Monday, November 29, 2010

First Regatta

Well, that was certainly entertaining. We had a lot of fun, but a few kinks might need to be worked out before the next regatta.

There wasn't a huge turnout mainly because the thing had been canceled so often, people didn't believe it was really going to happen this time. I tried to drum up some interest among the tourist crowd on the beach but they just stared at me like I was a freak or something. Oh well, their loss. There were 5 "big" boats, including:

78' Spirit of St. Kitts (of Leeward Islands Charters) - by far the biggest of the race and the only catamaran (built in St. Kitts).

Kate - an absolutely beautiful yawl rig. Needless to say, she garnered quite a bit of attention. She's supposedly 12 meters (about 40') but she looked bigger than that. Who knows (also built in St. Kitts).

Justin's Odyssey - a 38' Morgan owned by Mike & Beth Smith, according to someone's blog I found online.

Feisty of Nevis Yacht Charters - a 41' sloop built by Huntermarine.

Prime Time, owned by the organizer, Matt Hooley. I think it's around 40'. They stumped us when they started out reefed, but eventually got their act together.

And finally Wind Spawn owned by the Ballahoo restaurant owners. This was a really good-looking boat and around 40' too.

Just in case the sizes didn't range enough, 3 "dinghies" decided to get into the act.

Note: Normally, when you have boats in such varying size ranges, you have several races and divide people up by "class." That didn't really happen here, but will be accommodated next time somehow.

The committee boat was supposed to be at the starting buoy before 11am so we could sound the air horn at the 5 minutes-to-go mark. Unfortunately, the powercat was on its way back from Nevis, so Mr. X had to scramble to get his smaller boat together at the last minute. At about 11:05, we made it out and Peter let it rip.

At about 11:10am, it was time to get the 40-footers going, except that the horn quit working. We yelled at the boat nearest to us and he took off, but the others still thought they were practicing...Here you can see Kate hitting the yellow buoy while the others putz around behind her.

They eventually made their way though.

The dinghies headed out and past.

And finally the Spirit of St. Kitts.

The powercat finally showed up (with a new air horn), so we transferred boats and were all ready to roll.

There's an abandoned freighter, Smarty, off the St. Kitts coast that the boats had to go around.

That shot of Justin's Odyssey was the last we saw of them. They didn't finish the race. The boats then had to head towards Shipwreck and go around the buoy before heading east along the coast.

Another kind of shipwreck, but luckily none of our crowd became reef-fodder as well.

Then we all went into The Narrows (cut or channel) between St. Kitts and Nevis and headed for Booby Island. It was definitely rougher in there. This is where it got fun. The boats had to go around this rock twice and The Spirit of St. Kitts and Kate ended up really fighting it out. I think the little white boat caught in middle here and there is Feisty.

In the end, The Spirit of St. Kitts hit the finish line in front of the Reggae Beach Bar first (huge sails will do that),

the little sunfish/dinghies took a "shortcut" and headed in (we gave them a hardy cheer - that was a long slog in a tiny boat),

Kate was next, then Wind Spawn, and then the other two.

I didn't get shots of all of them because I was too mesmerized by the stingrays.

If taking into account size and time, Wind Spawn (the small dark one) was the real winner (not that we'd know - there was no ceremony or speech or anything). Here are some action shots.

Of course, while they were all working their butts off, we were totally liming.

Some of us were a little more relaxed than others.

Tina got a nice amount of beer up her nose when the boat hit a wave at precisely the wrong moment.

For all of Derek's family reading - he says Hello! and wished you were there with him! Peter, of course, tells you to go booger off (Ok, I made that up about Peter, but we all know he could have said that).

Then it was time to get our land legs back for a bit.

Now, Michael had been excited all week because for the first time in 3 weeks, his team (the Philadelphia Eagles) was playing early. The games have been starting at 9pm here and he's yet to make it through a whole one. This time, it'd start at 5. At 5, we were still at Reggae. And at 5:30...6...Mr. X and gang were looking quite happy right where they were. Look at the pretty sunset!

Michael started getting a bit pissy, so I started seeing if we could hitch a ride back with someone. Charlie eventually took pity on Mike and handed him the keys to his car. We carefully drove it back to Frigate, Mike went to give the keys to Mr. X's bartender, while I stood in front of our car hitting the door unlock button to no avail. Uh oh. It didn't work when Mike did it either, and I thought Michael's head would explode when it sunk in that the battery was dead (for the 3rd time in a month - last month his tires kept going flat). We started walking...Luckily, right before we got to "The Hill," Tina and Ron came by and gave us a lift.

The grand finale was the Eagle's losing. Oh well, at least we had a great day. We didn't even get sunburned! Next time, you'll have to come with!