Safe Passage to St. Maarten - Sail Magazine

Safe Passage to St. Maarten

For many of the crew—myself included—it was the stuff of dreams. Thundering past the committee boat was the Wally 82 Highland Fling. Off in the distance, the Reichel/Pugh 90 Rambler threw in a quick gybe as the R/P 75 Titan 15 suddenly appeared from under our genoa, her razor-sharp bow slicing the cobalt waves. It was day two of the 30th annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Skies were blue, it
Author:
Publish date:
STMAARTEN.interior

For many of the crew—myself included—it was the stuff of dreams. Thundering past the committee boat was the Wally 82 Highland Fling. Off in the distance, the Reichel/Pugh 90 Rambler threw in a quick gybe as the R/P 75 Titan 15 suddenly appeared from under our genoa, her razor-sharp bow slicing the cobalt waves. It was day two of the 30th annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Skies were blue, it was blowing in the high teens, and life was good.

I was sailing aboard the Farr 65 Spirit of Minerva, courtesy of San Francisco-based SafePassageSailing LLC, a company that makes it possible for sailors of all backgrounds to get a taste of the “rock star” sailing life and have a great time in the process.

For this event we had about a half dozen Texans aboard, along with Minerva’s regular crew from the training and chartering company Ondeck Ltd. We also had an exceptional afterguard—Olympic veteran and 2007 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, Sally Barkow, and America’s Cup and Pegasus Racing Team veteran Sean “Doogie” Couvreux.

Unfortunately, things were pretty fluky on day one of the regatta. But by the time day two rolled around, St. Maarten’s famed sun and wind were once again well established. The race committee started things off with a pair of hard-fought inshore windward-leeward races. After that came a coastal race around the west end of the island from Simpson Bay to Marigot—exhausting, but vintage Caribbean sailing.

Perhaps the best part of all came afterward, during our crew meeting in the cockpit on the hook in Marigot Bay. Summing up the day’s events, Couvreux and Barkow complimented the crew on how well it had done despite having only been together a few days. The Farr 65 is a big, heavy boat and a challenge to handle, especially on an inshore course. As Couvreux put it, when the wind is up, boats like the Spirit of Minerva can bite back, hard.

He also singled out crewmember Dayna Bryant for her work in the pit. An experienced sailor and secretary of the Grapevine Sailing Club in Grapevine, Texas, she had struggled to make the transition to the big rig, but now had things well in hand. I, for one, was amazed. As I told Dayna afterward, she had me completely fooled. Up by the mast, jumping halyards and wrestling with the headsails, I’d assumed she’d been doing this kind of thing for years.

That, of course, is the beauty of an outfit like SafePassageSailing. Crewing on big boats ain’t rocket science, but it sure can be tough sometimes getting a ride, especially at an event like the Heineken. By throwing in its lot with SafePassageSailing, Spirit of Minerva’s crew was able to not only hone its sailing skills but create the memories of a lifetime.

Related

USCGReadyForRescue_Identifier_FullColor

USCG Ready for Rescue Challenge

The U.S. Coast Guard is now collaborating with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on something it calls the “Ready for Rescue,” a $255,000 prize competition that is looking for ways that will make it easier to locate people, MOB victims in particular, in the water.The ...read more

04-CLR1718md1085-jpg

A Historic Win for Wendy Tuck

This past summer Australian sailor, Wendy Tuck (inset), became the first woman to win a round-the-world yacht race when she and her crew aboard Sanya Serenity Coast claimed the overall victory in the 2017-18 Clipper Race. “I am just so happy,” Tuck said at the finish in ...read more

daviscards

Davis Instruments: Quick Reference Cards

CHECK THESEIf you’re sailing with new crew this summer or your kids have suddenly and inexplicably started to look up from their phones and take an interest in the finer points of cruising, these Quick Reference Cards from Davis are a great way to further their boating education. ...read more

01-rbir18-596

Another Epic Round Britain Race

There are basically two kinds of offshore sailboat races out there: those that take place annually, like the Fastnet and Chicago-to-Mackinac races; and those that take place every other year, like the Transpac and Newport-Bermuda race, in part so the competitors have sufficient ...read more

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more