We felt so lucky to have been on the island twice now for regatta. Our first time was last year. Each experience was completely different. We haven’t even attended all the surrounding events! Being on SXM was truly amazing. We were by the coast and then on the beach watching as all the white sails rounded the corner by Pinel and continued toward Philipsburg. Previous years we listened to Dr. Soch on Island 92 describe the various sail races, teams, and boat types. To be on the water chasing these boats, well, talk about exciting!
Last year we were too late to join our friends on a party catamaran with their cool matching T-shirts. Another good friend organized a party on a motor boat instead. Our captain had raced before and was able to explain what was going on in more detail. We tooled around Simpson Bay watching whites sails and later on the colorful spinnakers. Through the radio we heard catamarans getting in trouble for being to close to the racers! Some boats were extremely close to each other and nimbly maneuvered avoiding crashes. There were those who messed up and had to go back around. It was difficult to understand where starting and finishing points were. At the end of our trip we headed back into the lagoon docking near Cugini’s. Bill and I walked to the Yacht Club to watch as all the sailboats passed through the drawbridge. What a crazy sight! Each team was either dressed in costumes or mooned us! Yikes! Small motor boats sprayed ships and people with rooster tails of water. Horns blowing, crowds cheering and waving all while drinking, what a scene. The traffic was stopped on Welfare Road in both directions and people got out to watch or grab a beer.
The only sailing experience I’ve had was as a passenger. Bill took me sailing way back when we were about nineteen! Several years ago he went to Great Bay on a race sailboat with 12 Metre Challenge. The guests became the crew for a couple of hours and each learned a job. Together they became teams and were able to race against other boats! What an awesome time Bill had!
This year we sailed with our friends, team Ti Jon! Cindy and Jon were our gracious hosts, and thanks to Donna for getting us a spot! Part of the fun was getting not only a T-shirt but a goodie bag. I took pictures of what some of the ladies had done to make their own fashion statement out of the T. From Philipsburg we went to Simpson Bay, docking just before the bridge by the jail. There we picked up more guests before heading out for the chase. We had a full party boat complete with dance music, snacks, and drinks. Somehow we missed the spinnakers altogether and were left with only the white sails. It amazed me to see just how far those ships lean when making a turn. The teams all managed to stay on board. We watched sails collapse and fill with the wind. There was less commentary as to what was happening with the sailboats. On our way back to P’burg we anchored in Little Bay, another first for us. The clouds came and made it too cool for me to swim but, of course, Bill went in! Our catamaran was near a floating Tiki bar and family fun area. It had been a lovely day with food and friends with loads of pictures to prove it!