Another party at Lagoonies, St. Maarten. The agony never ends :)
Racing Azura with Captain Steve in the back trimming the Cruising Chute (blue sail).
Admiral Maria getting ready for the Heineken Regatta.
The racing crew returning victorious, or something like that...
Returning through the Simpson Bay Bridge after a day of racing and celebrating!
Captain Steve and some R&R at Villa Rosa in the infinity pool. St. Barths is in the distant background somewhere.
S/Y Aspen – March 29, 2017 – Log #149
Aspen Position: 18 degrees 02’ N 063 degrees 05’ W
St. Maarten, Caribbean
7 weeks! That is how long we spent in St. Maarten/St. Martin.
Captain Steve got to race on a 56 foot Swan sailboat named Azura in the Heineken Regatta, of all things. His job was spinnaker trimmer and rail meat. Rail meat are the people who hang their bodies over the life lines on the high side of a racing sailboat. The added weight of many crew members acting as rail meat helps the boat to sail faster.
Rail meat was kind of fun because there was not a lot of thinking about what to do when the big seas pummeled our legs as the boat screamed forward to a marker in the middle of the sea, closer to St. Barths than St. Maarten.
The only problem was when the boat went to the other tack - meaning that the boat turned suddenly to put the sails on the other side. The experienced captain and crew neglected to tell Captain Steve that he needed to QUICKLY (like lightning) move his body to the OTHER side of the boat and hang over the lifelines there.
So when the boat first tacked, Captain Steve quickly noticed he was alone on the low side of the boat, with the rest of the rail meat perched high above him. In a flash (well kind of a slow sprint), Steve clawed his way up the mountain of a boat to the other rail and hung there, waiting for the next tack. That was exciting!
We rounded the mark far out at sea and POW, the spinnaker shot away, filling with a huge whoosh in front to Azura. Captain Steve went into action and managed to get the proper spinnaker line tight around a huge winch to hold the sail in place.
Once again, no one bothered to tell Steve that he could not take his eyes off the spinnaker because he had to constantly trim the spinnaker until the end of the race. Captain Steve still has a neck ache from that ordeal.
Right at the finish line, another similar sized racing boat tried to beat Azura. That didn’t go over well with Azura’s racing crew and captain. So with an unplanned, wind howling, screaming maneuver of the boat and spinnaker (with the other boat less than 1 FOOT from Azura’s bow), we thundered across the line without hitting anything.
Captain Steve was heard saying afterward, “I don’t see a lot of ocean racing in Aspen’s future”.
After the Heineken Regatta, Maria and Captain Steve enjoyed the many restaurants, beaches, friends (both sailing and land friends) and parties on the island for the next month, while working on Aspen of course.
Maria went to women’s only lunches where the female sailors talk about everything and anything, except boat problems! Over 30 women show up for those luncheons too.
With our boat projects finished, at least for now, we are headed to Antigua. The winds never do this, as we have all heard before. But the forecast predicts we can lay Antigua on Aspen’s bow and not get beat up going southeast. We will see!
Sail on, sail on Aspen…
Also, our book, Voyage Into Hell, is available at Amazon.com