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May 2012

Pests in Paradise

Yep. Hate to burst your bubble, but flies, gnats, fruit flies, (shudder) cockroaches, and termites all thrive in the Caribbean. We’ve been lucky/diligent and have had no infestation of cockroaches, flour bugs, or termites.

  • All fruit and veggies are washed in vinegar water on deck.
  • No cardboard comes on board. Ever.
  • No paper flour or sugar bags come on board, either.
  • Bay leaves are scattered in all dry good storage areas and placed inside of all dry good containers. (EW has to be careful not to end up with a bay leaf in his cereal. He deals.)
  • We have heard about termites swarming to boats, shedding their wings, and crawling aboard. (Enough to give EW nightmares.) So far, no worries.

But many kinds of flies can be a problem.

I dealt with fruit flies in Maine. Setting out bowls of vinegar topped with dish soap and crowing with the little suckers drowned .

Last year, we met Carl and Carrie on s/v/ Sanctuary in Guadeloupe, where there were an uncomfortable number of house flies due to low winds. Carrie is a hoot; smart, funny, fast-talking Florida woman, and very knowledgeable. She also has a great sense of humor, so I was skeptical when she and Carl told us their method for reducing the fly inventory.

“Didn’t y’all see those bags hanging in the restaurants in Luperon?”

“No.”

“Every restaurant does it. They hand small baggies up with water in them – and a penny.”

“Yeaaah?”

“Sure!” And she gave us some story about the flies seeing their reflection and the penny and believing that it was a wasp. Really. We didn’t believe her, but we didn’t like the flies, so after they left that evening I hung up water filled bags all over the boat.P4261054

Afterward, I told EW, “If Carrie is pranking on us, I’ll never live it down.” I half expected her to laugh uproariously on her next visit to La Luna, saying, “I knew you’d fall for it!”

She didn’t laugh, but commented that I had taken her advice. I think they worked. Or we moved harbors. Or the wind picked up. We left the bags up, and replaced the ones that leaked with new bags every few months. Carrie came aboard in St. Thomas, and was surprised we still had them up. “There aren’t any flies here.”

“Yes,” I said. “Because the bags are up.”

We’re still not sure it really works, but we rarely have an infestation of house flies. So the bags stay up.

We do have a few house flies, and in St. Martin we’ve had small black flies that don’t bite and aren’t attracted to vinegar. They are attracted to sinks. I hate them. I hate any pest, particularly ones that enjoy both the head sinks and the galley sink. This means war.

These little guys are hard to sneak up on with a normal fly swatter, but we’ve found a secret weapon…..a fly swatter that fries those puppies. P5170004

Faster than you can say, “Snap, Crackle, Pop!” I only have to tap counter next to one of those little flies, and the fly will jump up to escape a swatting and fly right into my gizmo. “SNAP!” Every kill is accompanied by a rewarding sound track. Each “Snap!” is usually followed by my crow of delight, “HA! Die you little sucker!”

There may be flies in paradise, but I have a weapon and I know how to use it.

Go ahead, sucker. Make my day.

NOTE: For your information, EW was the first one to accidently zap himself on the finger. By the way he jumped and shouted, I believe we have a formidable weapon. I’ve refrained from trying to fry flies that are sitting on EW’

NOTE 2:  He does not usually smile when armed with this zapper. He usually has a ferocious face and is saying something like, “ DIE, you sucker!”

New to Harts at Sea? I've written a book -- The Harts At Sea Sailing to Windward -- about our first year of cruising, from Maine to Grenada. It's available on Kindle (or Kindle for PC or Kindle for Apple) for only $2.99. No Kindle? You can download Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac at no cost. 


I Can Haz Champagne?

Dear friends John and Dora on s/v Windrifter spent much of the winter in St. Martin. While Dora’s mom visited, they stayed on the dock on the Dutch side, but their preferred anchorage was on the French side and their preferred restaurant is Café de Paris Brasserie at Marina Port la Royale, where Dora has achieved “Captain” status. She’s thinking of offering a non-charter charter service. Here’s how it works:

Dora visits an island she likes (Hint: She likes French islands – particularly those with her name, St. Martin.) She spends a few weeks scouting out cafes, Belgian chocolatiers, restaurants, and beaches and then she introduces others to her favorite delights. Many restaurants in the Caribbean give the Captains of crewed yacht charters a free meal. (Sort of like bus drivers get in Maine restaurants during leaf peeping season.) Dora gets hugs, bussed on the cheek in a very French manner, and welcomed with the best table and service. Those of us in her wake get to enjoy that and more.

Jeff and Sandy from s/v Magic Inspiration had time between charters to join us in St. Martin, and arrived in time for Jeff’s birthday. The six of us dined at Dora’s favorite restaurant – a water-front café, presided over by the handsome Mahmet – which offers an eclectic menu from fois gras, to thin crust pizza,to mahi-mahi, to risotto, to lamb chops. Desserts included many kinds of ice creams and glaces, crem broulet, and more.

So we dinghied in to Marigot, and were greeted effusively by Mahmet. (I love, love, love French effusive greeting – three air kisses, left, right, left.) First of all, it was a great evening because we six were together again to talk and laugh and share our adventures from the past months. Secondly, the wine and food were fantastic. Finally – after dessert – the lights dimmed in the restaurant. Having traveled in the Caribbean islands for some months, all six of us assumed there was a power problem. Then we saw it – a bucket of ice, containing a bottle of champagne, lit by a huge sparkler. 

Happy Birthday, Jeff!  He was delighted, but didn’t want to get close enough to blow it out, and wisely let it fizzle out on it’s own. Our delightful and expert server (“I’m from Italy so you don’t have to practice your French with me.”) popped the cork, and we drank the bubbly.

Happy Birthday, indeed.

NOTE: I neglected to take photos of this event, so I "stole" these from Sandy's Facebook Page.

New to Harts at Sea? I've written a book -- The Harts At Sea Sailing to Windward -- about our first year of cruising, from Maine to Grenada. It's available on Kindle (or Kindle for PC or Kindle for Apple) for only $2.99. No Kindle? You can download Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac at no cost. 


If it Were Easy, I’d Have Nothing to Write About

Poor EW. He was just trying to be nice to me.

We bought a sun shower before we left Maine, envisioning the warm showers after snorkeling and swimming. That worked great until we reached Antigua in April our first year out, when the Caribbean sun worked with the sun shower to spray painfully hot water onto our salt drenched bodies. It would get so hot, that blisters formed on the fiberglass cabin top under the sun shower. That’s too hot. Still, we kept the sun shower on deck, sitting on top of a piece of plastic grating. We rarely used it, and one day EW discovered that the shower was empty as the sun had succeeded in destroying the plastic.

So, no showers on deck. New sailboats have exterior freshwater hot and cold water spigots. EW has talked about installing one (it’s in the box), but that would spray only cold water. Hmmm. We have a wonderful separate shower in the aft head, but the forward head is one of those shower-in-the-head-get-everything-wet showers. The head sole (floor) is a teak grate over a drain, and the toilet paper sits in a covered holder, designed to keep the paper dry while one showers. We never shower in that head.

I do, however use the shower to fill buckets, wash my hair at the sink, and stuff like that. The shower hung on a hook and had a flexible hose that wasn’t very long. It barely reached out the port light. I could wash my feet on deck, or partially fill our large buckets – but I would have to cant them to the side in order to aim the nozzle.

That’s the background. I’m not going to ask EW to run the piping to provide a hot and cold fresh water shower on the back deck – but that would be the perfect resolution. EW came up with a wonderful alternative – that’s the “being nice to me part”.

“Hey,” he said. “We have that extra deck wash down hose. I can install that in the forward head instead of the shower hose. That would reach out the port light and we could rinse off and shower on deck.”

Washing on deck isn’t simply a luxury. It’s a way to get the salt water and sand off our bodies and swim suits so that we don’t bring it below.

I was delighted. “Perfect! And I could fill laundry buckets.”

That was a number of weeks (months?) ago.

Whatever.

So, here we were in St. Martin/Sint Maarten where one can purchase nearly anything fairly reasonably. The first windless Saturday was “Repair Sails Day” for which EW had to help me take down the sails, position the sewing machine, and leave me alone. I had I told him that while were in this cruising provisioning/repair nirvana, I’d like him to 1) install the promised hose and 2) finally replace my clothesline. (Some of you will remember that he “stole” half of my clothes line for the six hour trek to the falls in Grenada.)

EW decided that he’d head off to ACE hardware and get the adaptors he needed to secure the hose to the hot and cold shower apparatus. I sewed. He returned, singing the praises of this amazing hardware store, showering me with a new clothes line and a pack of clothespins, and began his minor, no-big-deal plumbing job.

Remember, this project was his idea. I am not to blame.

I had positioned myself on the foredeck to repair the jib, and rumblings and grumblings from the forward head would float up through the hatch. Evidently things weren’t going smoothly, but I had no intention of getting involved. I was trying to thread a needle while standing on my head, and knew he could take care of himself. A while later, he asked whether I’d need to move the machine soon, because he had to go back to ACE. His timing was excellent, so he helped me set up in the cockpit to repair the mainsail, and then he was off again.

“Wait until you see this!” he exclaimed, upon returning.

“This” was a hose adaptor packet. In order to get one hose adapter, he had to purchase a blister pack with two nifty nozzles. One for cleaning and one for showering. Cool. I was done sewing and began picking up my mess and restoring the boat to order. More rumblings and grumblings and one huge outburst directed my attention to the forward head. This easy job? The one that was inspired by the extra wash down hose? It won’t work with that 3/8” hose because he can only find a clamp for 1/2” hose. He wasn’t happy.P5080216

He tried soap and heating the hose, clamping it on to the connector and hooking it up. That is when I entered the head and saw this:

I laughed.

A lot.

It started as a whoop, then veered into full-blown, gut-busting, guffaws. I mean really? This tower of fixtures is his idea of plumbing? (Can you see the drops of water where the 3/8” hose in the 1/2” clamp leaked the first, second, and third times?)

 

 

He went back to ACE to get a fifteen feet of hose, and returned with the only one they had – 25 feet long. He doesn’t want to cut it. Really.

 

Fine. He knew that the tower of fixtures looked like H E double P5080212hockey sticks, but thought 25 feet of hose would “make the head look bad,” and suggested that I would “disassemble it when you aren’t using it.”

“I don’t THINK so.” I replied indignantly. This whole thing was to make my life EASIER. There is nothing “easier” about assembling this contraption when I want water.”

Right now, it looks like this:

Do you like the screwdriver holding the hose to the former shower fixture? I don’t. Almost stabbed myself in the foot with it when it fell down as I was un-wrapping the hose. EW doesn’t want to drill any more holes into the wall. I said, “Fine. Remove the shower fixture holder, cover it with some sort of face plate – teak would be nice – and I’ll put a hook on it for the hose.”

He objected to that, at first, being still unsure of how the hose would look in the head. I laughed again – “Compared to this?” I waved my hand toward his plumbing tower. “I don’t think I’ll worry about it,”

We still are using the screwdriver for a holder. I’ve only mentioned it once in two weeks. However, I’ve used the hose when doing laundry week and it made the task much easier, so I’m happy.

I told him so, sayingP5080211, “Thank you for working so hard to make this work, Sweetie.”

La Luna. For me, the moon. Even if it looks like .. well.. this.

NOTE: See that dainty little white hose and nozzle on the counter to the left of the sink? That’s the old shower hose. It barely reached through the port light. Ugly wins, or, in this case, function over form.

 

 

 

 

New to Harts at Sea? I've written a book -- The Harts At Sea Sailing to Windward -- about our first year of cruising, from Maine to Grenada. It's available on Kindle (or Kindle for PC or Kindle for Apple) for only $2.99. No Kindle? You can download Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac at no cost. 


We Can Haz Wine?

So, one day John and Dora and EW and I were walking back to the dinghy dock from ACE Hardware in Sint Maartin, and we saw a sign for a wine wholesaler. EW and I are looking for replacement wine glasses and decided to check for them at Netco.

They had no glasses. We walked into the warehouse and one of the workers there quickly let us know about theWine Four looking at Wine 5-10-2012 4-34-50 PM 5-10-2012 4-34-50 PM retail wine store on the premises. It was closed, but Jos, the manager was in getting ready to meet with a few wine reps later that day. It turns out that he offers a Wine Tasting on Thursdays from 4 – 7. For $10.00 US, you taste 6 varieties of wine, then enjoy any of them you want for the remainder of the evening. He invited us to return on Thursday. I asked if he served any snacks and he said, “A bit. Plus we have the Domino’s Pizza menu.” Furthermore, he also pointed out that now they “had four picnic tables. We just made two new ones this week.”

Hmmm.

Wine Cruisers fixing food 5-10-2012 4-34-59 PMOf course EW and I we should “host” a party. John and Dora were in. We agreed that we’d bring a snack to share, and then we invited the crews from five other boats. All told, we were bringing 13 people to Jos’ wine tasting.  We also took chips and salsa, pinwheel roll-ups, humus, brie and bread, and other goodies. It turns out Jos makes an astounding salmon mousse. We arrived close to 4:30 – early for Jos – but it gave us time to wander the store and to set out the goodies.

Jos got into the cruising spirit rather Wine parking lot tables 5-10-2012 4-37-37 PMquickly, setting out the glasses on “our” two tables, and opening the first white wine of the Wine Jos opening the first bottle 5-10-2012 4-38-04 PMevening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It amused us to try delicious wines in the parking lot of a warehouse complex. While Jos was explaining the difference between the first two whites, a young man was testing the repairs on his motorcycle – revving it up and going up to the end of the driveway and back past us to the road. Wine Jos pouring first glass 5-10-2012 4-40-32 PM

It lent a certain ambiance to the occasion.

After five, local residents joined us – and we welcomed them by sharing our goodies as well as more of that wonderful salmon mousse that Jos had made. (No fool. He’d made two plates of his specialty, but didn’t set the second one out until other guests had arrived.)

Wine Sally and Dillon 5-10-2012 5-04-53 PM

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Table 1 5-10-2012 6-53-23 PM

Wine. Jos with the taste book 5-10-2012 5-00-37 PMWine Group shot 2 5-10-2012 6-34-30 PM 5-10-2012 6-34-30 PM

 

Wine Diana and Steve 5-10-2012 5-26-40 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine sign 5-10-2012 5-01-54 PM

 

 

Wine Jos pouring first glass 5-10-2012 4-40-32 PMWine Jeff and Sandy 5-10-2012 5-00-47 PMWine Stew Sally and Jos 5-10-2012 4-38-50 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Table 2 5-10-2012 6-53-16 PM

It was an amazing evening. We met a number of professionals and business owners from Sint Maartin – a federal prosecutor, her attorney husband, a restaurant owner – who is also the president of the local animal refuge center, an administrator from the Sint Maartin Marine Trades organization, and a professional couple from Holland who are working here for six months. We listened to Jos, sipped wine, discussed wine, shared baskets of crackers, talked, laughed, and enjoyed a rare gathering of cruisers and locals. I loved it.

Jos is a teacher at heart (and by training) and loved to answer our questions. Leslie had taken a wine tasting course, so she asked more in depth questions which helped all of us learn more. Jos actually has a case filled with “tastes” found in wines (such as oak, citrus, etc.) and brought out his book of the different tastes found in wines to help us in our discussion.

Sometime after 7:00 Jos finally and tactfully started to gather up the bottles and many of us chose wine to purchase. When we were done, Jos graciously agreed to drive our booty to the Island Water World marina where we’d left our dinghies.  The night was still young and a nearby casino beckoned. After all, it was free food Thursday. One of our party keeps his boat on the dock, so we loaded the wine into his cabin and took the dinghies to the casino’s dock.

Wine Casino shot 5-10-2012 8-50-25 PM

There we paid penny slots, had free (bad) wine, and ate a quite good Italian buffet. I left $1.75 ahead with the slots – but spent $3.00 in tips for the wait staff.

I like Sint Maartin.

John from Windrifter took this photo of Carl from Frolic taking a photo of Leslie (Frolic), Sally and Dillon (Orion), Dora (Windrifter), Ron (Molly Bloom), EW and me, Sandy and Jeff (Magic Inspiration). Steve and Diana from Dreams at Sea wisely took their sweet dog home after the wine tasting and (one assumes) got to bed earlier than we did.


An International Incident, or Just Another White Boat

It may have been a French/American thing, combined with a Male/Female thing. Whatever the underlying cause, one diminutive Frenchman really ticked me off in Antigua. I sincerely hope that no-one followed our VHF conversation when I finally got him to switch channels.

During my heavy weather row for exercise and inner peace in Antigua, I happened upon a lost plastic Raymarine instrument cover. Knowing it must have blown off of someone’s boat and that they would surely like it returned, I struggled to maneuver the dinghy in the chop and 20 knot breeze so that I could rescue the cover. Over the next couple of days I announced my find on the VHF, but hadn’t received a response, so when EW and I went to shore, I took a notice for the bulletin board outside of the SeaBreeze Café.

That afternoon, while EW was ashore getting a propane tank filled,  a French gentleman hailed La Luna.  In Antigua the boaters use 68 as a hailing channel in the harbor and we (well most of us) know to switch channels when we’ve reached our party in order to leave 68 free for hailing. This gentleman forgot, and spoke in lengthy sentences, so it was a minute or so before I could suggest we move to a different channel. He said, “Of course,” and followed me up the dial, so to speak.  I sincerely hope no one else followed, as I know that at some point in the ensuing conversation I  spoke in a snippy manner. So did he.

He had been told by a friend that we had found his instrument cover. I was delighted to be able to return it to the owner and told him so. He asked, “What marina are you near?” I said, that really, I wasn’t near any of the three marinas. I was anchored in the middle of the bay. “Well, I need to know where to find you.” I got that and went up on deck to better description of our location. There really was no better description. We were anchored almost exactly in the middle of the harbor. We were near three race/sail training boats from On Deck and all of them have prominent paint jobs and sail covers. I told the gentleman that we were anchored on the port side of the On Deck fleet.

He didn’t know what I meant, and got a tad snippy, again asking which marina I was near and asking me how I thought he could find me. I asked him where he was located. He also has a white boat, a multi-hull, and he was anchored at the head of the bay, up wind of us. (Well d’uh. The cover must have floated/blown away from him to us. He had to be in that direction. Ergo, I had to be aft of him in the middle of the damn bay. I did not voice my opinion. I didn’t get snippy until he said, “How am I supposed to find you in 3000 boats?” Sometimes a French accent is charming. At other times one can take the most maddening imperial tone with it. This was one of those times.

We went back and forth like that for a number of minutes. I told him we had a large American flag on our stern, the name of our boat, her color scheme. (Yes, we are a white boat, but our toast colored canvas is not as common, and we have a red boot stripe and bottom.) I told him I was a tall blond woman and I’d stand on deck and watch for him. Still, “Humph! I cannot find you like this in all of those boats. What marina are you near?” with a tone that suggested I was an imbecile.

Anchoring with Frenchmen

Good thing I chose not to work with the diplomatic corps. There were not  3000 boats in the anchorage. As a last resort, I began to give him my GPS coordinates, but he cut me off. So I cut him off. “What is the name of your boat? I will leave your cover at the Yacht Club Marina with your name on it. Good day.” And I changed the channel.

He ticked me off.

Not ten minutes later I heard someone with a French accent hailing “La Luna”. Seems he had found me, without my presence on deck. I grabbed the cover and he pulled his dinghy alongside, looking up at me with an imperious air. (I’m not kidding about that and the petty person inside of me want’s to relate that he’d be looking up to me even if we had been standing on the deck together.)

I smiled. “You found me. Good.”

“Yes,” he said. “Do you know how?”

“No.”

“Well, I’ve been sailing for some time and I’ve begun to know how you American’s think.”  Trust me, this was said with disdain, not admiration, but with self congratulations for his powers of interpretation. 

I was unimpressed, and my first thought was to say, “Logically?”

I refrained. Barely.

On the chart, we are anchored at the star. Pretty much in the middle of the anchorage, and equidistant from both marinas. The marinas are marked by sailboats and I’ve drawn arrows to point to each. I assume my French friend was anchored near that red squiggle at the head of the bay.


Laughing in the Rain with “Old” Friends

Of course we made it to St. Martin in time to play with John and Dora of S/V Windrifter. They will leave here this month to sail back to New England– a trip I envy for a number of reasons. Their plan is to take care of some business, sail Maine and Nova Scotia and return to the Caribbean for the winter. Based on our (somewhat) tentative plans, we may not see them for a couple of years since we hope to sail in the opposite direction.

While every Caribbean island is unique, St. Martin is doubly so. One side of the island is a French “department” and the other side was part of the Netherlands for many years and is a new country under the Netherlands flag. Boaters generally opt to check in on the French side, because it’s cheaper. Once that’s done everyone is allowed to move freely around the island. In fact, Everyone accepts US dollars, but most stores show French or Dutch prices.

St. Martin BayWe sailed up from Antigua overnight, reaching to St. Martin, which means the wind was abeam, we were upright, sailed directly to our goal, and all was right with the world. We arrived into Simpson Bay around 7:00 AM and anchored off the beach on the south shore. (That black boat shaped thing in the lower right.) To enter the bay, one must pass through either the Dutch or the French Bridge.  The Dutch bridge is just to starboard (right) of that little black boat. The French bridge is near the black and yellow star in the upper right.  Highlighters on the left and right show the line of demarcation for the two countries. One mostly shops on the Dutch side, but many stores on the French side offer equal exchange between dollars and Euros and, as you may imagine, they have lovely restaurants over there.

J & D in Dinghy 4-27-2012 8-34-55 AMWe thought about anchoring in the bay as many do. We checked in with the local cruisers’ net and soon had a call from Windrifter. Very shortly afterward they arrived with fresh baguettes and croissants. I love John and Dora.P4271069

 

 

 

 

They suggested that we would enjoy anchoring in the lagoon, near them, and stayed aboard to pilot us through the 9:30 bridge raising. We anchored near that tiny red cross between Mounty Fortune and the little island, and dinghied up the bay to check in with the French.

We’ve shopped at Island Waterworld and Budget Marine. I’ve done some minor grocery shopping at the large grocery store on the Dutch side and have discovered that many of my staples are much cheaper than they were in St. Thomas. We haven’t yet been to the Cost U Less here, but I’ve started a list.

We’ve missed the hubbub of St. Martin in the season. This week the boats have begun to move north, south, and east, to the states, Grenada and Trini, or Europe. The mega-yacht docks are nearly empty, but the tourists still flock to the island and I understand cruise ships are still landing. (One of the best things about the lagoon Marigot/Simpson (depending on where one anchors) is that the cruise ships visit the southern end of the island. We’ll occasionally see a few cruise ship passengers on a boating excursion, but they have no impact on our lives.

In the week we’ve been here, Dora and I have walked all but one of the mornings here – long invigorating walks all along the roadways that line the lagoon. The four of us celebrated our arrival at Barnacles, enjoying their food and the open mic night. Last night we were invited for dinner aboard Molly Bloom. Captain Ron (no kidding) served outstanding tacos and fixings and a rousing game of dominoes. Unfortunately, it began to rain just as we were leaving our boats for a short trip to the shops before dinner. It poured while we were in the stores, so I purchased a box of garbage bags to keep us dry-ish on our way to Capt. Ron’s.

Those tall kitchen bags aren’t as big as one would expect. But they did help. Ron took one look at us and grabbed his camera while we tied the dinghy. I don’t blame him at all. Who could ignore this?P5030175

 

SIDEBAR:  So, we were in the dinghy just leaving the shops area and heading for Capt. Ron’s boat when Dora laughingly pulled one of the whole garbage bags over here head to keep the rain out. I took one look and broke into song. To the tune of “Allouetta”:

Suffocation. All around the nation.

Suffocation. It’s a brand new game.

First you buy a plastic bag.

Then you put it on your head.

Go to bed.

Wake up dead.

Dahh Ahh Ahh Ahh.

 

My companions, including EW, looked at me with shock and awe and burst into laughter. None of them had ever heard it before, and I’ve no idea where I learned it. EW just kept shaking his head and rolling his eyes. Dora made me sing it twice more.

Dahh Ahh Ahh Ahh.

New to Harts at Sea? I've written a book -- The Harts At Sea Sailing to Windward -- about our first year of cruising, from Maine to Grenada. It's available on Kindle (or Kindle for PC or Kindle for Apple) for only $2.99. No Kindle? You can download Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac at no cost. 


La Luna, the Classics, and New Friends

EW and I invited guests to join us on the last day at the Antigua Classic Boat Regatta. We had decided to leave Falmouth Harbor that day, Monday, watch the starts and head up to Jolly Harbor, with the plan to make the overnight sail to St Martin as quickly as possible. John and Dora from s/v Windrifter and former neighbors in South Portland, were in St. Martin waiting for weather to head back to New England for the season. It’s possible we won’t see each other for a couple of years so getting to St Martin was important.

Newer cruising friends, Ted and Marita from s/v Aurora had visited the Classics Regatta sans boat. They had sailed Aurora back to Grenada from St. Thomas for a planned three week haul-out, but as those things go, were still out of the water. Having made plans to meet non-cruising friends Dephanie and Don in Antigua, Ted and Marita had flown to the island and taken a room at small guest cottages on the shore. We invited all four to join us on Monday for the sail to Jolly Harbor. They would spend the night and take a bus or taxi back to Falmouth Harbor the next day.

The day was beautiful, and the racers enjoyed much more wind than they’d had the other three days of racing. There were largish swells from the east, making it a tad uncomfortable for the land-lubbers, but they were great sports and excellent guests. We had a beautiful day on the water, anchoring in the sands off of Jolly Harbor in the middle of the afternoon, just in time for Don and Dephanie and me to take a nice swim off the boat. Since the sail had been a tad uncomfortable for Dephanie and Don, I actually got away with only preparing one meal that day, a “lupper” late in the afternoon. Pihn and Joanne had gifted us with a packet of Maine lobster, so planning the menu was easy. We had lobster salad roll-ups for lupper, and dessert amidst a game of dominoes, truly initiating Dephanie and Don into the cruising life.

The next morning, I made our favorite frittata, adding in the left over lobster meat to make it truly special. I was channeling my inner charter chef. We haven’t had many guests this year, but look forward to more. These four were easy – boaters, good sports, sense of humor – what more could we ask?

Elena pre-start monday 2 4-23-2012 11-09-28 AM

 

Here’s Elena, before her start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guests at Sea Monday's Starts 4-23-2012 10-55-54 AM

 

Our guests, Dephanie, Ted, EW, Marita, and Don – enjoying a day sailing off of Antigua. What’s not to like?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kairos Monday  4-23-2012 11-08-55 AM

Kairos before the start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing before the start Monday 4-23-2012 11-11-07 AM

These two boats -- Rebecca in the foreground and Firefly just behind her -- race in the “Spirit of Tradition” Class. They enjoyed sparring before their start. We enjoyed watching it, and debated whether they’d make it back to the line for great starts.

They did not. The other two boats in the class started at the gun. These two were late, but quickly made up the difference. It was thrilling to watch Rebecca walk the fleet.

 

 

 

 

USA 162 port 3 quarter zoom 4-23-2012 11-24-34 AM 4-23-2012 11-24-34 AM

Here she is, racing.

Oh my.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New to Harts at Sea? I've written a book -- The Harts At Sea Sailing to Windward -- about our first year of cruising, from Maine to Grenada. It's available on Kindle (or Kindle for PC or Kindle for Apple) for only $2.99. No Kindle? You can download Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac at no cost. 


Antigua Classics Regatta, the View from the Top

Vantagepoint for Sunday's Starts 4-22-2012 10-10-36 AM

Sunday, April 22, began with a hike up in the hills along the coast of Falmouth Harbor. EW and I ended up perched high above the same bay we’d enjoyed on Friday. Instead of picking grape leaves and snorkeling, we watched the start of the day’s races.

 

We had a great view of the morning’s events … and saw Phin and Joanna who were back in their dinghy.

 

Our View.Spectator boats, commi 4-22-2012 10-17-43 AM 4-22-2012 10-17-43 AM.Spectator boats, commi 4-22-2012 10-17-43 AM

 

Lion's Whelp Tender Sunday 4-22-2012 10-40-02 AM

 

EW Watching the races 2 4-22-2012 10-27-45 AM

EW kept an eye on things with binoculars.

 

 

 

 

We arrived in time for the start of the Traditional Classes “Alpha” “Bravo” and “Charlie”, which include traditional Caribbean boats, like Jambalaya.

Jambolya Sunday 4-22-2012 10-19-59 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s their start:

Start of ABC Traditional 4-22-2012 10-18-32 AM

Red Traditional after start 4-22-2012 10-19-52 AMTwo of the ABC Traditional Fleet 4-22-2012 10-20-18 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then we, and the spectator boats and racing yachts, await the next start.

Waiting for the next start Sunday 4-22-2012 10-24-16 AM

 

We didn’t attend the Skippers’ Meeting, so all I know is this start is the “White Flag Class”. That will mean essentially nothing to you. But they are pretty boats. Many were also over early. None were made to do “360’s”. We learned afterward that anyone over early loses five minutes on their overall time. Hmmm. May be worth it. Their off! Black Flag Class 4-22-2012 10-32-42 AM 4-22-2012 10-32-42 AM

 

Here’s most of the class after the start. Those guys behind, aren’t really behind at all. They won’t lose any time due to starting early.  (Note, the boats going in the wrong direction are in a different fleet.)

White Flag Class after start 4-22-2012 10-33-45 AM

At the “Purple Class” start, either Tuiga missed the start altogether, or was over early and insisted on doing a 360. In any case, she turned back and started again.

Tuiga at Sunday Start 4-22-2012 10-49-02 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joanna and Phin were up close and personal with Tuiga’s second start on Sunday.

Joanna and Phin at Tuiga's Start Sunday 4-22-2012 10-49-56 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s them in the dinghy off Tuiga’s port quarter.

 

The “Pink Class” is for classic yachts, such as Elena, a gaff schooner.

Elena again Sunday 4-22-2012 11-19-51 AMTwo Classic Yachts 4-22-2012 11-18-48 AM

 

 

 

 

A number of the crew of the white boat are taking photos of the blue boat.

That’s what the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta is all about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final class to start is the “Spirit of Tradition” class – new boats which pay homage to traditional ideas. (Sort of.) (In ways I can’t see.)

But they are magnificent. It’s the only word one can use to describe them. Well, that and fast.

There were four boats in the class.

Last Race Sunday. All boats late to start 4-22-2012 11-33-39 AM

After the start, EW and I packed up our binoculars, camera, and water bottles, and headed back down the hill to meet up with Joanna and Phin. We had work to do.

For more information on this year’s Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta– visit their website.

New to Harts at Sea? I've written a book -- The Harts At Sea Sailing to Windward -- about our first year of cruising, from Maine to Grenada. It's available on Kindle (or Kindle for PC or Kindle for Apple) for only $2.99. 


Boat P**n–Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta

Schooners, and Cutters and Yawls! Oh my!

There are four days of racing at the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta.

Thursday- Single Handed Race. We were informed that each boat may have one person on board to help them get to the starting area and set the sails. That person then goes below for the duration of the race.

Friday – Monday One race each day, with the first class beginning at 10:00 AM.

In addition, there is a tea, gig racing, a boat parade, and many, many parties with music, food, and drink.

What’s not to like?

We had three different views of the races. On Friday, we watched some of the starts from the tender to s/v  Lion’s Whelp with Phin and Joanna Sprague.  On Sunday, EW and I hiked up the hills between Falmouth and English Harbors to catch the view from on high, and on Monday we took four friends out on La Luna to watch the start and to join us on a sail to Jolly Harbor. In between, we visited with cruising friends, did some work on La Luna, had lovely meals ashore, and walked the docks before and after the races.

Here are a few of our favorite photos from Friday.

 

Tuiga's  Bowsprit 4-20-2012 2-19-04 PM 4-20-2012 2-19-04 PMIf it’s got a bowsprit, then someone is nearly always out on it. working or watching. At left, on Tuiga.

Below, on Zaca A Te Moana

Bowsprit too 4-20-2012 2-17-16 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classic 20-4 4-20-2012 1-45-45 PM

 

This “Spirit of Tradition” class boat is from Germany. This class has magnificent yachts, “built recently using modern methods and design, but retaining the original grace and style of the old classics.” They are breathtaking.

 

 

Tuiga, below, is owned by Prince Albert of Monaco. We didn’t see him at the regatta and don’t know if he participated.

Tuiga from astern 4-20-2012 2-20-18 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Navy Spinnaker Friday  4-20-2012 2-11-27 PM

Spinnaker!

Rebecca full on stern 4-20-2012 1-59-32 PM

 

 

              Sails and Clouds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rebecca,  Spirit of Tradition Class

Rebecca on Friday 4-20-2012 2-22-20 PM

Classic Ketch 18 2 4-19-2012 1-40-51 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Ketch

 

 

 

 

And on the dock:

 

Looks like Old Bob’s fender had an overnight gender change.

 

P4200365

                                    Interesting gangway for boarding, no?

P4200361

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This crew member (who races) allows humans to use it too. Racing Dog 4-21-2012 9-14-11 AM

 

And poses for photos -- at the cost of one belly rub.

 

 

Stowing extra weight 4-21-2012 9-18-05 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

To lighten the load, most boats removed all un-necessary items to a pile on the dock. Guess they didn’t want to race with a bicycle on board.

 

New to Harts at Sea? I've written a book -- The Harts At Sea Sailing to Windward -- about our first year of cruising, from Maine to Grenada. It's available on Kindle (or Kindle for PC or Kindle for Apple) for only $2.99.