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Old 27-01-2022, 16:13   #1
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Antigua berthing/anchorage

We will reach Antigua, God willing, in a couple.of days after crossing from Cabo Verde.

We will arrive in the middle of the night if our progress continues like this, and I thought we would stand at anchor in Falmouth Harbour with q flag up until we clear in, then try to get a berth in Falmouth Harbour Marina.

But studying the charts, it looks pretty tight in there for a 67' vessel drawing 2.7m. Especially if it's crowded. On the other hand, we have good ground tackle and can anchor on short scope.

Any advice from those who know the area?
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Old 27-01-2022, 16:46   #2
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Re: Antigua berthing/anchorage

There is plenty of room for large vessels. As you get into the harbor look to port and there is a large area that is deep and good holding Don’t go In too far or it will get crowded and keep an eye to starboard as there is a large reef at the entrance. All well marked. In the morning you can move further in or connect with the Yacht Club berth. Happy to send you some chart pics if you want to DM me. Catamaran Marina also an option but I would wait for daylight before motoring through the mooring field to reach it.
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Old 27-01-2022, 18:22   #3
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Re: Antigua berthing/anchorage

Never a good idea to enter an unknown harbour without benefit of sunlight.
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Old 27-01-2022, 23:32   #4
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Re: Antigua berthing/anchorage

I know Falmouth quite well and the first time I sailed in there I fouled my prop on a fish line on the way there and ended up going in at night and I was quite worried. But it is pretty big inside and at the moment I gather it isn't too crowded.

If you look at the charts you'll see the main entrance channel with the reef on your right as you enter, it is well-marked and there are leading lights on the hills to make it even easier to enter. Then you'll get to the bouy that marks the splitting of the channel and here you would bear right and head towards the docks at Falmouth. But I would recommend anchoring in middle area (on your left) relatively soon after the channel split marker. There's a shallow area right at the marker, but after that you'll have good depth around the channel. Don't go too far from the channel, there is a shoal area in the middle of Falmouth upon which many boats have landed (I've helped tow a fair number off that in the past years!). Holding in Falmouth isn't great, but it is pretty good. Let me see if I can drag up a picture I took of my chartplotter course.
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Old 27-01-2022, 23:40   #5
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Re: Antigua berthing/anchorage

I just used paint to show, in black, where I usually anchor in Falmouth. The circle in Pink is where big boats (think of 200 plus fee) often anchor and that area is usually completely empty and can be used in a pinch, but the fetch is long and it isn't the most comfortable area for smaller yachts.
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Old 28-01-2022, 04:39   #6
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Re: Antigua berthing/anchorage

If arriving at night I would anchor near the area Zanshin circled. It is likely to have only a few boats there. The rest of the anchorage is quite busy now and I personally would not like to navigate through the boats at night. All the marinas have room, so take your pick. Nelson’s Dockyard in the next bay is the most interesting one in my opinion.
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Old 28-01-2022, 06:10   #7
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Re: Antigua berthing/anchorage

By the way - well done, Dockhead!

Once you're in and settled we *would* like to hear about your crossing - how the watch system worked (which did you choose?) how your provisioning/cooking worked and also the alcohol question (just an asterisk, really) but please do update your crew/watch thread.

Enquiring minds would like to know!
Warmly,
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P.S. Also, with two days to go, you could slow the boat down now so that you'll arrive in daylight...
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Old 28-01-2022, 09:24   #8
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Re: Antigua berthing/anchorage

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingfin View Post
Never a good idea to enter an unknown harbour without benefit of sunlight.
I would respectfully disagree. It's of course easier in daylight (or bright moonlight), but negotiating a strange harbour which is well charted and buoyed in darkness but in good weather should be well within the skill set of a skipper with reasonable night pilotage skills. I don't know if it's on the Yachtmaster exam, but it should be.

Here are some tips:

1. Slow is pro, and really slow is really pro, where wind and tide allow it.

2. Crew on the bow with the searchlight. Preferably young crew with good night vision.

3. Another crew calling out soundings when they get below some agreed level.

4. Memorize the chart, leading lines, transits, lights, and buoys before entering, so you only need to glance at the plotter, not study it.

5. Be acutely aware of state of tide, and currents.

6. Beware shore lighting obscuring lighted buoyage.

7. If you get disoriented, TURN AROUND, and go back out, and take another pass.
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"You sea! I resign myself to you also . . . . I guess what you mean,
I behold from the beach your crooked inviting fingers,
I believe you refuse to go back without feeling of me;
We must have a turn together . . . . I undress . . . . hurry me out of sight of the land,
Cushion me soft . . . . rock me in billowy drowse,
Dash me with amorous wet . . . . I can repay you."
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Old 28-01-2022, 10:41   #9
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Re: Antigua berthing/anchorage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I would respectfully disagree. It's of course easier in daylight (or bright moonlight), but negotiating a strange harbour which is well charted and buoyed in darkness but in good weather should be well within the skill set of a skipper with reasonable night pilotage skills. I don't know if it's on the Yachtmaster exam, but it should be.

Here are some tips:

1. Slow is pro, and really slow is really pro, where wind and tide allow it.

2. Crew on the bow with the searchlight. Preferably young crew with good night vision.

3. Another crew calling out soundings when they get below some agreed level.

4. Memorize the chart, leading lines, transits, lights, and buoys before entering, so you only need to glance at the plotter, not study it.

5. Be acutely aware of state of tide, and currents.

6. Beware shore lighting obscuring lighted buoyage.

7. If you get disoriented, TURN AROUND, and go back out, and take another pass.
Not necessarily on the YM exam, Dockhead, but I've definitely done it as a pilotage exercise with Coastal Skipper students in the onboard course.

I remember standing in the cockpit observing the class' pilotage unfold (strange entrance to them, just east of Portsmouth, England); they got about halfway up the channel and were suddenly confused.

As Instructor, all I asked was, "Do you know where you are?" (As in, what is the position of this boat right now?). They didn't know. To which I responded, "what next steps can you take?"

"Turn around on a reciprocal course," one of them answered.

So they turned around, ran on a reciprocal until they'd established the boat's correct position in the channel, turned back again to resume, and completed the pilotage into the harbour without further incident.

It was an excellent learning experience for them.

I mean, Dockhead is absolutely right. No harm no foul.

Always be sure you know where your boat is with reference to present dangers!

Fair winds and safe landfall, Dockhead!
Warmly,
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Old 28-01-2022, 11:04   #10
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Re: Antigua berthing/anchorage

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleWing77 View Post
"



"Turn around on a reciprocal course," one of them answered.



So they turned around, ran on a reciprocal until they'd established the boat's correct position in the channel, turned back again to resume, and completed the pilotage into the harbour without further incident.

. . . :
Full marks

I forgot to mention radar. At minimum, for detection of unlit uncharted hazards, and double checking the chart. But you can go the whole hog with parallel indexing and clearing bearings, which I sometimes do when I want to be extra sure.

In any case, night pilotage into an unfamiliar harbour is a fundamental skill which no skipper should be without.

That being said, there are a few cases where standing off and heaving to until daylight is prudent. Bad weather, fog, buoys out of order (Cape Verde), uncharted (Greenland) - those are probably not good cases for practicing your night pilotage skills.
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"You sea! I resign myself to you also . . . . I guess what you mean,
I behold from the beach your crooked inviting fingers,
I believe you refuse to go back without feeling of me;
We must have a turn together . . . . I undress . . . . hurry me out of sight of the land,
Cushion me soft . . . . rock me in billowy drowse,
Dash me with amorous wet . . . . I can repay you."
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Old 28-01-2022, 11:17   #11
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Re: Antigua berthing/anchorage

You also forgot to mention to wait for the tropical rain squall to pass. One usually shows up when I am trying this.
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Old 29-01-2022, 02:10   #12
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Re: Antigua berthing/anchorage

While I agree that entering an unfamiliar harbour at night using pilotage, radar and other navigational components is an important and valuable skill to have, it doesn't mean that one should choose a night arrival if a daylight arrival is possible.

Falmouth and English harbours are some of the busier ones in the Caribbean and both have navigational challenges. I think practicing a night arrival in places like Simpson Bay or Rodney Bay or Portsmouth (Dominica) teaches the same skill without the risks.
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Old 29-01-2022, 05:38   #13
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Re: Antigua berthing/anchorage

Best place to get tide and currents info for Falmouth Harbour? Any tips, bearing in mind we are bandwidth-challenged?
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"You sea! I resign myself to you also . . . . I guess what you mean,
I behold from the beach your crooked inviting fingers,
I believe you refuse to go back without feeling of me;
We must have a turn together . . . . I undress . . . . hurry me out of sight of the land,
Cushion me soft . . . . rock me in billowy drowse,
Dash me with amorous wet . . . . I can repay you."
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Old 29-01-2022, 06:04   #14
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Re: Antigua berthing/anchorage

Falmouth [Antigua]Tide Times
https://www.tidetime.org/central-ame...a/falmouth.htm
https://www.windfinder.com/tide/falm...arbour_antigua
https://www.tide-forecast.com/locati...2/tides/latest
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Old 29-01-2022, 06:18   #15
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Re: Antigua berthing/anchorage

Thanks. So the tidal range is only about 46cm. Does anyone know if there are significant tidal streams or other currents inside the harbour?
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"You sea! I resign myself to you also . . . . I guess what you mean,
I behold from the beach your crooked inviting fingers,
I believe you refuse to go back without feeling of me;
We must have a turn together . . . . I undress . . . . hurry me out of sight of the land,
Cushion me soft . . . . rock me in billowy drowse,
Dash me with amorous wet . . . . I can repay you."
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