 20 minutes or so, Jim couldn’t stand it anymore.
Crawling out of the v-berth, he went on a mission to locate the culprit. He searched all over and just didn’t see anything.
Frustrated, he crawled back under the covers. After getting up a few more times he finally gave up. Piling some pillows over his head, Jim managed to get a few restless zzzzzs before sunrise…
First thing the next morning, Jim and his wife went at it again. Pulling up cushions, unscrewing covers and diving into lockers of every size and type. Finally, the little bugger revealed itself. An all-spice bottle had fallen over and was rolling around in the back of an athwartship drawer.
You can guess what they did next! They tore through every drawer, locker and access port and stuffed foam, towels and rags around, between and behind every nook and cranny! Heavier gear was tied-down with bungee cord or twine.
Jim and Ann never had another sleep problem after solving the 'Chink-mare on Antilles Street' mystery.
Keep provisions in place when cruising underway or at anchor with simple sailing tips like these. You will enjoy your sailing time, sleep better at night, and avoid pesky rock 'n roll monsters too--wherever in the world you choose to cruise!
John Jamieson (Captain John) teaches sailing skippers the no-nonsense cruising skills they need for safer sailing worldwide. Sign up for a free sailing tips newsletter at http://skippertips.com Become a member for instant access to 425+ articles, sailing video tutorials, sailing tips newsletters, and free sailing topic eBooks.