Barely There - Sail Magazine

Barely There

Racing a charter boat is very different from campaigning your Sonar or Etchells or, as in our helmsman Charlie Garrard’s case, your J/105. Some bareboats are pretty tired, and sails can have a short lifespan in boisterous Caribbean conditions. Some of the bigger, heavier boats are cumbersome and slow to tack and trying to sail them well can be a frustrating exercise. Local knowledge of winds and
Author:
Publish date:
DSC_0032_SI

Racing a charter boat is very different from campaigning your Sonar or Etchells or, as in our helmsman Charlie Garrard’s case, your J/105. Some bareboats are pretty tired, and sails can have a short lifespan in boisterous Caribbean conditions. Some of the bigger, heavier boats are cumbersome and slow to tack and trying to sail them well can be a frustrating exercise. Local knowledge of winds and currents also helps immeasurably, and it is notoriously hard to win a bareboat race on your first attempt at a new venue. Many European bareboat racers return year after year and are intimately familiar with the waters around the islands, and they are hard to beat.

We learned all this the hard way at Antigua Sailing Week in 2008, when we raced a big Beneteau 515 and got our behinds handed to us by a bunch of hard-sailing Germans and Dutchmen. In 2009 we had a crack at the wild and windy Heineken Regatta in St. Maarten, this time aboard a Sunsail Jeanneau 39i, and had tremendous fun battling it out with some sharp Dutchmen aboard a trio of sisterships. We finished fourth out of 18 boats, just a point away from the podium. We could almost taste the champagne, but consoled ourselves instead with liberal doses of the sponsor’s product.

As one-design racers, it is obvious to us that there are few better ways to race than as part of a fleet of similar boats. News of the inaugural International Yacht Club Challenge (IYCC), to be sailed in identical Sunsail Jeanneau 42i’s, sounded to us like a stroke of genius—what better grudge match could there be than between a bunch of rival yacht clubs with old scores to settle? Since Garrard and our fellow Marbleheader Tim Sheehy are members of the Boston Yacht Club, we had no choice but to sign up.

Too bad about the recession…We arrived in Tortola on the morning of Monday, March 29, to find that just two other club teams had entered: one from the Royal BVI Yacht Club, another from Puerto Rico’s Club Nautico de San Juan. But hey, you only need two boats for a race! We were a subset of the Bareboat B class, which numbered another 10 boats ranging from 36 to 44 feet, so we’d be going for two prizes; the IYCC and the Bareboat B trophy.

DSC_0008_SI

The real title of this event is the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, the latter part of which consists of a race from Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola to the Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda, and another race back to Nanny Cay two days later. The intervening day is spent lounging around the Bitter End or tucked away in one of the surrounding anchorages.

It proved a fine way to dial in the boat and ourselves. The Jeanneau 42i’s are about perfect for this concept; big enough to hold a good-sized crew in comfort, small enough to be fun to sail, and responsive to proper tuning. After a fairly dismal first race in which we watched glumly as boat after boat passed us, we tweaked the rig and the sails and went over the side to scrub the bottom—a procedure that the merciless Garrard had us repeat every morning thereafter. We did much better on the race back to Tortola, and, since we had the marketing manager for Heineken on board, celebrated with a case of Amsterdam’s finest while holed up in a small bay on Peter Island. We wisely decided not to appear at the opening night party in Nanny Cay. Snorkeling on the reef and firing up the grill on the boat was about as much action as we could handle.

Related

SouthernOcean

The 50th Anniversary of the Golden Globe

Here we go! The 50th anniversary of the Golden Globe, the first singlehanded nonstop round-the-world race, is upon us. On July 1 one tribute event, the Golden Globe Race 2018, will start out of Les Sables d’Olonne, France, with a fleet of 19 amateur skippers setting out in ...read more

180621-X01-Landing-Page

Volvo Ocean Race Cliffhanger

After racing over 44,000 miles round the world and battling their way past the world’s great capes, including the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, it’s all come down to the final 700-mile leg from Gothenburg, Sweden, to the Hague. Brunel, Mapfre, Dongfeng: going into the ...read more

Stearns Photo

Racing the Solo Mac for a Cause

There are plenty of reasons to do a Chicago-Mac race, and Rich Stearns, who has done literally dozens of ‘em should know. This year, though, he’s doing the Solo-Mac for an especially important reason: to help those with prostate cancer.“Two years ago, I was diagnosed with ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comRafting dangerOne unseen danger when sailing yachts lie alongside one another for a convivial night is that if they happen roll to a wash or begin to move in an unexpected sea, the spreaders can clash ...read more

180615-01 Lead

A Dramatic Comeback in the Volvo

After winning three of the last four legs in the Volvo Ocean Race (and coming in second in the fourth), Dutch-flagged Brunel is now tied for first overall with Spanish-flagged Mapfre and Chinese-flagged Dongfeng following the completion of Leg 10 from Cardiff, Wales, to ...read more

MFS-5-2018-Propan-SP02

Tohatsu LPG-powered 5hp Propane Motor

Gassing it UpTired of ethanol-induced fuel issues? Say goodbye to gasoline. Japanese outboard maker Tohatsu has introduced an LPG-powered 5hp kicker that hooks up to a propane tank for hours of stress-free running. Available in short-, long- or ultra-long-shaft versions, the ...read more