The Heineken Regatta…

After we left St. Barts, we had to round St. Martin to be able to get to the other side where Anguilla is. It was a great day for a sail. We had great winds and wonderful seas. But, we were not the only ones having a great day. As we sailed along the underside of St. Martin, we noticed some racing buoys and a number of sailboats out. Not a lot but a number. As we went by them, we got the distinct impression that a sailing race was on today. Then we realized that it was the annual Heineken regatta. It was still early and not many boats were out but we did see a couple really cool boats including a retired Volvo Around the World Ocean Racing boat. It’s pictured below. Unfortunately, it wasn’t sailing at the time that we say it.

P3030259

We also sailed by the start line of the regatta. With friendly waves from the other boats. We continued to sail along the underside of the island until we round the corner and started to head north. At that point, we took a good look back and noticed that there were now tons of boats out with their sails up. The race had started or was about to start soon. All of a sudden we felt like perhaps we should be making haste to get out of there. Especially when we say a buoy ahead of us that we a marker for them to go around as they raced around the island. So, we tightened the sails and off we went asking Legend to pick up the pace a bit.

P3030272

And she did. As we headed on to a beam reach (sailing with the wind coming from the side of the boat as opposed to the back or front), we picked up some speed and ended up sailing the boat at here fastest speed to date with only her sails…. a big 10.8 knots (or almost 20 km/h). It was truly a glorious sail. The kids were having fun. We were all enjoying the sun, the wind, the relatively calm seas and a beautiful sail.

P3030294

Passage To Island of Ile Fourchu

Don’t get your spell checkers out the name of the island is spelled correctly. Ile Fourchu. A rocky place where sheep ended up eating all the vegetation until they were removed.

By the way, I believe that Captain Jack is following us. Here he is again with a square rigger. They are just about to put up all the sails… Nice.

P3020084

While Caroline took a break and beachcombed, the boys and I went climbing. Boy did they have a good time. We climbed to some of the higher places on this small island. Here’s a shot looking down from one of them.

P3020126

Here’s one of climbers now. And, before you get your Child and Family Services dialing finger going, Noah is fully lathered with sunscreen.

P3020130

The cruising guide suggest that you wear cactus ready shoes. Here is one reason why.

P3020131

The ocean meets the land… together they tussle into a white foamy mess.

[Egad, where did that come from?]

P3020133

A view back to St. Barts and a yacht sailing just north of the island.

P3020139

A view from on high down to the bay and our boat and another Canadian boat. We are the boat in behind and that is our dinghy/tender anchored near the shore in the bottom left.

P3020140

And, Legend. I’ve said it before. She is a good ship.

P3020158

Gustavia – St Barts

Another successful passage. And we arrive in another French port. I can tell you that the French islands have great food and know how to bake their bread. The influences of the mother country are very much front and centre. The restaurants create wonderful food, the grocery stores are stocked as they would be in France (including wonderful meats, yum), and the buildings are quaintly European.

Here is one of the many dinghy docks that the port has. The country is geared toward the cruise ship tourist, as well as the rich and famous but they do look after the yachtsmen and women quite well. The checking in procedure is really painless relative to other countries and islands.

P3010057

Lots of shops including Cartier, Bulgari, Quiksilver, Carat, etc. We didn’t get a chance to experience one of the restaurants, as we had a great BBQ steak on the boat, but we can assume that they are wonderful. And, many had great views as well.

P3010060

This is also the land of big ships as well. For New Year’s Eve, the harbour is full of huge boats for the annual fireworks. Apparently quite something. It’s always interesting to look at these boats. I always spot at least one or two boat boys or girls scurrying about cleaning something or doing something else. Ahh, that’s a thought. I should be getting the boys to polish the brightwork, and swab the deck…. why am I? Oh ya, child labour laws. Now, where was I? St. Barts. A brief stop here in Gustavia to check in and then off the next day for a quick tour to a couple of other bays.

P3010063