After tying up at the Cat Club’s dock in Falmouth Harbor and taking a shower, we adjourned to the hotel’s restaurant for a couple of cocktails and a meal to celebrate our safe passage. Having been a good boy all the way to Antigua after leaving Bermuda, I once again decided to engage in some varsity cheating on my diet, but I enjoyed every bite (and sip). We had a delicious meal, and returned to the boat to collapse for the first night of uninterrupted sleep in almost a week, safely tied to a quay once again.
The next morning, I had my first chance to take a good look at Falmouth Harbor in about 14 years. It has changed dramatically – apparently, a few years ago, Paul Allen (of Microsoft fame, and most importantly, fortune) visited Antigua and fell in love with the place. He decided to make Falmouth Harbor the Caribbean base for his motor yacht, Octopus, which, at 416’, is the world’s largest. (A web site describes it as follows:
“Octopus cost Allen over US$200 million and has permanent crew of 60, including several former Navy Seals. It has two helicopters, seven boats, a 10 man submarine and a remote controlled vehicle for crawling on the Ocean floor. The submarine has the capacity to sleep eight for up to two weeks underwater.”
If you have MS PowerPoint, and feel like looking at how the other half (of .001 %) of the other half lives, click here for a slide show of one of the world’s truly epic toys.)
Anyway, Allen’s love has been a mixed blessing for Falmouth Harbor, according to some friends who are familiar with the place (the boat wasn't there while I was, but it's impact was obvious). The sleepy little harbor I visited several times in the ‘90’s is gone, replaced by a network of piers suitable for accommodating both Allen’s boat and many others almost as large – there were half a dozen sailboats there while I was there with lengths greater than 120’, and there was still two weeks to go until the charter boat show which kicks off Antigua’s high season and draws a fleet of big cruising boats that would make any sailor’s mouth water (and wallet flinch). That development has brought a lot of money to this little town, and that’s good, but like moths to a flame, that money has also drawn criminals. Falmouth is still a very pretty place, and one of the world’s great yacht harbors, but the streets which one used to be able to walk along without thinking about it have gotten a good deal less safe, I’m told.
After I got through with my gawking, we unpacked the boat again, and did some cleanup work. Frank and Mike packed their gear in anticipation of their flights home that afternoon, and the rest of us organized ourselves for a couple of days of work to follow their departure. We also met Clive, the Rastafarian varnish guru who would take Hound in hand and give her extensive varnish work its annual dose of love (that varnish work being a significant part of the reason for the trip – the Antiguan varnishers are widely and justly famous). Unpacking also involved taking the inflatable dinghy out of its locker, inflating it, and mounting its engine, a priority since it would serve as our primary means of transportation for the next several days (and David & Zoë’s for the next several weeks).
That process was punctuated by Frank & Mike’s departure that afternoon, but took a couple of days by the time we were done, and provided the time necessary to make contact and arrangements with the guy who would take me in hand for the next few days, and enable the second part of this adventure: diving!
I'm new to scuba diving (just got certified in October), so I don't have much to compare with, but I had an amazing experience scuba diving in Antigua. After finishing our cleaning up after the delivery, I spent from Saturday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon diving out of Falmouth Harbor with Bryan Cunningham at Seawolf Diving. I'm a recently certified Open Water diver, and wanted to spend some time getting comfortable and diving in visibilities greater than 2' (I got certified on Long Island, so that wasn't an option at home).
I first contacted Antigua Scuba and Ultramarine in English Harbor, but got told that the former was closing up shop and the latter was only operating out of a base on the other side of the island. Before I heard from anyone else, I spoke with my sister-in-law, who had dived with Seawolf on Montserrat, and heard that they had moved to Antigua, and so I contacted Bryan through his website. I was by myself for this trip, so I needed to find someone who could serve as my buddy, and am new enough that I wanted a little more attention than I might get on a "cattle boat". Seawolf has a package that includes an Advanced Open Water certification with booking six dives or more with them, and that solved both of those problems, as well as providing some direction to my diving, which was an added bonus.
Seawolf is a PADI dive center officially based in Montserrat, but actually operating mostly in Antigua for the last couple of years (Montserrat being significantly less hospitable to tourism after the volcano erupted and all). They run two boats, both of which are small, but perfectly adequate to the trips they make, which are quite short (more time diving, less time riding in a boat, which suited me fine). The on board accommodations might best be described as basic by comparison to some operations (bring your own water and snack), and they aren't shiny, but they were perfectly seaworthy, included all the necessary safety gear, and were fine for the short trips we made. Bryan himself was very competent, knowledgeable (certified as an instructor by PADI, NAUI, and SDI, and experienced in diving all over the world), very conscious of caring for the reefs we dove on ("no gloves, please - they make you more inclined to touch things"), and very personable - lots of fun to dive with.
Again, I don't have a lot to compare with, but the prices seemed very reasonable, and the diving was spectacular - tons of fish (I saw dozens of species and hundreds of individuals on almost every dive), great reef life (lots of sponges and fans, heaps of spiny lobsters, and some interesting corals), really interesting bottom formations and topography, and amazing visibility on every dive. The water was warm (about 82º with no thermocline), and the sea state was quite benign for most dives (this is apparently a little variable - if the trade winds are blowing hard, it can get a bit choppy on a couple of sites, but it was fine while I was there).
I stayed aboard Hound, but there are a couple of nice places to stay in Falmouth and English Harbors (the Catamaran Hotel, the Admiral's Inn, the Antigua Yacht Club or the St James Club are more upscale options, and Zanzibar or a couple of others for the more budget minded - there are also a number of condos for rent in Falmouth at a variety of prices), and the local nightlife and restaurants are entertaining and tasty, respectively. Even if I don’t go back for the sailing (something I hope to do again), I’ll be going back for the diving.
One problem - after the beginning of December, accommodations can get tight, as the two harbors are a major winter destination for big sail and power yachts, which can suck up a lot of the hotel space when they're not out on charter - make your arrangements with a bit of lead time to beat this problem. Another problem (depending on when you want to go) is that business is so slow in the summertime that Bryan may not be staying on the island then, but traveling to the Mediterranean to work there, and returning in the fall.
I dove nine times in four days, including a variety of relatively shallow dives (<60’), one deep dive(>90’), and a night dive, which was spectacular in its own way (looking up through 40’ of water at the moon is an interesting experience!) I had great fun with Bryan, met his family and several friends, who were lots of fun, met a dive buddy I hope to have the chance to dive with again, ate, drank, and was merry, and generally had more fun that I thought you could have with a rubber suit on. The trip was a resounding success for me, as I felt as though I went from someone with no experience at all to having at least the beginnings of a clue. I got a lot more comfortable in the water, halved my air consumption rate, doubled my bottom times, dramatically improved my buoyancy performance in four days, managed to complete the AOW course, and had a ball. I'll go again as soon as I can manage it, and I'd recommend it highly to anyone who wants a great diving experience. Thanks, Bryan!
We left St George’s in a brisk breeze, about 18-20 kts from the west-northwest, on a sparkling Saturday afternoon. We made good time for the remainder of the day, the night, and the next morning, blasting along fast enough to flirt with a 200 mile day, which is a standard measure of a rockin’ trip (we didn’t quite make it – 194 miles in 24 hours). The course from Bermuda to Antigua is almost due south, but our plan was to head pretty far east of south for those first two days, to get the boat far enough east that if the tradewinds had a lot of southerly component (they’re usually easterlies, but often are somewhat south of east), we wouldn’t get caught directly downwind of Antigua and forced to beat to weather – sort of a strategic insurance policy against unfavorable weather. As it turned out, though, the winds remained mostly west and north of west, so we sailed much closer to directly toward Antigua than we intended, to keep the boat “powered up”, or sailing close enough to the wind to keep the apparent wind forward and stronger (heading east would have left us going very far off the wind and slowly in a sloppy sea and insufficient wind to make good headway through it – there was still a lot of sea left over from the passage of the hurricane). For the most part, the wind stayed about due west at about 15 kts., but we had a few short squalls with lots more than that.
By mid-afternoon on Sunday, though, the breeze faded, and we began a stretch of motoring in light winds and lumpy seas that lasted about 15 hours. The breeze returned early Monday morning, and we had a fairly uneventful passage for the next day and a half, mostly sailing, but spending a few hours motor-sailing, mostly to charge the batteries, but also to make some progress when the wind went lighter. Standard sailboat delivery rules are that when the boatspeed drops below 6 knots for any extended time, the “diesel topsail” is set.
Tuesday night, the breeze quit again for real, and we started another stretch of motoring that went on for another 12-15 hours. Listening to the engine for that long on a sailboat is a bore, but there was one advantage – during that time, we went through a rainstorm that was as strong as any I’ve ever been out in. Not windy, just raining really, really hard – hard enough so that we kept saying to ourselves that it couldn’t keep raining that hard for very long, and long enough to prove that was nonsense (about 6 hours!) The boat has a generous cockpit “dodger” (which we referred to as the tractor shed), and we stayed inside it whenever we weren’t either moving from the cockpit to the cabin or taking a periodic look around for traffic (of which there was none at all). Having fixed the autopilot was a huge benefit, since we didn’t have to stand in the rain and steer, and even though we were mostly under shelter, I was wearing a light spray top instead of my full “battle jacket” foul weather gear, and I came off watch soaked, as the rain had been so intense it had found its way around the neck seals.
During our motoring, we realized that the wind was likely to fill in from the east and southeast, and that we needed to get back to our original plan of getting farther east to be ready for it to do so. We worked our way farther east over the next several hours, including after the rain stopped and the wind did return (from the southwest) around mid-day Wednesday. We got out to about 60° west before the wind shifted to the southeast – just far enough, it turned out, to be able to reach Antigua on port tack after the wind shifted. The wind remained from the southeast all the way to Antigua, and we had a nice ride for the next day and a half, making 8 knots or better in anywhere between 15 and 25 kts of breeze and a sea that had finally got its manners back. It was a very nice ride, and we felt pretty smart for returning to our plan in time to take advantage of the breeze without having to beat.
We sighted Antigua late in the afternoon on Thursday the 15th, after having passed about 10 miles from its flatter neighbor Barbuda without seeing it, and got to watch a spectacular Caribbean sunset across the island on our way around the eastern shore. We bore away around the southeastern headlands and headed toward Falmouth Harbour as darkness fell, and after rolling up the jib and taking down the mainsail for the first time in six days, we picked our way past the shoals at the entrance to the harbor to arrive at the Catamaran Club Marina at about 7:30PM.
The trip took 6 days and about six hours to make a rhumbline distance of roughly 935 nautical miles, or just about 150 miles per day – not a particularly fast trip, but it could certainly have been slower. We arrived in Antigua still carrying all the extra diesel fuel we left Bermuda with on deck, and with another 70 gallons still in the tanks, so we used about 50 gallons all told over the course of the trip, which ain’t bad. We didn’t have perfect weather, but it was adequate, and we didn’t get hit by any of the several weather systems bouncing around the Atlantic during our trip, some of which were fairly nasty. We saw pretty much no wildlife for the entire trip from CT to Antigua, which was quite unusual for that trip – we heard a porpoise the second night out of Westbrook, and we got a strike on our fishing lure a couple of days south of Bermuda, but we never saw the porpoise and the fish spat out the fishing lure before we could get to the rod, so no luck there. Apart from those two encounters, nothing at all. We also didn’t see much on the way of boats, until the last two nights of the trip, when we saw a couple of lights on the horizon at night and (barely) some sails during the daytime. The latter is less unusual, but it’s still nice to be able to pace somebody, and we would have liked to do more of it. All in all, a great delivery, even if it passed without any momentous events (actually, boring is good on a delivery, since the alternative to bored is usually terrified!)
Bermuda has often been referred to as “the Onion Patch”, because of the famous crop grown there in the days of sail, when the island was settled. After passing sailors (and locals) had cut down almost all of the native cedar trees, they needed something to provide them with trade goods (something other than moving lighthouses around and wrecking passing ships, which was a significant part of the economy in the island’s early years). Onions are a great source of the vitamins that help prevent scurvy, the sailors’ disease, and they travel better than most of those sources, so they were a great crop for a tiny island in the middle of the ocean, and Bermuda’s onions became justly famous – sweet, hearty and delicious. They still grow onions in some parts of Bermuda, but not like they used to – scurvy isn’t much of a problem any more, so onions are no longer a high-value crop. The land is too valuable, and Bermudians mostly grow tax havens and reinsurance companies nowadays.
When one approaches Bermuda by boat, often the first way that one can tell one is getting close is by seeing the island’s signature bird, the Bermuda Longtail, which is a local name for a white-tailed tropicbird, a seabird with great range that lives in the Caribbean Atlantic, calls Bermuda home mostly in the summer months, and ranges well out to sea. We were apparently late in the season to catch the Longtail doing that hunting offshore (the recent passing of a hurricane may have also had something to do with that), but I saw and heard a couple once we got there.
The next sign of approaching Bermuda is often the smell of oleander, which was introduced to the island in the 18th century and is now everywhere. The fragrant flowers can be smelled for miles out to sea in the right wind conditions, particularly in the spring and summer. Sadly, the passing storm and the wind direction when we approached were not enough to get the fragrance miles out from shore this time, but we did smell it as we got close – always a welcoming smell, and very pretty, even though it’s one of the world’s more poisonous flowers.
After we cleared customs in St. George’s, we tied up to the quay (dock) at the St. George’s Dinghy Club. A quick word about the name of the club: there aren’t many dinghies there. The club is named because it is the organization that sponsors one of the Bermuda Fitted Dinghies, a sailboat class that’s unique to Bermuda, 155 years old, and one of the most extreme classes of sailboat in the world. The boats are 14’1” long, 12’ deep, have 40’ masts, no deck, a 14’ bowsprit, and carry over 1000 square feet of sail – way more than any other boat of similar length. They carry six crew, and there are no rules about having to finish with the same number of people you started with, so they don’t – they often finish downwind, and it’s common to see people jumping off the stern of a dinghy to make the boat lighter and faster on its way to the finish line. It’s also not unusual to see masts and booms break, boats sink, and other carnage on the racecourse – fitted dinghy racing is not for the faint of heart (a modern boat costs a fortune), but it’s quite a spectacle – anyone who says watching sailboat racing is boring has never seen a fitted dinghy race, that’s for sure! Races are on alternate Sundays starting on Bermuda Day in the end of May and going through September – if you’re going to Bermuda during that time, you should try to go when there’s a race, and go see it. We didn’t see one on this trip (it was too late in the year), but we did have an evening listening to the bartender at the Dinghy Club lamenting the poor performance of the club’s dinghy, Victory (sailed by, among others, his father-in-law), after asking why there was an empty trophy case above the bar.
Anyway, after we tied up, we spent the rest of the morning cleaning up the boat from its four days at sea, arranging to do laundry at the club’s facilities, and getting Turner, one of our first leg crew, to the airport for his flight home and greeting Mike, a replacement who met us in Bermuda for the second leg of the trip. Throughout, we were joined by a series of arrivals of boats participating in a transatlantic cruising rally, who tied up at the dock with varying degrees of competence (we took a lot of dock lines, and put out more fenders). By the end of the day, the quay was pretty crowded.
We also unpacked a good deal of the boat while trying to chase the source of a failure that had left us without an autopilot for the first leg – hardly a serious problem, but annoying nonetheless, and likely to become more so on the next, longer leg to Antigua. We also spent some time trying to track down somebody to come and have a look at the problem and see about fixing it, a task we hoped would be made easier by our troubleshooting. The captain did find a gentleman from Marine Communications. Ltd. in Hamilton, who agreed to come out the next morning and see what he could do, but he wasn’t sanguine about being able to get parts in anything like the time we needed, since it would be Friday and the customs office would close for the weekend. We asked him to come anyway, and did what we could to take the boat apart enough to be ready for his work (the weather was iffy for departure the next day anyway, and possibly for a couple more days after that, so we might have had to stay long enough to await a new part anyway).
Toward the end of the day, I got the chance to get away for a couple of hours, and rented a scooter to do a couple of errands and prepare for a day of sightseeing the following day. After returning from that mission and taking a nice long shower with no concerns about saving water, I went ashore again to collect some laundry and take a few sunset photos of St George’s harbor (excuse me, “harbour”). On the way back, I tripped over a black dock line someone had rigged along his boarding plank at a perfect height for tripping the unwary, stumbled to the quay, dropped the laundry, and bounced my new point and shoot digital camera off the dock surface and into the water. $#!+!!!! Apart from the pain of losing a camera I had just spent $200 on, I also lost a dozen or so photos of storm clouds at sea and pretty shots of Bermuda that I was very sorry not to have. Also, I was now carrying a waterproof housing for a camera I didn’t own, and therefore couldn’t use to shoot underwater pictures in Antigua when I went diving there. In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, “Whatta Maroon!”
After spending the requisite few minutes stomping around muttering foul language under my breath, I calmed down and we went off to the famous White Horse Tavern for a shoreside dinner. I had been pretty good about keeping to my diet, but I pole-vaulted off the wagon that night, to the tune of a full and delicious meal at the White Horse, accompanied by a number of cocktails to celebrate a safe passage to Bermuda. The dinner also gave me a chance to get acquainted with our new shipmate Mike, a very nice guy from New York who is a professional photographer and a longtime shipmate of Frank’s, having done a number of long passages with him over the years. It was a very pleasant evening, and we retired to a rest that didn’t involve either staying in bed with the use of lee cloths or having to get up after four hours – not bad!
The next morning, we spent a couple of hours chasing the autopilot problem with the help of the local electronics wizard, chasing wires around the boat and generally making a mess. It worked, though – we found another compass we didn’t realize we had under the floor of a hanging locker, and the wizard figured out how to make it talk to the autopilot again. It turned out that in order for that conversation to proceed, the foghorn switch needed to be in the “on” position, something we certainly never would have figured out on our own. The guy did a great job, and after an hour or so motoring around St George’s harbor in the early afternoon to calibrate the compass and make sure everything worked, we began the process of repacking the boat for the next leg. Fortunately, Mike had spent enough time on board to know well the most efficient way to repack the boat, so after providing what little help I could, I saw Biff, the other departing crewman, off to his taxicab to the airport and took care of a couple more small tasks, including shipping some cold weather clothes home, and arranging for delivery of 20 five gallon diesel jugs to be carried on deck for the next leg of our voyage (if we didn’t have enough wind, we certainly would be able to motor for several extra days!) I also arranged for us to fuel up the next morning with duty-free fuel, the cost savings of which just about paid for the jugs. Then I got to go have my favorite lunch in Bermuda (fish chowder and a rum swizzle at the Swizzle Inn), do a little sightseeing in Hamilton, and engage in what turned out to be a vain attempt to replace the camera I had drowned with another just like it (since that was the only model that would fit in my housing). That night, we had dinner aboard, augmented with some heavy hors d’oevres and a few more cocktails at the club’s regular Friday night bar party (the highlight of which was the aforementioned lament about the dinghy races (he sounded like a pre-2004 Boston Red Sox fan, but that isn’t really fair, since Victory had won far more recently than that).
Saturday morning, our chef Zoe went off to get provisions and we moved the boat to the dock where we awaited the fuel truck that would deliver us our fuel. It was a long wait, but in time, we got fueled up, brought the provisions aboard and stowed them, and returned the motorbikes. At about 1:30 in the afternoon, with full fuel and water tanks, another hundred gallons of diesel fuel lashed around on the deck in the jugs, and a fresh northerly breeze blowing, we departed from St Georges and headed south to Antigua.
“Hound” is a 59’sluminum sloop designed by Aage Nielsen and built by the German yard Abeking & Rasmussen in 1970. She’s got classic lines and lots of teak and mahogany on deck, and I’ve been looking at her from a distance for many years and thinking “man, I’m going to have to figure out how to weasel my way aboard her!”
This summer, that opportunity presented itself, with no weaseling required at all (yay!) I discovered a few years ago that the boat was and had been owned by an old friend of my Dad’s, who I knew as a teenager (which must be a testament of some sort to his patience), but had fallen out of touch with since. Despite this, I hadn’t managed to catch up with Frank when the opportunity to go sailing would present itself, until I ran into him at a party and spent a few minutes chatting. I mentioned that I coveted a ride on the boat, and he said he was looking for crew for next year’s Bermuda race, and asked if I would be interested. I told him I would, and we agreed that we would talk more about it.
A few weeks later, I got a call from Frank, asking if I wanted to help deliver the boat south for the winter, something I hadn’t done in a while, but used to enjoy a great deal. Apart from my interest in doing it for its own sake, I realized that this would give us a chance to get to know one another again, and see if we would race well together, so I leapt at the chance.
After a couple of days waiting for Hurricane Noel to pass, we left Westbrook, CT, at 7:00AM on Sunday, Nov. 4, in a crisp northerly. We had six people aboard, Frank, David the captain, Zoe the chef, two other experienced sailors, Turner and Biff, and me. We left Long Island Sound at 9:00, and after about another hour and a half, we left Montauk Pt. behind. Later that day, the northerly faded and the wind filled in from the Southwest, leaving us beating to windward at about 6 or 7 kts, in about 12 kts of wind. Later that evening, we had some light rain squalls, but nothing serious. We motored for some of the time (particularly in the rain), but the sails were still working, and we made pretty fair time.
By the next morning, the breeze had built to between 18 and 30 knots and gone to the west, and we were roaring along on a beam reach at about 8-10 knots in a moderate sea, with the engine off and smiles all around. After breakfast, the captain, who had collected everyone’s passports before beginning the trip, came up the companionway ladder with a particularly big smile on his face and pointed out to me that I had given him the passport of an 11-year-old girl, which he thought he would have a hard time convincing the immigration officials in either Bermuda or Antigua was me. I had asked my bride to get my passport out of our safe, and hadn’t looked at it when she gave it to me – she gave me the wrong one(!) Fortunately, the boat is equipped with a sat phone and we could send and receive both phone calls (very pricey, but possible) and e-mails (much cheaper, and by far the preferred option) while aboard. Also fortunate was the fact that a friend of the skipper’s was traveling to Bermuda to arrive at the same time we would be there, and was drafted to help get me my passport (much better than spending my time on the “Onion Patch” in a Bermudian jail!) I called and sent an e-mail to Wiz asking her to help resolve the problem, and she contacted the travelers and got them my passport later that day. Problem solved – better living through communications!
We made such good time throughout the morning that we entered the Gulf Stream at about noon (we could tell because the water temperature rose about 15° in about 20 minutes, and the seas got a good deal more confused, though not enough to be a problem). During the day, the wind faded and went to the north again, so we slowed down, eventually enough to start the motor again for a while. By midnight, we were still sailing in a lot of adverse current, which surprised us because he should have been clear of the Gulf Stream. The current must have been mostly wind-driven, because we kept it for the remainder of the passage, though it did diminish somewhat. By five o’clock Tuesday afternoon, we were back on a 25 knot southerly and romping south again at 8 knots with the engine off – much quieter and lots more fun than listening to the engine drone on for hours! The wind continued to build, and that night we bashed our way through 30 kt winds and confused seas of 7- 10 feet. Nice to be sailing on a big heavy boat in those conditions – even so, we were sailing under just the main with two reefs in it, and we incinerated the coffee pot (big trouble for those drinking coffee – I was drinking tea). Made great time, even though we were still bucking two knots of current (it faded the next morning to a knot or so).
By the morning of the Wednesday the 7th, the wind and seas had abated a good deal, and we were sailing under all sails at about 7-8 knots in 11-13 knots of wind. Made steady progress more or less like that for the rest of the day. That evening at sunset, we were being overtaken by a large front and associated squalls, but we managed to stay ahead of it for the rest of the night, though we shortened sail as a precaution, which required us to start the motor again. That did allow us to sail straight at Bermuda, though, and at a pretty fair clip. By early the next morning (4:00AM or so), we could see the skyshine from the lights of Bermuda on the horizon, though we couldn’t see lights themselves until just before sunrise. I don’t know why it is, but I seem to be fated to always arrive in Bermuda near dawn, and I’m fine with that – seeing the shine of lights in the night sky after a couple of days at sea is always a lot of fun, and it makes the landfall anticipation go on longer.
We arrived in St Georges harbor without further incident (other than a very brief shower) at 8:00 AM on Thursday the 8th, and awaited space at the customs dock. While we motored around waiting for space, the guy who brought my passport found a dinghy to borrow for a couple of minutes and came alongside to hand it off to me, which no doubt made clearing into the country a lot easier. We eventually cleared in, and then went across the harbor to the St George’s Dinghy Club to tie up for a day or two. Not the fastest trip I’ve ever taken to Bermuda (a little more than four days), and almost no wildlife seen, but still, a good passage.
Nope, not dead. Distracted, and not posting, both because I was unable to for a while (I was out of WiFi range).
Posts follow which describe various adventures and have nothing whatever to do with the normal (OK, "normal" is misleading, how about "frequent"?) topics of this board (except insofar as they too are self-indulgent meanderings informed by an entirely personal perspective, blah, blah, blah...) :)
I just spent an exhausting but very enjoyable week racing in a team race with friends from Scotland and against fellow members of my home sailing club in New York. We had eighteen close and hard-fought races over four days, wore ourselves out making new friends and catching up with old ones in between them, and won the event (a first for the Scottish team in a couple of years, and a first for me).
My heartfelt thanks to my Scottish teammates for letting me race with them, and participate again in an event I enjoyed a great deal some time ago, and have missed participating in recently.
I had the pleasure of watching one of the best America's Cup races I've ever seen this morning. Five lead changes in four legs is huge for a match race, and it was a nail biter to the end. Versus network did a great job covering the event, even if some of the commentary was a little overcooked.
It was a little sad not to see an American entry make it to challenge for the cup, but the game has changed, and it was some consolation to see Americans (and old acquaintances) on both teams and in the broadcast booth.
Congratulations to the Kiwis for making it a barn-burner of a series, and to the Swiss for winning the Cup (now I have another chance to make it to Europe to see it defended, which is almost as interesting a prospect as going to Auckland again!)