It’s About Sailing

posted from Admiralty Bay, Bequia

FAST TIMES (SORT OF)

We are through the holiday season and life has settled down a little, but we still manage to stay busy.  In addition to the typical music and cruiser events there have been a few races in Grenada.  The first was match races on small Hobie Cats hosted by the Le Phare Bleu Yacht Club.  This was a well attended fun event.  Unfortunately the wind didn’t cooperate – especially in the starting area.  Often one of each pair of competitors would find a small wind hole and get stuck at the start and the other would get an insurmountable lead.  I was in the first pair to race and had the dubious honor of being the first to get stuck in the wind hole.  I did manage make up most of the time and make a respectable showing, but I was the first to be eliminated.  Of course I was the first to the beer concession so it wasn’t all bad.

Searching for wind

Searching for wind

MORE FAST TIMES

The match races were followed by the Grenada Sailing Week (keelboats) and the Grenada Sailing Festival (traditional island workboats).  These two races used to be part of the same event, but they split last year.  The work boat final races fall on the lay day in the middle of the sailing week event.

We went to the work boat races last time we were here and they are a must see.  The boats are not very hi-tech, but they are very colorful.

Some boats are more hi-tech than others

Some boats are more hi-tech than others

The boats are very colorful

The boats are very colorful

The boats start just off the beach – barely beyond the surf line.  One or two guys hold the boat and jump in when the start signal is given.  This gets pretty interesting – especially when repairs and adjustments are in progress.

This guy gets dragged trying to fix the boat at the start

This guy gets dragged trying to fix the boat at the start

The races stayed pretty close to the beach, so they were easy to watch.  The races are among teams from all over Grenada and its outer islands, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.  The big winners were the guys from Woburn, the area in the bay next to us.  They won two classes, finished second in another class, and took the overall win.

Lots of serious racing

Lots of serious racing

Grenada Sailing Week, the big boat regatta had four days of fleet racing in four different classes.  I was able to trim mainsheet on Jaguar, the boat I raced on in Antigua last spring.  The boat is a Frers 43 owned by Peter Morris and based in Trinidad. Our friend, Bob Starboard, flew to Trinidad from Washington, DC, to help deliver the boat to Grenada and stayed on Compass Rose during the races.  Fellow cruiser Ray McTear of C Drifter  also did the delivery, and another cruiser, Steve from Summer Love, crewed with us, too.  We entered the Cruising I class, which allowed double headsails, but no spinnakers.  We had a great time.

Most of the racing was in the protected bay off Grand Anse Beach, but one day we went to the south coast where it was windy and lumpy.  Jackie and Steve’s wife, Donna, walked out to Prickley Point to watch and take pictures.

Jaguar downwind with double headsails

Jaguar downwind with double headsails

Jaguar clawing her way to windward

Jaguar clawing her way to windward

Eric, Peter, and Bob

Eric, Peter, and Bob

By the end of the twelve race regatta, Jaguar had two seconds and ten firsts.  She won her class three of four days and overall for the regatta.

IT FINALLY HAPPENED!

It seemed like we had been in Grenada forever, but finally on February 9th we dropped the mooring, topped up the fuel tanks and sailed out of Mt. Hartman Bay.  We had a scary moment when we tried to top up the starboard fuel tank – it only took a gallon.  We collect water on that side of the deck and I feared that some – actually a lot –  had seeped past the O-ring in the diesel deck filler.  I checked the vlave positions and our fuel records and found to our great relief that we had used almost no fuel out of that tank since we filled it up almost a year ago in St. Maarten.  I had switched to that tank recently and used a little fuel to charge the batteries on a cloudy day, so we knew we weren’t sucking any water off the bottom of the tank.

We had a pleasant sail around the SW corner of Greneda and up past St. Georges to Flamingo Bay.  This is a delightful little bay that I had stayed in when my brother-in-law and I sailed down from Carriacou, but it was a first for Jackie.  The next day we sailed north to Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.  The seas were relatively small, but the wind angle could have been better, but after a couple tacks we arrived in Tyrrel Bay.

CARRIACOU CARNIVAL!

The next morning Jackie spotted a Facebook entry from Debby on Chimayo posted at 3 AM saying they were off to J’ouvert, a traditional Carnival event.  We had completely forgotton that we had arrived in time for Carnival.  They weren’t in Tyrrel Bay (which had been uncharacteristically rolly) so we headed around to their favorite haunt at Sandy Island.  Sure enough, there was Chimayo. We grabbed a mooring and dinghied across the channel to Off The Hook on Paradise Beach.  Sure enough, there were Debbie and Bob.  They were tired and somewhat painted, but having a great time.

We all caught a ride into Hillsboro that afternoon to see the Carnival festivities.   We got back late, but successfully launched the dinchy in the surf and negotiated the ride back across the channel into the wind and the waves.  The next morning we got up fairly early and made our way to Brunswick, a little crossroads on the way to town, to see part of the Shakespeare competition.  A contestants in “Shakespearean” costumes pair off and recite speeches from the Shakespeare play selected for that year.  When one person makes an error the other calls him on it and takes over.  Sometimes “violence” breaks out and the pair beat each other on their reinforced capes with flexible rods.  It is quite a spectacle.

Shakespeare contestands face off

Shakespeare contestands face off

There was even a competition for youngsters and some really got into it

There was even a competition for youngsters and some really got into it

We then made our way to town to see the Shakespeare final and the last parade of Carnival.  Carriacou is a small island, so the parade is much smaller than in Grenada, but the participants put a lot of effort into it and sport some very nice costumes.  And to make up for the shortness of the parade some of the groups do as many as three laps around town.

Fancy costume includes cell phone holder

Fancy costume includes cell phone holder

CarnSpeakers

Like any other carnival, there was plenty of loud music

Carn0481

Cruisers watch the parade go by

Carn0498

There were youngsters accompanying some groups

Carn0516

Everyone was taking pictures

CarnKIM

Kim from Da Big Fish in Grenada shows off one of the fabulous costumes

CarnOpener

Bob uses a piece of metal in his shoe to open a beer

ANOTHER TYPE OF CARNIVAL

The dust had barely settled when another type of carnival took place – elections.  They seem to take their politics pretty seriously in Carriacou.  Lots of people wore green shirts in support of the opposition party.  Very few wore the red shirts of the incumbent party.  When all was said and done, the greens took the prime minister position and ALL the representative seats.

Fuzzy Flheary or Nimrod?  You decide

Fuzzy Fleary or Nimrod? You decide

L’ESTERRE JUNIOR SAILING

Bob and Debbie have spent most of the time since the beginning of hurricane season in Carriacou.  They have become very involved with the L’esterre Junior Sailing Club.  They conduct most of the saturday sailing activities including having the kids police the beach, rig the boats and put them away at the end of the day.  They also make certain the kids get a lunch, as many of the families are poor.

View across L'esterre Bay to Sandy Island from Off The Hook

View across L’esterre Bay to Sandy Island from Off The Hook

Rigging a boat. Old sails, wooden spars, but the boats sail

Rigging a boat. Old sails, wooden spars, but the boats sail

Rigging the boats and launching off the beach

Rigging the boats and launching off the beach

The club has eight boats at their disposal and this is the first time they have all been in working in order at the same time thanks to Bob’s repair skills and help from members of the community.

Bob and Debbie take a short break after the boats are launched

Bob and Debbie take a short break after the boats are launched

TYRREL BAY

We spent about two weeks anchored in Tyrrel Bay.  We did some snorkeling around the boat and along the edge of the mangroves.  Here are some of the things we saw around town and in the water.

Brain coral

Brain coral

WhiteSpotFile-Orange

White spotted file fish in orange phase

SeaCucumber

Sea cucumber

Octopus

Octopus

Lobster

Curious lobster peek out of their lair

Fluke

Fluke from one of the many mooring anchors around our boat. Our anchor chain would hook on this one once in a while

Fish

unidentified fish

WestIndSeaEgg

West Indian sea egg

Head0541

A common item in an uncommon place

Black Beach on the east side of the island

Black Beach on the east side of the island

Cow mooring

Cow mooring

Test 1: Find the lizard

Test 1: Find the lizard

Test 2: Find the frog.

Test 2: Find the frog.

Test 3: find the "s"

Test 3: find the “s”

Test 2: find the sheep

Test 4: find the hidden sheep

Beach in Tyrrel Bay

Beach in Tyrrel Bay

Part of the town of Harvey Vale, Tyrrel Bay

Part of the town of Harvey Vale, Tyrrel Bay

Flower

Flower seen on our hike

Another flower seen on our hike

Another flower seen on our hike

Tods? And just how new is that vendor's market?

Tods? And just how new is that vendor’s market?

Isn't that the kind of thing you really want to say?

Isn’t that the kind of thing you really want to say?

OTHER BLOGS

My brother, Dave, retired just over a year ago.  He is a bit of an adventurous type, so no sitting at home hooking rugs for him.  For example, he and I sailed Compass Rose from St. Thomas, USVI to Moorehead City, NC., and he has crossed (and crossed back) all the Great Lakes except Superior on Hobie Cats – often solo.

He has set off to ride a unicycle from California to Florida.  He is doing this just to do it, but he is looking for donations to research on ALS – Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He has started a blog: http://unicyclingsailor.com . I suggested that we compare distance traveled by the time we put Compas Rose up for hurricane season.  Why not follow along.

Our friend, Joan, is driving the support vehicle.  She also has a blog at: http://wanderthirstjoan.com/  so you can get two perspectives of the same trip and find out what a support driver does while waiting for the rider.

NEXT: SWEET GRENADINES

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