Steve Ormond

Crew, Lady, Catalina 470First-time Caribbean 1500 Crew MemberTrying to land a berth as a crewmember on a Tortola-bound Caribbean 1500 vessel is a bit like one of those middle school dances, where the boys and girls try to match up without knowing much about each other, where there is competition for the best partners and where the
Author:
Publish date:
Ormand_200x

Crew, Lady, Catalina 470

First-time Caribbean 1500 Crew Member

Trying to land a berth as a crewmember on a Tortola-bound Caribbean 1500 vessel is a bit like one of those middle school dances, where the boys and girls try to match up without knowing much about each other, where there is competition for the best partners and where the potential rewards are great. Imagine my surprise when, unlike the middle school dances when my success was very limited, I landed a berth on S/V Lady, owned by Charlie and Jenny McNamara!

At 1200 on November 2, 2009, we crossed the starting line at Thimble Shoals light, and were off in a flurry of maneuvering and avoiding a naval carrier task force that departed at the same time. Eight days later, at 0321, November 9, 2009, we crossed the finish line next to Soper’s Hole at Tortola, covering 1,294 nautical miles in steady northeasterly breezes of 20-25 knots.

The course took us over the Gulf Stream at its narrowest part, off Cape Hatteras, while northeast winds kicked up large seas by opposing the current. That was exhilaratingly fast and scary, but Lady handled the conditions like a champ. We were consistently sailing in nine to ten knots, while rolling up and over large swells.

Some tips for new ocean sailors: don’t try to use the toilets standing up, unless you are well braced and prepared to clean up your misses. Make sure that your trips below are necessary and rare, because every movement about the boat is a challenge and risks injury. Hold on to solid structures.

No account of a voyage would be complete without comment on the food. Jenny made it her job to keep us all in sailing trim by creating full lunches and gourmet dinners each day (although we skipped on the first evening due to sea sickness). She always apologized that they were one-bowl meals, but we ate like kings: chicken paprika with dumplings; roast beef stew in wine with biscuits and butter; red beans and rice with sausages; brownies; chicken stew with mushrooms and rice; beef stroganoff; beef chili.

All in all, a very satisfying experience, with new friends, gut wrenching and challenging sailing, all ending up in paradise. If this was a middle school dance, I got the best Lady.

Related

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com No chafe, safe stay  If you’re leaving the boat unattended for a longish period, there’s a lot to be said for cow-hitching the shorelines, as this sailor did. They’ll never let go, and so long as the ...read more

belize600x

Charter Special: Belize

It would be hard to imagine a more secure spot than the Sunsail base on the outskirts of the beachside community of Placencia, Belize. The entire marina is protected by a robust seawall with a channel scarcely a few boatlengths across. It’s also located far enough up Placencia ...read more

DSC00247

DIY: a Top-to-Bottom Refit

I found my sailing “dream boat” in the spring of 1979 while racing on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Everyone had heard about the hot new boat in town, and we were anxiously awaiting the appearance of this new Pearson 40. She made it to the starting line just before the race ...read more

01-oysteryachts-regattas-loropiana2016_063

Light-air Sails and How to Handle Them

In the second of a two-part series on light-air sails, Rupert Holmes looks at how today’s furling gear has revolutionized sail handling off the wind. Read part 1 here. It’s easy to look at long-distance racing yachts of 60ft and above with multiple downwind sails set on roller ...read more

HanseCharles

Video Tour: Hanse 348

“It’s a smaller-size Hanse cruiser, but with some big-boat features,” says SAIL’s Cruising Editor, Charles J. Doane. At last fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, Doane had a chance to take a close look at the new Hanse 348. Some of the boat’s highlights include under-deck galleries for ...read more

amalfitown

Charter Destination: Amalfi Coast

Prego! Weeks after returning from our Italian flotilla trip last summer, I was still feeling the relaxed atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast. It’s a Mediterranean paradise, with crystal-clear waters, charming hillside towns and cliffside villages, plenty of delicious food and wine, ...read more

image005

Inside or Outside When Sailing the ICW

Last April, my wife, Marjorie, and I decided to take our Tartan 4100, Meri, north to Maryland from her winter home in Hobe Sound, Florida. This, in turn, meant deciding whether to stay in the “Ditch” for the duration or go offshore part of the way. Although we had both been ...read more

MK1_30542

SailGP: There’s a New Sailing Series in Town

San Francisco was the venue of the biggest come-from-behind victory in the history of the America’s Cup when Oracle Team USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand in 2013, so it seems only fitting that the first American round of Larry Ellison’s new SailGP pro sailing series will be ...read more