The busy month of April!
Week One: Antigua Regatta
Week Two/Three: Cruising Antigua
Week Four: Antigua Sailing Week
My Daily Racing Routine:
Race Crew arrive.
Inner forestay off. Racing sails on. A3 ready. Tender off. Lazaret empty. Lines set up.
6am - Banquet breakfast for eight, coffee, lunch for ten made, five cabins made up and detailed, canapés prepared. Interior secured. Off the dock by 10am.
Racing by 11am.
My role: port/starboard trimmer, Spinnaker trimmer.
Care of guests and crew. Lunch during downwind sailing.
Over the finish line.
Dock lines out and ready to be thrown, fenders blown up and tied to guard rail. Covers off, Cushions out.
Canapés for twenty people put together, refreshments served.
Tidy boat. Prep three course dinner for eight-twelve people.
Dinner served after 9pm. Starter, Main, Dessert, Coffees, Chocolate, Night cap.
Tidy away. Prepare breakfast.
Next day - REPEAT.
Rather than docking in marinas, which are not the most relaxing of places. Anchoring the boat in the Antigua's stunning bays is much more appealing! Early morning swims, clear blue water, peace and quiet and glorious sunsets.
Being at anchor all the time can make it more of a challenge for me as the chef. Normally we are far, far away from any shops. So it would take me just the morning to travel to and from a shop, by which time I would need to be back to cook lunch. Planning and timing is key especially as there is only one of me. I usually have to make one big shop last at least one week, sometimes longer. Keeping food looking fresh is vital, therefore it is important to 'care' for each item so it lasts longer. Monitoring the fruit and vegetables, knowing when it is right to use or whether it can last a little longer. Trial and error is key and you're never always going to get it right. Its always hard when buying food from an island, where the fresh goods are already ripe after travelling so far and in a hot climate.
Nothing beats drinking fresh coconut water in the Caribbean. I'd lug a bag of them onto the boat each week and keep them in my shower... Crack open one at a time, using a machete, and poor the fresh water into a jug without a lid (this stops it forming a skin). It will keep in your fridge for 2-3 days, give it a swirl each day. However, finding fresh coconuts is becoming more difficult as the palm trees are dying due to
You will be shocked to hear that finding fresh fish was the biggest challenge I had this season. But how can someone working on a boat not be able to find fish? Trust me, I asked the same question. Fish has become more and more scarce in the last five or so years. The Caribbean Sea has been over fished.
I managed to wave down a fishing boat heading into the harbour one evening. I asked the boys on the boat if they had any fish they were willing to sell me. They held up a 40 kilo, Red Snapper. The guests returned from the beach to me covered in blood, filleting the fish on the aft deck. I griddled the fillets and served it with salsa verde on a bed of blanched greens along side a lentil salad. Never waste any, I used the scrapings from the spine to serve as sashimi with wasabi and pickled ginger as an appetiser.
The highlight of our time cruising was seeing two huge whales jumping. We were on route to another bay for the evening. I was sitting on the aft deck watching the sun go down. My first whale sighting. It was fantastic! We slowed the boat and watched. They leaped vertically up in the air then collapsed to one side, creating a elaborate splash. A 40ft Catamaran was only a few yards away when it happened. They must have had one hell of a shock!!