Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Round Redonda Race

Just as the sun began to peek over Shirley Heights, our friends on Madhatter came alongside our anchored boat and we jumped aboard. I motored us out of English Harbour while the guys removed the anchor and prepped the boat for racing and Lisa prepared our food for the day.

We arrived at the start line a little late so the race committee swapped the multihull and monohull starts. The multihulls left at 8:15, and we crossed at 8:30 am.

The downwind run to Redondo Island was pretty easy and we rounded the island at 1:45 pm. We thought we would have a reach down the lee side of the island, but these steep sided islands in the Caribbean create their own microclimates and the wind was flukey, variable, and at times nonexistant. We struggled around the northwest corner of the island, but finally found the wind again and started beating back to Antigua.

We could hold about 65° on the starboard tack and 165° on the port tack and of course the finish line was on a heading of about 95°, dead upwind. The conditions were rougher and wetter going upwind, but at least it wasn't cold. We continued like this for hours and hours.

There's always plenty of time for talking on long legs, and we all got to know each other better as we shared tales and stories from our pasts, even as we laughed about our present circumstances. Eventually the children (did I mention they have a 6 year-old, an 8 year-old, and a 12 year-old aboard?) drifted off to sleep and the adults enjoyed that comfortable sense of comraderie where conversation isn't even necessary. We were truly at ease with each other, ourselves, and the world. Well, maybe not the wind angle, but most everything else.

We finally crossed the finish line at 3:00 am, quickly dropped the sails, cleared up the spaghetti in the cockpit, and motored alongside "Thistle" where we stepped back aboard, staggered below, and fell into our bunks exhausted.

The next day was the awards ceremony at The Pillars. We had a pleasant evening getting to know the race committee and the crew of Phaedo3, who also raced. Although the name "Madhatter" will be the first name on this new trophy, we felt a little like Captain Jack Sparrow when told that he was perhaps the worst pirate they'd ever heard of and he said, "Yes, but you HAVE heard of me."

Being cruisers, we may be the worst racers anyone's ever heard of, but they HAVE heard of us!
Congratulations Madhatter! Job well done.

Captain Chris and Captain Lloyd with their trophies.
Phaedo3, winner in multihull division.

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