Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Here's a ton of pics, in no order whatsoever. Click on photos for larger version. Above, Alice, with Brian and Andy aboard. Nice guys.

Lazy Leg and Astor. Astor got a lot of prizes - very fast, very beautiful Fife schooner

Carriacou boats: chunky, cheerful, traditional work boats that sail very well

Zeevonk dismasted before a race. Nasty collision

Relaxing in the dockyard with our peeps

Eleonora, and the little black boat on the right is us.

Galatea, zooming by. We coulda passed them a beer

Getting ready for the gig races. I didn't come in last, nor did Randy, but Tara saved the day with a second place in the Ladies Rowing. Talk about collisions....

Randy, showing good form

Tara and Stewart, Falmouth Harbour

Home Sweet Home. Doesn't look exactly like this today.

Kate and Charm III - possibly taken just before they collided.


Look who won 2nd prize (better than 3nd)

Crew in Panerai shirts (they just kept bringing stuff to the boat - hats too)

Looking relaxed, right?

Randy and George, from Newfoundland, another NBF

The reviewing stand for the Parade of Sail in English Harbour - the girls in the dinghy were throwing buckets of water on everyone as they sailed by.

Yes, this is what's under our kilts.

Official salute

Race three

Concourse d'Elegance prize giving

Springtide, smallest in the fleet at 24 '

Champagne, again


Stopping traffic on the way to the gig races

Sue and Stewie at the Pimms party

Stormvogel and some other schmuck getting yelled at. God, these were tense times....

Crazy crossing tacks. I hated this bit.

Tara, on the other hand, loved it all


Getting ready

Race day with Bill and Leona on board

Ted Martin photo. Nice butt, Capt.

Velsheda's gear

Veracity crew - they won a bunch of prizes and had a great time

Tara, doing her thing.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Big sleep last night, broken only by shouts from an American boat nearby as the crew headed ashore at midnight: "You hold the fort Trent!"

Also a nap this afternoon, a shower, a couple hundred pages of a new novel, and I'm feeling a new woman. Classics Week was fabulous. Tara and Stewart are more fun than kittens, birthday parties and Christmas, and they can tack headsails like hopped-up grizzly bears with opposable thumbs. Power, style, speed, wowser. Tara occasionally dabbed her upper lip discreetly with a sleeve. Thank goodness for those long windward tacks, or they might have been too tired to party.

But man, those windward courses killed us in the races. Four races, millions of miles of close-hauled tacking. On the few reaches, we were out in front, giving all the boats in our class a run for it. We even got some really good pictures of the front of the boats that were behind us for a change, but then we'd round the mark and head up for the windward leg of the course, and it was, so long fellas. No matter, we were stylish and had a great time.

We went to parties every day, sometimes two. And they weren't of the beer tent variety: there was the welcome party; a party for the single-handers; a wine tasting; a Pimm's party on the lawn, complete with cream tea and cucumber sandwiches; a 110th birthday party for one of the local boats; a musical night; a champagne party; a lobster and rum punch party sponsored by Portland Yacht Services from Maine; the gig racing and cream tea, and the final prize-giving night at Nelson's Dockyard. All in five days. You can gauge the depth of our fatigue when you factor in four races averaging about 4-5 hours each. But what a great time. Everybody talks to everybody, and if you're wearing a Nova Scotia tartan kilt, you really get to meet a lot of people. Funny, they all want to know what you've got underneath. We alternated our answers, and we only flashed a couple of times. Once, memorably, on our second pass of the reviewing stand during the Parade of Sail. We had the cockpit speakers playing our CD of the Shantymen from Yarmouth, and when someone shouted "what's under yer kilts???", we went for it. Tara and I had proper lady underpants on, but the fellas were wearing our flowered bikini pants.

We went into the photographer's place this afternoon to look at some of the professional shots of Nancy D, and when we said which boat we were from, he cracked up and said, "Want to see my screensaver?" The underpants shot.

The kilts were a big hit. When the kilts went on and the Nova Scotia flag went up the main on the pigstick, the Bluenosers started coming out of the woodwork. Young guys that were working as crew, tourists, cruisers, a few Newfs, lots of other Canadians, we talked to dozens and dozens of people strolling the docks.

The day after Tara and Stewart arrived was the Concourse d'Elegance, the beauty contest. Kim Saunders told us to clean the boat like "your first mother-in-law was coming." Nancy was looking snazzy as hell, and that morning, everybody polished and tidied and dressed up in our kilts. There were judges going by on the docks making notes, and then one came aboard and had a look around in the late morning. I checked with the yacht club, and they said, you're clear, go ahead and let the crew mess things up. So we had lunch, drank a bottle of champagne (just for kicks), read our new magazines, didn't do the dishes, and got ready to go to the beach. Then Stewart sticks his head down the companionway to tell Tara and I that the judges were back. I said, Stewart, you bastard, but he said, no, really. Tara and I went into overdrive, and tidied everything up again, and two guys went through again, and another judge chatted with Randy on deck about all the people and boats they both knew.

Then we went to the beach. That night we picked up second prize in the Concourse d'Elegance, and it's not just for our racing class, but for all boats built after 1950. Gotta check how many that was, but third prize was Metani, and first was Stormvogel. Are we chuffed?!!

The races were exciting. There were bits where there were boats, huge boats, medium boats, small boats, all zooming around in close quarters, and there were some great photos taken. Guest crew Bill and Leona (race 2) and Dave and Michelle (race 4) took some great pictures. Before the start for race 4, there was a horrific collision that resulted in a small Dutch boat being dismasted. We were close by, heard the shout, and Dave started shooting pictures immediately. We handed off a CD of the photos to the captain yesterday, and Dave's quick shots will make a big difference in resolving the insurance issues. It was an upsetting way to start a race, and there were two other collisions later in the day: Kate and Charm III, and two of the big J boats - Ranger and Velsheda "touched" and both retired from the race shortly after.

We managed to stay out of the really close calls, but we were more than close enough for my personal space issues. Randy kept us out of trouble, and every day, backed us into the dock at the Antigua Yacht Club with skill and aplomb. Never failed to impress the onlookers. Particularly the owners of the incredibly expensive boats on either side of us.

Prize-giving night, we went out for dinner at the Gallery, ate fabulous tapas, and sauntered over to English Harbour. Best dressed went to the crowd of pirates on the purple Cornwall (Cornish?) Lugger, Veracity, and they also got the Spirit of the Regatta. Lots of other prizes, but we went home satisfied with our beauty contest win. You just can't race with the big boys and expect to win when you're racing your house. Beautiful house though!

Tara and Stewart are home in one piece, we've had a couple of nights of 10 hours straight in the bunk, and things are back to semi-normal. It was an absolutely great regatta - well organized, incredible free stuff (tshirts, hats, rum, magazines, croissants/juice/newspapers delivered to the boat every morning!), and snazzy parties with hundreds of friendly people. Having Stewart and Tara here was the icing on the cake, and they're responsible for the kilts and crew shirts and so much more. They really made the whole experience, um, FUN. And now that we've done it, we never have to race again.

I'll post a million more photos as soon as I can.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ready for Saturday's race

Chasing Andy on Alice of Penryn

Big boys

Bill and Stewart (Bill and Leona from Voyageur C joined us for this race)

Kate coming by inside at the mark


And after an excellent day on the water, Pimms Party on the lawn at the yacht club

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A quick review of the last couple of days. Here's the lads getting togged up.

Preparing for the Concourse d'E'legance

Tidy boat!

More tidy boat

Champagne post-judging

Getting ready for race 1

Mistral, with Chloe from Lunenburg aboard!

Terrifically intense racing team....

June, thundering by. They all thundered by...

Kate, also going by.

Happy Capt. Great race, great day on the water, and we only came in last by about 20-odd minutes.

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