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The Race That Wasn't and the Bachelorette Party That Was Page 2

We arrived in Tortola determined, if not to win the cruising class, to at least have a creditable go in the annual BVI Spring Regatta with the all woman crew of “Team SAIL”. We looked damned good in our pink team shirts and matching pink Crocs and were sure to look equally good on the water aboard the Moorings 51.5 charterboat, Caribbean Soul. And if we failed…at least we escaped a cold

Enter “The List”. While I innocently listened to music on the flight to St. Thomas, the rest of the crew had been busy compiling a bachelorette scavenger hunt consisting of 25 things I had to collect or do before the end of the week. The list ranged from simple debauchery to full on humiliation.

With the list in mind, it was convenient how easy it is for a boatload of women to meet fellow sailors. At the Bitter End alone we were invited for drinks aboard two different boats where we were able to “steal” a monogrammed item, acquire a team shirt from a competing boat, and burst into song upon asking the crew if they knew the way to San Jose.

The third day saw us circling the start line in 30 knots of wind watching high-end raceboats bury their rails soaking the rows of color-coordinated crew. We began the race with little fanfare, but as we turned downwind we enjoyed a beautiful sail back to Nanny Cay. After crossing the finish line with as little fanfare, we headed back to The Moorings for the night. The crew was in high spirits at the race party that night and a few more items were knocked off our “list”. The next morning we decided, with strong urgings from our captain, to withdraw from the regatta. With wind conditions so extreme, boats were being damaged in every race. The Moorings reported a lot of damage, a collision left one raceboat with a gaping hole, and a sailor aboard another was hit by the boom and was airlifted home with a broken neck. Being on a charterboat, it seemed prudent to play it safe.

On Friday we left the races behind and sailed from Road Town to The Bight on Norman Island where we enjoyed some remarkable snorkeling. I ticked off another item from the list when I requested a drink at the bar in snorkel and fins and was rewarded for the exhibition when a complete stranger paid our drink tab. Now we were really enjoying the splendor of the BVIs: turquoise waters, exquisite snorkeling, rum drinks, and white sand beaches.

The next day, after an early morning snorkel at The Caves, we sailed back across the Sir Francis Drake Channel and past Tortola to Little Harbour on Jost Van Dyke. There are three restaurants in Little Harbour which take turns collecting mooring fees. Cynthia Harris, owner of Harris’ Place, was all smiles when she dinghied up to Caribbean Soul, and she impressed us as much with her ebullient personality as with her description of her delicious dinner specials. Dinner ashore was now a must.

Cynthia was radiant that evening in her yellow sundress, and the lobster was unreal. We were regaled with stories, treated to soup and salad, and cajoled into dessert. We tried them all!

The next morning, after watching the resident goats pick their way down the hillside as we breakfasted, we plotted our next move and were off to Sandy Cay for more snorkeling, sunning, and a hike through this tiny speck of an island. Walking through the winding paths in its interior brought to mind the tropical setting of Lord of the Flies, but Lord of the Mosquitos may have been more apt. I was forced to retreat with red welts covering my body.

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