Not all the journalists were as lucky. One team spent most of their time hanging over the side throwing up while being photographed and jeered at by journos in the other boats. The same team reportedly lost $25,000 of hi-tech video equipment when the plastic bin-liner protecting the camera blew away. An expensive and embarrassing moment for newcomers to learn that sheets of flying spray and electronics don’t mix!
The weather was boisterous, rough and windy, with the occasional rain-squall thrown in. I wore several hats including that of radio reporter broadcasting live from the courses for Island 92, 91.9fm, taking photos and writing for All At Sea Magazine, playing host on the VIP boat, and co-hosting the awards ceremony. Long days and long nights, all doused with salt water and cold beer.
This year’s regatta will go down as one of the best of recent years, but it wasn’t without drama. On the second day a mark went walkabout and a race had to be abandoned. The same day a catamaran capsized and was only prevented from going right over when her mast hit the bottom. One yacht also lost the top of its rig. As always, a big thank you goes to the sea rescue services.
While we were out chasing the boats—video cameras whirling, digital SLRs clicking—a humpback whale surfaced amongst the fleet causing one of the CSA 1 boats (the big boys), to alter course. The whale also brought a pod of dolphins to the party. How can you not love Mother Ocean?
Something for Everyone
Over two hundred boats took part this year’s regatta, the 32nd, including around 75 bareboats. Some boats raced while raising money for charity. The boat, Something Hot, with an all girl crew, successfully defended the title they lifted last year by again winning the Goldendog Cup—a trophy awarded to the most successful boat campaigning in support of a good cause.
The ‘Good’ crew
Every year we see more and more professional sailors on the Caribbean racing circuit. Paid to win, they are charged with giving owners and sponsors a good return on their investment. For some owners, winning is all and to hell with expense. Many of the professionals leave the partying until the last day and, even then, can be rather modest in the knees-up department. Pros push hard and are never late for the start.
The ‘Not so Bad’ crew
These sailors strike a balance between racing and imbibing, taking just enough drink at the end of each day to celebrate a good performance or forget about a disaster and a blazing row in the cockpit. A hardy bunch, most are bright(ish) and bushy-tailed on the start line the following day.
The ‘We don’t give a Shit let’s PARTY’' crew
Here are sailors who don’t intend to let a bit of yachting get in the way of their favorite sport. Our heroes and heroines are still partying and whooping it up at dawn yet always make the start, even if they are late and sail the wrong course.
In my life, I have sailed in each group, pros, semi pros, partiers and lunatic fringe and enjoyed every one, equally.
Long may we regatta!