Racing in Big Wind and Seas

Jack and Jo arranged for Joy and I, Joe and Casey, Gary and Patti, and friends of Gary’s to spend one day out on the water watching the racing close up. Let me tell you, this plan beat all of our land side locations, hands down. But with 25 to 30 knots of breeze and 6 to 9 foot seas, it was sure to be an adventure.

Jack had a set of custom made paravanes (roll attenuators) installed while they were in Trinidad in 2012, and these “fish” as they are often called, are deployed to either side of the vessel to help reduce roll. We sure needed them on the open sea, because in these conditions trawlers have a tendency to roll, a lot. As we stood on the aft deck, the boat rolled enough that 2 to 4 inches of water constantly swirled back and forth over the deck through the scuppers.

Once again I’m going to insert a gallery of photos; I took more than 150 photos out on the course, and cannot begin to post them all here. A couple comments will follow. Two clicks on the photos for good viewing.

The yachts were divided into 6 overall classes with divisions in each class if required to fairly sort the competitors. Some of the yachts sliced through the waves with no fuss or bother at all; others, such as the much older boxy designs with square rigs had little ability to work their way upwind in the huge seas. After a six mile slog out to a reaching mark and back, some of the boats had barely gained a quarter mile upwind, and they still had 3 3/4 miles to go to reach the upwind mark. It was sure to be along day for them.

Eventually though, each boat returned to the harbor, and that evening’s happy hour sported lots of smiling faces and wild tales.

Everything ends eventually though, and the regatta is no different. The parties finally wound down, awards presented, and smiling faces headed back to their boats for journeys either home or, for the large yachts, on to other sailing events somewhere in the world.

From here in Antigua, we pointed the bow south back to Trinidad, stopping only where necessary to wait for weather. Antigua shaped our future plans though, and 2015 will see us hauling at Jolly Harbor. Stay tuned for future sailing adventures.

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