above: St Maarten Heineken Regatta
above: Heineken Regatta Prize giving with Dave, Daniel, Viv, Matt, Mike, Costa, Mike, Gerry, Taffy & James (Photo source: Debbie Blakemore)
above: Debbie, Captain Morgan!, Gerry, James, Kelly & Costa (Photo source: Kelly Blakemore)
above: The Commadores taking us back in time (Photo source: Kelly Blakemore)
above: Wilhelm/Wil/Daniel/Willem and I (Photo source: Kelly Blakemore)
The last few weeks have been a busy time for the two of us. We arrived in Sint Maarten on the 18th of February and joined the Music crew a couple of days later. Gerry organised us an amazing opportunity to run a support boat for SY Music, a 53ft Swan, while the crew participated in the St Maarten Heienken Regatta and then onto the Rolex Swan Cup in Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. The support boat 'Maui' was a 50ft Catana Cat and played home to James and his family as well as a place to off load all the extra weight from Music.
We had been taking it pretty easy after our efforts in Trinidad. Joining the Music crew threw us right back into it. Cooking for over 12, (a new experience for me), cleaning, shopping, sandwich making, laundry, making water, good nights out as well as having the incredible chance to be part of the regattas aboard Music definitely shook things up.
St Maarten was a blast - it felt like being back at Uni with early mornings, late nights and fully packed days. The Heineken Regatta was loads of fun with routes around the Island and about 200 boats taking part. Having never been involved in a regatta of this magnitude with a (mostly) professional team was an experience I am so happy to have been a part of. Finishing top in our class just made it that much better.
With the Heineken in the bag we ventured up towards the BVI's for a week of R&R before taking on the next regatta. Our first stop was Nanny Cay where we had a great crew dinner followed by some amusing rounds of Giant Jenga at the local beach bar. Visiting Jost Van Dyke home to the Soggy Dollar and Foxy's made for an eventful and spontaneous night of Karaoke, painkillers and (more likely than not) bad dancing - SPRING BREAK!!! YEAH!!!
Peter Island was the perfect place to recuperate and spend the day fishing and swimming in the Bay's pristine waters. The boys did an impressive job of catching a couple of fish for an awesome and overdue braai aboard Maui. The following day we headed for Virgin Gorda and the Bitter End Yacht Club (yes, we all bought the T-shirt) where we all tucked into The English Pub's ridiculously good bacon burger.
The Rolex Swan Cup was held at the prestigious Costa Smeralda Yacht Club where they hosted a magnificent event. Sailing around the Island with its breath taking beauty and leading for the first three days of the Regatta made this a special one. The unfortunate drop in breeze in the final two days allowed the smaller and lighter boats to sweep past us and inevitably put us into second place.
The Regatta was filled with good sailing and lovely evenings. The festivities began with the welcoming at the yacht club and was followed by a night at Oil Nut Bay where we were spoilt to a fantastic spread of food and live music. A cocktail competition was held along the quay where Matt tried his luck as well as ensuring that there was plenty of the yummy concoction left for his team mates, he didn't win but we did (or actually in the end maybe we didn't). The Regatta prize giving fell on James' Birthday and unfortunately we couldn't give him a Rolex but we manage to nap the Globetrotter award for travelling from the bottom of the world to sail aboard Music.
On our way back to Tortola, to drop off the Cat, we stopped at the Baths, a beautiful bay which looks surprisingly like home. We spent the morning swimming and met aboard Maui for lunch and a fines date with Taffy. The court proceedings brought to the table all the 'wrong doings' of certain individuals during the tour. Matt with his slick hair-do, Dave had way too many to count, Costa and his Greek ways, Mike and his beard (we're still convinced that our 2nd place had something to do with you & your beard) - It was a fun and laughter filled afternoon and the tour wouldn't have been the same without Taffy, his humour and spirit.
The last few weeks have been filled with laughter, spectacular places, great sailing, dancing, good food (usually not mine), awesome people and way too many pain killers. Thank you to everyone in the crew and especially to James and Debbie for bringing us together and giving us a life time of memories. And a huge thank you to Gerry for getting us involved.
Until St Barths...