Skip to main content

Barely There Page 2

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

The regatta itself is held over the Friday/Saturday/Sunday, and all races start in the Sir Francis Drake Channel off Nanny Cay. There might be more spectacular places to start a race, but offhand I can’t think of any. We arrived at the line for Friday’s first race with our tails up, feeling good about the boat and ourselves. Naturally, this called for a rude awakening. In the first race, which was dogged by light winds, we watched our Puerto Rican rivals pull out a strong lead to eventually beat us by a good 3 minutes. Ouch! Race two was a different story, though, and we used the freshening breeze well to take an early lead and hold off the hard-charging Puerto Ricans.

Saturday’s race was just as satisfying, for us at least. Once again we sailed a blinder to take the gun again, finishing well clear of the Club Nautico boys (and girl), with the BVI team having another bad day. This put us in the lead by just one point; as long as we finished ahead of the Club Nautico team next day, we would win both the IYCC and Bareboat B! We retreated to our private cove and exultantly demolished another case of Heineken and a bottle of rum.

It was all or nothing the next day, literally. The first race was cancelled for lack of wind, just as we broke clear of the pack to take the lead after a painfully slow run to the back of Peter Island. We were right up at the front again after the restart, but made a poor tactical call that saw the Puerto Ricans do a horizon job on us. To rub salt into our wounded egos, the BVI team on the third Jeanneau 42i had finally found some form, and they too beat us. As the sage once said: some days dog; some days lamppost.

At least we got onto the podium for the first time in three bareboat regattas, finishing second in the IYCC and third in Bareboat B behind our Puerto Rican rivals and a well-sailed Beneteau 36. The prize-giving celebration at Nanny Cay was everything that regatta parties usually are, and it was a subdued crew that departed the Sunsail base for points north next morning.

We had enjoyed a week in one of the world’s finest sailing destinations, we’d had some excellent racing against skilled and motivated opponents, and we’d finally got to the podium. The stage is set for a rematch in 2011.

Click here to read sister story.

Related

00-LEAD-210918_11HR_AZIMUT48HRS_AMO_00411

11th Hour Racing Team's Green Mission

“I’ll admit, it’s still hard to watch the boat leave the dock sometimes,” says former Volvo Ocean Race sailor Mark Towill. Since meeting during a Transpac campaign over 15 years ago, he and his teammate Charlie Enright have sailed thousands of miles together aboard two Volvo ...read more

D61_JKELAGOPIAN-3

Boat Review: Dufour 61

Dufour, long one of France’s most well-respected builders, has been producing sailboats in La Rochelle since the dawn of fiberglass boatbuilding. Having recently merged with another La Rochelle-based builder, Fountaine Pajot, Dufour has now joined other European mass-production ...read more

m138123_14_00_210609_TORE02_SE_2152_2504-2048x

The Ocean Race to be “Climate Positive”

The 2023 Ocean Race intends to be one of the world’s first climate positive sporting events, offsetting more greenhouse gasses than are produced. The two-fold effort means cutting emissions by 75 percent and investing in ocean projects that sequester carbon and restore ocean ...read more

01-LEAD-Ancients-3-2048x

Cruising Lake Superior

Almost anywhere a sailor drops the hook someone else has been there before. We are hardly ever the first. That remote Maine harbor without a soul in sight: there’s a lobster trap. The south coast of Newfoundland: the crumbling remains of a fisherman’s cabin lie hidden among the ...read more

01-LEAD-Tablet-Holder-4

Fabricating a Tablet Holder

During the pandemic, I was stuck aboard Guiding Light, a Lagoon 410, in St. Lucia for over a month. During that time, as I worked on the boat, I started by doing a spring cleaning in my spares locker and finding some parts and material that I forgot I had. As soon as I saw them, ...read more

00-LEAD-AdobeStock_486335954

A Catamaran for a New Era

Anacortes, Washington, is an unassuming sea-salty town near the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound, and the Betts Boats yard is easy for a passerby to miss. But within Betts’ facilities, the dawn of an era in Pacific Northwest production boatbuilding could be breaking with the ...read more

X5_plus_slide-01

Boat Review: Xquisite X5 Plus

The Xquisite X5 Plus is a major update of the boat that SAIL awarded Best Large Multihull and Best Systems titles in 2017. The changes were not just cosmetic, but genuine improvements to an already fine boat, making it lighter, faster and less dependent on fuel. The builder’s ...read more

01-LEAD-AdobeStock_40632434

Cruising: Offshore Prep Talk

When I began preparing Minx, my 1987 Pearson 39-2, for extended Caribbean cruising, I had to balance my champagne wish list against my beer budget. Every buck spent on the boat before leaving would be one less frosty can of Carib down in the islands. On the other hand, I had to ...read more