July is here and that means its ABACO time! Again we get to celebrate our Nation's Independence as well as the Independence day of the Bahamas... and both only a few days apart!
As you can see, I've cheated this time and put all the photos in an album instead of posting them here on the same page. I've trimmed the 500 pix I shot down to 87 but it was still much easier to do it this way. Hope none of you mind too much!
I was invited to sail on Cool Cat again and started out the trip with them.
We left the states on June 27th and took our time getting over to Green Turtle. Our friend Don, on Double Trouble left the same day, single handing, but he was headed over to Lucaya first. We spoke with him a few times on the radio and made sure all was well. He did hit a few squalls that we managed to miss but we tried to keep an eye on him when we could.
We stopped at West End to clear customs/immigration, then went on to spend the first night at Mangrove Cay and the next at Allans-Pensacola. Sunday we motored down to Powell Cay with a quick stop at Spanish Cay Marina for a bag of ice, and Monday we headed on over to Green Turtle. Cool Cat had a full crew of 7 to start and then an 8th was flying over for a week so it seemed to make much more sense for me to jump ship when opportunity knocked.
The knock came when Double Trouble arrived. Don, alone on his his Catana 58, intended to do nearly all the races and Cool Cat doesn't race so I'd have been sailing with Don nearly every day anyway. Don's son, Chris flew over for a few days but the rest of the time he was alone. I graciously accepted the invite and moved aboard. We ended up taking Joe on also, as his boat was a bit overcrowded as well and we sure needed the racing crew.
As always, the event kicked off with the Stranded Naked, Cheeseburger in Paradise beach party on July 3rd, which is also the third anniversary of my last cigarette. What a great excuse to celebrate!
We brought Double Trouble over as close as we dared to to the beach, then took the dink in the rest of the way. It amazes me how this party has grown over the years. The first time I was there it was just a handful of people having a beach party...now it's grown up to have Margaritaville Tequila as well as Mt. Gay Rum for sponsors! It always helps to have someone else paying for the booze. As you can see from the pix, it was quite a bash! Later in the afternoon the sky was looking like we were going to get slammed with a thunderstorm but luckily it missed us.
We raced the Great Turtle Race on Double Trouble with help from the crew from Wind Pirate. Had an excellent day and we all learned the boat pretty well. Took a 3rd place in the Multihull class but were disappointed to find out they would only hand trophies out to 2nd place.
The street party was as fun as it was last year, with the VooDoo punch flowing freely. We were very pleased to beat Rocketeer, another big Cat with the same 65 rating. We looked forward to having some good competition for the rest of the regatta.
Saturday was a Lay Day and we headed over to Great Guana Cay. After all, there was a party at Nippers! Sunday we didn't race, as we had to get Chris back over to the airport at Marsh Harbor so Don and I took him. Joe jumped on to Alize` (Don's friends on their 64' Cat) for the race... they needed the help. I could have found another boat to race but decided to do the trip with Don so he wouldn't have to single hand it back. We decided to go for the points (in case there was an overall) and do the start of the race we knew we wouldn' t finish. It was a good start, even with just the 3 of us aboard. So we went to Marsh and escorted Chris to the airport, and then went back over to Great Guana Cay. After all, Nippers was having another party! This was a Mt. Gay party and I didn't want to miss getting my hat! We had great timing, made it back before they ran out and we each got one of the coveted treasures. If you're following along in the photo album, we're now on the section starting with 139-3960. You will notice I also managed to score us a Mt. Gay flag to fly proudly for the rest of the regatta!
Monday was another lay day and we took the boat back over to Marsh Harbour. There was a party at Snappas and one day is starting to blend with the next. It becomes difficult to keep track!
Tuesday the Wind Pirate crew came back aboard and we went out for the Man-O-War race. No one wants to go to M-O-W Cay though except to look around or get sails repaired. It's a dry island... no liquor sold. The party for this one is at Crossing Beach. Usually very crowded and lots of flies, so instead of waiting on line there for Conch Salad and food from the grill, we bought some Conch Salad from the guy with the outdoor stand next to Snappas and brought it aboard. The Pirate gang came back aboard and tied their dinghies up and we towed them all around to Crossing Beach with Double Trouble. They brought steaks and all sorts of goodies and we anchored and all went snorkeling on Mermaid Reef. Dan and Tracey and crew then cooked dinner for the DT crew and we had a feast.Gotta love crew who bring dinner, cook for you, and leave the boat as clean as they found it! By the time we were finished with that, the beach party was starting so we went ashore to collect our first place Trophy. Photos 140-4013 to 140-4066, if you're keeping up ;).
Wednesday was another Lay Day and we did a booze run in Marsh and got some more Diet Cokes for the boat. Then over to the Jib Room for lunch and some drinks in the pool. Too hot to be outside and swimming in Marsh Harbour is not an option. Back to Double Trouble for some Conch Salad for dinner and clean up to go to another party at Snappas. Managed to score another hat and a T-Shirt for Don by getting the correct answer to a trivia question about chat room abbreviations. LOL!
Back aboard for a nightcap and some much needed sleep!
Happy 30th Birthday to the Bahmas, and its a Race Day!
Joe recruited new crew for the Hopetown Race, as the Pirate crowd decided to race their own boat, Mike and Marilyn from Blue Highway and Janice and Franz from No Worries joined us. We also had Louise aboard to make sandwiches and our loyal Cuban crew from Cool Cat, Ray and Flor, came for every race. We gave our dink, No Trouble, to Cool Cat to tow over to Hopetown with them so we didn't have to race with it and they could use it if they liked.
Had a nice start but a bit of a problem with the second mark, as we snagged it on our daggerboard as we rounded it. (Really we were just trying to give Alize` a chance!). Even with the board up we couldn't clear it so Joe jumped in and got us off the line. We did our 360º penalty turn and still managed to pass Alize` again for another clean win. Too bad Rocketeer didn't come back out to race. We never got to meet them and they never showed up again. We saw their boat all secured at the dock at the Jib Room so they must have had to leave.
We had a problem with a water pump as you can see by the parts on the table in #141-4176 and ...77 but the guys managed to get it working as well as the generator which somehow managed to burn out a fuse. Nice to have the a/c working again...at least we didn't have to spend a night being hot and the watermaker was back in business! It's really easy to get spoiled living on a boat like Double Trouble!
Dinner and awards at the Jib room for the final trophy presentations. Hard to believe another RTIA has passed.
We left the next morning and headed down to Little Harbour... stopped at Sandy Cay on the way for a bit of snorkeling. Found Dulcinea aground in the channel into Little Harbour and then managed to run aground just ahead of them. Almost made it through, a little more to the left may have done it! Managed to kedge ourselves off, and got to a mooring and then went back to help Rudy and Susie, though they too were doing ok on their own. We retrieved their second anchor for them and we all went ashore for lunch and drinks and found Pete Johnstone there. Unfortunately we were too late for any of the pig, as it was gone and when I complained to Pete, he brought us out what was left of the leg! He and Don smoked a cigar and he autographed our trophies (which he had made). Once the tide came back, we went back aboard and left there at about 1730 for our long sail home. Don caught a nice King Mackeral on the edge of the flats and Joe cooked some of it for lunch. We sailed all night taking 3 hours watch each. Had to dodge a few freighters and cruise ships but nothing out of the ordinary. Set the spinnaker in the morning and were able to sail with it most of the way but the wind died out and finally had to turn on the old reliable Diesels and motor sail on home.
Arrived at Port Everglades at about 6pm, secoured the boat and did the required trip over to immigration to check in like good citizens.
Another wonderful regatta has ended with some new friends and more trophies and great memories! Thanks to Don and all of the rest of you who made it so much fun!