….The Heineken Regatta.
Yes Boatblog® Fans, flushed with success from our racing debut on Galatea in Grenada, we decided to enter The Heineken Regatta on the island of St Maarten.
But this time in our own boat!
Now this is not something to be undertaken lightly, and certainly not something we could do double handed, so the first step was to put together a world class crew. Fortunately, as we have travelled across the Seven Seas, we have become friends with many fine sailors, in particular Stuart and Anne Letton from Scotland, and Dave and Linda Witham from California.
So with Ju and Lyn (from England) we had a truly INTERNATIONAL team, and knew that Domini (from France) was going to be a force to be reckoned with.
THE A-TEAM. From left to right:- Stuart, Anne, Ju, Lyn, Linda and Dave.
All we needed now was a costume.
Maybe purple wasn’t the best colour, but they had six of them on offer in Budget Marine.
We set about honing our skills.
Stuart was volunteered to be skipper…
…on the grounds that he actually knew what he was doing.
Dave was Main Sheet Trimmer…
Linda was Winch Grinder…
…and a thousand other things too numerous to mention.
…tried not to get in the way.
…did everything else.
So all in all, we had a first rate crew. All we needed now was some practice on the boat. Unfortunately, on the day we had planned to go out training, it was too windy to get out of the marina (I’m not kidding). So we had to sit in the pub all day and talk about how we were going to win.
Not to worry. Ready or not, the big day was upon us.
HEINEKEN REGATTA 2015 – DAY 1
Dave and Linda cast off our mooring lines…
(In case you were wondering, that’s Dave on the left, Linda on the right.)
The skipper gave his last minute instructions…
…and we set off.
Through the lifting bridge out of the marina…
…to the race area.
The five minute warning flag was raised, and we positioned ourselves near the start line.
We were off.
There were hundreds of boats all round us.
Including of course, some proper race boats…
It’s all very exciting.
We got off to a good start…even with Ju helming.
A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
There is a handicap system at work in sailing races, so that different boats can compete fairly against each other. After a hard fought race, Anne worked out that with the corrected times, from a class of fifteen boats, we had come…
Let me see. Four hours twenty six seconds divided by 0.875, times the boat length, divided by the square root of the sail area, plus the combined ages of the crew, less their weight in kilos means that we are….
Not a bad start Boatblog® Fans.
Could we keep it up for the next two days?
HEINEKEN REGATTA 2015 – DAY 2
The second day, Lyn took the helm.
And as you can see in Stuart’s face, the pressure was on…
…and that day we learnt many new Scottish words.
This time my friends, after another long and difficult race, we came SECOND in our class.
HEINEKEN REGATTA 2015 – DAY 3
So now the pressure really was on for the third day. We even got the pole out…
Even though Domini broke her own speed record, managing 12.2 knots (and that’s through the water, not SOG for those sailors reading who understand these subtleties) it wasn’t enough to keep the Schooner from overtaking us.
But still, once again we came SECOND over the finish line.
CROSSING THE LINE
But Oh No!!
As we went over the line, the race committee boat that we had just passed didn’t blow the whistle as we had expected. This is the signal that would confirm we had finished and our time had been recorded.
“Why not?” Linda politely screamed at the officials on the boat.
“We’re just spectators,” one of them replied. “The finish line is over there.”
He pointed to an almost identical boat thirty yards upwind of us, It turned out that the boat we had passed was not in fact the actual Race Committee Boat. It was the committee boat for another race that had forgotten to take it’s flags down, and they were just sat there guzzling gin & tonics.
“Goodness me! You rascals!” Ju remonstrated, or words to that effect.
As quickly as possible, we gybed round, tacked and gybed again, and eventually crossed the proper finish line.
CROSSING THE ACTUAL LINE
But by the time we had done all this, our position had dropped down to SIXTH place.
This was not fair, and we wanted to officially protest. To do that, under the rules of racing you have to raise a red flag. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a red flag, so we raised a pair of Lyn’s red trousers.
This meant that after the race, Ju and Stuart had to go to the International Protest Committee and explain that we thought it unfair to position such similar boats next to each other.
After several hours, we discovered that our protest had been UPHELD. Which meant that our original position of SECOND was officially recorded.
And that, Boatblog® Fans meant that over the three days…
The Overall Winner in the Lottery Class
35th International Heineken Regatta 2015
1st PLACE OVERALL
Much as we would like to take all the credit for our spectacular win, the real honours go to our fantastic friends and crew, Dave, Linda and Anne. And of course Stuart our amazing skipper. Thank you to you all, for giving us such a fun and exciting three days.
Now…off for some Rum Punches to celebrate.
Woo woo woo!
Ju & Lyn