The morning of the 23rd dawned bright and sunny with plenty of wind for the sail from Roadtown to Bitter End Yacht Club. Joy and I would sail Ocean Angel in company with a brand new Moorings 45.3, also fit with the North 3Di Nordac sails. At dinner the night before, Bill told me if we wanted to start early to get a jump on the bigger, newer boat, we could feel free to do so. But, as luck would have it, the North Sails crew, six helmsmen and trimmers got off bright and early, before we were ready to leave the dock. The press boat with photographer “Amo” at the helm, was right behind them.
Joy and I hustled to shove off, in a bit too much of a hurry I guess, as we got in a minor stitch attempting to leave the dock. As I was tending the spring line from the dock, Joy lost control of the bow to a big gust of wind, but no harm done though, as sailors on the dock jumped to help us get Ocean Angel back under control, and me back on board rather than stranded at the dock looking foolish.
Off we went raising our new sails to greet the 15 to 18 knot easterly breeze, right on the nose, of course, with 5 foot seas to match. Barely out of the harbor, we realized we were over-powered as we buried the bow into the waves and started scooping water into the Genoa. A quick reef in the main, and a 1/3 furl of the Genoa brought our Angel back under control, and we soon started pushing 8 knots hard on the wind into the 5 foot waves! Never before had Ocean Angel achieved this rate of speed in those conditions. Tally Ho.
Within a few minutes I said to Joy, “I think we are overtaking this bigger, newer, boat with 6 crew on board.” Sure enough, within a few tacks, the North Sails crew had to duck our stern as we passed just ahead of them on starboard tack. We held that lead until the winds went light towards the end of the day, and we ghosted into Virgin Gorda Sound just a few boat lengths behind them.
Once tied up to the dock at the Quarterdeck Marina, Bitter End Yacht Club, Bill came up to us and said, “We couldn’t believe it. Here you two are sailing your beautiful 30 year old yacht in these conditions, all by yourselves, while we had 6 crew and alternating helmsmen, and you overtook us! Pretty impressive.” This coming from a former J-24 World’s Champion spoke volumes. Joy and I were tickled pink. That evening we went to dinner with the entire crew, all 18 of us at the Crawl Pub, BEYC, where North treated us to a fantastic, fun meal. Lots of laughter, smiles, and cheers all round.