Day 1 – big wind, big waves, big bar bills….
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.
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