The sail from Antigua to St Maarten was a quick one. We did 98 n miles in 14 hours sharp. Pretty good average on such a long distance. Duende felt stronger and more united now with all reinforcements that Alex've done on her in the past three months. Love it when you leave early in the morning and you actually arrive before midnight so you don't have to sleep out on sea. It was our first long passage in many months and it felt awesome to be out there again, feeling the fresh air and salty spray in your face, that's a powerful feeling which I had almost forgot how much I've missed. The first deep breath you take of the salty, windy sea when coming out of the safe anchorage gives you such energy and happiness, it is hard to describe.

Although pretty strong wind, 20-30 knots all day and night through, the journey was luckily pretty uneventful as we still have some parts of the rig to replace. Not once have we been disappointed with the way this boat performs, and despite the fact that she is old and still in need of a lot of work and attention, we are very content with the fact that we dared to change boat in the middle of our so called circumnavigation, delaying all further plans, forcing us to stay in one place for time much longer than any of us wanted to. Within 10 months we had decided that we needed to change boat, we got Alex's old boat sold, brought the new one to the place where the refit should begin and had the most urgent refurbishments done.

Our broker and friend Reg who's seen the stress we've gone through during this past year, sometimes tells us it is almost like delivering a baby, dealing with a boat sales and buying process. Same excitement, worrying, stress, pressure and finally, finally after months of waiting, you'll come to a resolution... I've not had a child myself yet so hard to tell the accuracy of this comparison, but hell yeah, it has been one of the toughest years of our lives, that's something we both can attest in a heartbeat. To be totally honest with you: the mental, financial, physical, emotional stress and pressure that appeared because of the long boat changing process indirectly, nearly separated us as a couple but that's a story for another rainy day. The point here today, and what we both are very thankful for, is that we are beyond the hardest part and can finally breath lighter again. There's always a light in the end of each tunnel, one just need to stay focused and fight for what is important, and not for what's not. 

Alex's lifejacket is Spinlocks Deckvest 150 N, the best one he tried thus far. I have the Lite version and both are very light and comfortable.