Category: 2015 Rolex Swan Cup (British Virgin Islands)

Slightly lighter winds today – 16–18, and blue blue sky, and warm water. Boats headed out to the racecourse – a single start today with the bigger boats and medium boats (there are no small Swan’s) mixing it up. We had a good start, winning the committee boat, and although rolled by two late starting bigger boats, soon got a lane and headed to the upwind mark in clear air. Watching 90’ Swans set the spinnaker at the mark was quite something. Our set was good as we changed from #2 jib to S4 spin (old faithful) and we charged down to a turning mark a few miles away. Next up was the jib top, and we soon had the spin put away and gybed between the Dog Islands (who knows why – no dogs on them; for that matter no Seals on nearby Seal Dogs; and we’re saying nothing about the virgins…). Next up was a 16 minute period in which to get the spin up; gybe; set the jib; and take down the spin, tidy up etc. Very busy but with great crew work, and Joe helpfully providing a torrent of abuse, we got it done in style. A long beat, reach and beat tother finish – no more sail changes so the front of the boat got to watch the large boats charge past, and take in the glorious scenery.

Crossed the line – bottle of champagne appeared and we toasted the skipper and the end to a great regatta. Ended up 6th, which said more about the handicap system in big breeze than crew work, tactics, preparation, etc. We reported back that we’d won the Swan 44 class – didn’t qualify for a winning Rolex.
Next up was the usual approach to putting the boat away – hundreds of jobs to do – Joe multitasking away and withholding beer until we’d finished our chores. Put a replacement propellor on; retrieved our anchor; docked back at Leverick bay; fixed the water pump; replaced a clutch; packed the sails; put the cruising stuff back on; cleaned the boat; and than had a cold one.
Crew dinner tonight where tales will be told, Joe will be merciless in his scathing review of the crews deficiencies, and our sore bodies will slowly start to recover.
Up at 4am to get the ferry to the plane (urgh).
And another one bites the dust…

Well Joe actually said we need a thrust washer for the propellor that arrived. The New York propellor fed-x kindly sent to New York, so whilst the delivery time was exceptional, the customer wasn’t quite as delighted as they imagined. A brave new shipping business-model perhaps.

A thrust washer is just a washer in reality. It just costs more as the word thrust isn’t to be sniffed at. Without the thrust washer though, we still romped around the racecourse today with speed and aplomb. Always wondered what aplomb was, but apparently it’s 10 smelly sailors.
The usual dash to the ferry in the morning; dash back to get Gavin out of the bathroom; dash back to the ferry; count heads; find our lost navigator; and generally make the morning commute as stressful as a day in New York – just the way Joe likes it. Being on a mooring meant getting another boat ride, and then no one could wander off, which in the end meant we were an hour early. Sailed off the mooring and headed out into the ocean, with a fresh breeze, clear skies, and warm w. aters – what’s not to like. The Race Committee decided to set a downwind start today – just for giggles. Our chute flew up, and off we set, boats all around. Past the Seal Dogs”, other “Dogs”, Spanish Town, The Baths, and finally out round ”Ginger Island”, so called because of the red haired tribe that lives there (or maybe I made that bit up). Spinnaker to Jib top, back to spinnaker, gybe and finally #3 jib. Which blew up. Nice to have a sailmaker on board – but this was beyond his many talents. Change now to #2 and a reef and the boat felt better, much better. Bit of a bear away to a Rolex mark, and final beat up to the finish with the crew hiking hard and singing “Happy Talk” on the rail.
All done for today, just one more thing, Peter C didn’t want his new nickname to get back to Bermuda. So if you’re reading this from Bermuda look away now.

Started the day off by heading to the top of the hill to get Jon and Peter C – they have a stunning view of the sound. Having to hear Jon singing “happy talk” from South Pacific kind of spoiled the moment. Breakfast at “Tamarind” – the eating villa, with Joe arranging for propellors of various shapes and sizes to be fed-x’d to BVI. Customs will think he’s trying to start a drone airline.
After the usual fuss of trying to get a ferry to the yacht club (no roads or paths), arrived at the Lindy just as propellor #1 was delivered. Joe swam under the boat with his James Bond aqualung, and made sure the prop fitted – it did but was missing a part. So still engineless. No matter the club boats towed us off the dock, and with sails up, off to the start we went. 

Reasonable start – won the committee boat again, but s tad slow off the line. We headed right into flatter water as soon as we got a lane, and then a 2 mile beat to the first mark. Unusual today to not have a helicopter following us around all day. Big spinnaker up for the run to Seal Islands mark. Not up immediately as we had to rescue it from being washed overboard. No matter up it went and we tore off downwind, rocking and rolling. Next sail was a change to the jib top; douse the spinnaker and gybe. All went well! A long reach down the Francis Drake channel, getting a tow off a bigger Swan (by being pulled along by his wake) to the turning mark off “Fallen Jerusalem Island”, then with  a change to #3 jib, we prepared for the long beat home.Just after Spanish Town, the 20-25 knit breeze kicked up a gear as a squall hit. Winds in the mid 30’s sent us racing to throw reefs in the mainsail and generally pull ropes tighter everywhere (I’m sure there may be more to it than just that). Pretty soon the wind abated and we settled back into a long beat to the finish. After a day of hard hiking we were all walking round like John Wayne lookalikes.

This evening was a bbq party at Biras Creek resort, down on its beach. Lovely evening with full moon, bbq, wine and 80’s music.
There has been some feedback on the news posts – we are down a Donald and feel that is holding us back in the foredeck and hiking aspects; down a bunch of Canadians which we feel is contributing to our positive performance; and missing Kent which we feel is hindering our hoistage, though we do have Ben the Belgian pole vaulter doing a stellar job.
And yes the decks are wet; we are wet;and the bow role now involves swimming for the tack fitting.
Tomorrow is another day…..

An early start to the day had a grumbling crew walking up the hill to the breakfast villa. Pancakes the size of race marks were served which partially offset the early hour, and then crew headed off to find the ferry to the yacht club. A few false starts to go back to the villa to pick up the “cold cuts”whatever that is; the missing navigator; and sundry equipment, we made the scheduled 8am ferry at 9am (island time!), and started getting Lindy in racing shape. This involved a lot of standing around, with occasional bursts of rope coiling if the skipper was looking.
Out to the start in 20-25 knots, blue waters, bright skies, big waves. The start had us winning the committee boat, and tacking away to clear air and flat water under Necker Island. A beat and then a long fetch took us round the corner of Virgin Gorda, and time to shake out the reef, and switch the #3 to S4 spinnaker. As usual at the front end of the bus we were given crisp clear instructions (spin up in 10 minutes), to be quickly amended (spin up in 10 seconds). We rolled with the punches and soon were wave surfing in 10 ft seas, 25 knot breeze, and picking up 11 knots of boat speed. Weeeeeeh. Smiles all round. After an hour of the downwind, was time to go round an island and head back up the Francis Drake channel. A slick hoist, drop and gybe got us pointing in the right direction. We now had 4 Swans on our heels, and one by one we defended against being rolled, with super hiking and encouraging remarks to the other crew. Passing the Bath’s first, then Spanish Town, we came under the shadow of Virgin Gorda (the reclining virgin) – then wind became very gusty, with lighter patches, then finally rounding the last headland the finish was in sight. Crossing, ducking, lee bowing, and other technical sailing things ensued between the four boats, and twenty minutes later the hard hiking Lindy crossed the line just ahead of the pack.
Back to the Yacht Club to moor. After dropping and flaking the sails, the engine was put in gear – nothing. Drifting onto a shore, the spare anchor was thrown in, luckily tied to a line, and with 2 RIBS helping we stopped from grounding, and were towed to the dock. A bit too much excitement at the end of a long sail. The engine cables were checked – all ok, so in dove Joe to check the underbelly of the beast. Seems someone stole the propellor, or it fell off. The crew went with fell off due to our excessive speed today. Joe now arranging for various propellors to be flow in.
Next up to the bar for much hilarity with Joan the bartender, who now despairs of us. She did help with the boat cocktail competition though – all other crews had found coconuts, or brewed horrible blue sugary rum drinks, but we’d decided, in true Lindy form, to simply cheat. We got a waitress dressed up in Lindy uniform, and carried 6 B52 shots to the judges table. We thought we were a shoe in when Joe spoke Italian to the judges, and offered to pay a huge bribe.  Staggeringly we didn’t win – the owner of Swan Yachts won – almost a spooky result.
Dinner, jokes, teasing, and general fun and frolics rounded out a long day.
Tomorrow – repeat.


A day of calibrating instruments – until we were arguing about 1/000s of a knot; and putting sails up and down to wear out the crew and practiced shouting at them. This was of course helped by continually dousing them in warm blue water, presumably to stop them from drying out. After several hours of this we headed to berth at the Yacht Club Costa Smerelda, registered and prepared for battle. As there skipper and navigator headed to the briefing, we were given a long list of things to clean and polish, so we headed straight for the bar like naughty schoolboys ducking out of school.
Won everything at the opening cocktail party – best seats, Joe was first for the pasta, and we saw off the so called professionals by barging at there prosecco station. Lindy triumphs again!
Tomorrow racing starts, which will be much less work than the practice.
 Yacht club is stunning as well on case you were interested.

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