Work under way

We have been in the Caribbean now since the early days of February and while everybody else in Wintery Europe thinks we are swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing I thought I should show a couple of photos giving an idea of what we actually get up to each day.

Below are some images of the crew at work tackling the never-ending job-list.

-Sanding the fo’c’stle Image-Stefano D’Oria

During the crossing the fo’c’stle received a battering. 2 crew were berthed there permanently, comforted with fresh fruit and veg hanging in netting between the bunks, and other equipment stowed in any available space. In addition, this happy environment would be given an irregular dousing of salt water through the gaps of the original fo’c’stle hatch. Damage is unavoidable when moving around at sea for weeks on end, especially at the bow where the rhythm of the boat seems most accentuated. Shortly after this photo Stefano put a fresh coat of varnish throughout the cabin, which now looks revitalized and ready for Antigua!

-Servicing the winches-Stefano Valente

With 14 ‘Holmatro’ winches on board it is vital they run well, especially whilst sailing and during regattas. After continually being sluiced by salt water during the crossing the inner parts of the winch get coated in salt which result in them clogging up. A general service that includes taking apart the winch and cleaning every washer, bearing and pawl, usually results in their smooth running. You could just about turn the drum of the jib top sheet winch with your hands before the service. Now she spins freely.

-Varnishing the Capping rail- Stefano D’Oria

-Varnishing the hatch grates Image- Jesse Green

As can be expected with a beautiful classic boat there is a huge amount of varnish to look after. The Caribbean is famous for having some of the best varnishers in the world, and a number of the other yachts close by have drafted in the local experts with faultless results. As could be expected they cost a fortune and so it is left to the 4 of us to repair and maintain all of the varnished woodwork on board. We need Eilean to dazzle in Antigua and so we are all working hard each day with several different varnish projects under way.


A Summary

Eilean is stern to in Tenerife, Santa Cruz

ready to set sail with 8 member she’ll cruise.

Me – Captain Andy and engineer Stef,

the stewardess Jesse and Stefano the Chef.

Two delivery crew present to help us all out

Edoardo and Giovanni, another watch no doubt.

In addition 2 guests, one from Japan,

Yoichi and Dan – the ‘Classic Boat’ man.

We leave before sunset in the mid-January sun

hoist 2 sails and bear away to a run.

Eilean yawed freely, spread her wings to the breeze

and powered to 12 knots with considerable ease.

Visibility closed in to a mile at most

from the harmattan blow off the African coast.

It carried on for days and covered the yacht

rigging, sails and line, just coated the lot.

Outside the Cape Verdes a gas leak we did find

and made for Mindelo a night out to unwind.

The correct fitting was found promptly the next day

and with fresh fruit and veg we went on our way.

The loose-footed main and headsails were set

arrival in Sint Maarten together the crew bet.

Tracked south of Santo Antao then west we did head

to nurture the trade winds we merrily said.

Two fishing lines deployed trailing astern

crew at the ready for the reel to turn,

and around about 3 the ocean answered our wish:

a sizeable dorado, Chef marinated the fish.

The wind remained fickle for a couple of days

and we tried different sails in alternative ways.

The mizzen staysail and Drifter to hold every puff

the jib top as a water sail but no leader for the luff.

On the last day of the month we held our half-way party

17.00 on the aft deck, ‘TROPICANA’, Dress: Arty!

Lady Pineapple, Jungle Jim and Fruity Chef looked sleek

Giovanni missed the message and came dressed as a Greek!

Other fish we reeled in, a tuna and wahoo,

But the biggest by far was Yoishi’s dorado.

He fought like a King with help from some others,

at 1.4 metres it’ll do a week’s suppers.

Chafe protectors were made by Jesse in hide,

Edoardo re-stitched the Cruising Main slides.

Giovanni aloft to make ‘Gopro’ rig inspections

and Stef in the bilge with cleaning intentions.

After 23 days we arrived in Simpson Bay

all crew eagle-eyed with plenty to say,

and while we waited for the bridge to open

I for one contemplated about life on the ocean.

To cross the Atlantic brings light to the soul

the sunsets and stars, the rhythm and roll.

And so we return to the side she was last seen

back in the Caribbean on the good ship Eilean.

Trattoria D’Oria

-Chef at work-

Here a list of a few of the dishes served on board Eilean during the crossing:

 Seafood pasta with black pennette

Ratatouille with spicy couscous

Marinated Mahi Mahi with potatoes and green beans

Mahi Mahi with shrimps and green curry with Basmati rice

Sausage with mushroom and mashed potatoes

Tuna breaded with sesame seeds with soya sauce and wasabi

Marinated tuna with ginger and garlic and basmati rice

Grilled wahoo with lemon and extra virgin oil and vegetables

Steak with sautéed potatoes with thyme

Risotto with prawns, zucchini and smoked cheese

Penne with aubergine and sausage

Penne al Ragu


Banana Cake(Jesse and Dan)


Simpson Bay Marina!

Land Ahoy! We spotted St.Barts in the first light of the morning and cruised on to the south of St. Martin and Simpson Bay.

To allow Dan some shots of Eilean from off the boat we launched the tender and had a fantastic sail reaching in and out of the bay for an hour or so.

We had a lovely 20-25 knots of breeze over a flat sea and she looked quite a sight with 5 sails up, the rail in the water and averaging 9/10 knots. Eilean, in the familiarity of her past stomping ground , was perfectly balanced, and I was able to leave the helm and watch her sail swiftly over the homely Caribbean swell.

A happy, if tired crew, arrived stern to in Simpson Bay Marina at 12.30. Jesse had won the bottle of rum for the closest predicted time, and we toasted Eilean during a much anticipated meal at a sushi restaurant.


-Simpson Lagoon, taken from Marigot-



Just Over the Horizon

Once you pass half way your mind tells you that the other side is just over the horizon.

Morale is up, and there tends to be a new surge of energy and seamanship that urges the vessel on, and provides new chatter about distant shores and their tales.

Again we played around with sail combinations. The wind, still being easterly, meant that we were having to sail as deep as possible and we tried, with success, easing the mizzen boom right out and using the mizzen staysail sheet (which leads to the end of the mizzen boom) to sheet in the Cruising main. It opened the main significantly and allowed us to sail at a deeper and more stable angle.

Two days later Yoichi pulled in a massive, in my eyes, Mahi Mahi. It was the second of the day but at 1.4 metres in length it was the biggest fish I’ve seen caught at sea, and it displayed a marvelous struggle between man and nature. Most of it was frozen, with ideas that we could feed half of St Martin!

Sailing shots: