Friday, February 12, 2016

I'm Officially a Racer!

Yes, I can add racer to my resume!
I crewed during Grenada Sailing Week aboard a J 125 Ultra Light
called Eagles' Wings.

The regatta is made up of a series of races spread over 4 days.
It takes advantage of numerous venues by beginning and ending
in different marinas around the island.  Sailing conditions also vary
as the racing moves from the protected west coast to the windier and 
rougher south coast.

Days 1 and 2 began from the Grenada Yacht Club which is located
on the lagoon in St. George's.  Racing was off Grand Anse Beach.

I can also add "rail meat" to my resume! 
I'm 4th from the right in the turquoise shoes.

Tight quarters during the race.

This is Eagles' Wings with her rail in the water while Rapajam
tries to steal our air and pass us.

Eagles' Wings is given a pretty stiff handicap in racing rules even 
though she is rigged for cruising.  For example, we had 2nd place at
the finish line in 2 out of 3 races the first day but placed last in the 
points system in our field of 5 boats.  We were also a fairly 
inexperienced  crew with several first-timers like myself.  
We did have one mishap on the first day.
Our skipper had us in perfect position at the start-line for the 3rd race
when another boat T-boned us!  We saw them coming at us and had time
to pull our legs up but their skipper made no attempt to roundup away
from us.  Luckily no one was hurt but Eagles' Wings did sustain
damage.  The other boats' bow snagged our lifeline and pulled it,
ripping one stanchion from the deck, bending another stanchion,
and twisting the bow pulpit.  There was also some hull damage.
Somehow we managed to recover and still placed second!

The bent and twisted stanchions.

End of day 2 and cold Carib for everyone.

I loved sailing with this amazing crew.
We represented 6 different countries, the U.S., Canada, Scotland,
 England, Spain and Trinidad!

Day 2 finished at Secret Harbour Marina.

The only experience I've had with flying a spinnaker is in light winds
when cruising on Merengue.  Flying a chute in 20 kts of wind in a 
race was something entirely new and it became my responsibility
along with another crew member.  We also didn't have any practice
time before the regatta but by the last day we were pretty good!
Eagles' Wings looks pretty running downwind with her chute up.

Day 4 had us sailing back to Prickly Bay Marina.  At the awards
ceremony that night we won an award for the crew showing the 
most perseverance.  I think that's code for "you're last but you tried hard."
We never gave up and sailed the last race as hard as the first.

I had a blast!  What a great experience.
I'm now an official member of the Red Hat Club.
I have the bruises to show for it.  I earned it!

There are lots of great race photos at

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Eve BBQ

They came by sea.....

and soon the beach in Prickly Bay looked like a parking lot.

We gathered for our 3rd annual 
Cruiser Pot-Luck and Lobster Barbecue
on Christmas Eve.

Many hands prepping the lobster tails.

The local fisherman really came through for us and 
provided us with approximately 21 tails that were 2 to 3 pounds each.

Loving our Caribbean Christmas!
Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Back Aboard

We've been back in Grenada for a month now and have settled into the
routine of a cruisers' life in Prickly Bay.
It was nice waking up to a rainbow on our first morning here.

Hanging in Merengue's rigging was this burgee, courtesy of our friends
Hope and Steve, the Minnesota Vikings fans.
One side says "Minnesota is Mossome".....

while the other says "Green Bay still Sucks."
We have been trying to exorcise the demons from Merengue ever since!
No amount of incense, rum offerings, chanting, etc seems to be working.
We've had numerous boat problems and the Packers haven't played 
well ever since except that time when they
beat, now who was that, oh yes the Minnesota Vikings!

One of the net controllers on our cruiser's radio net has a saying that
I feel is very true.
"Sailing is not a Vacation but a Vocation."
Jim is getting too much vocational training since we've been back!
Here he is wedged into the head replacing the joker valve.

A few days later our dinghy sprang a leak.
This is worse than getting a flat tire on your car.
A flat is quickly changed and you're back on the road.
The dinghy had to be hauled out for several days while a patch was
applied and allowed to dry.  The hole was on the bottom of the tube.
This was a challenge because when the dinghy was deflated, you
couldn't get it to lie flat enough to apply the patch smoothly.
When inflated so that the tube was smooth it leaked!
Jim came up with a good solution where he applied a small 
patch that was just slightly larger than the hole and let that dry
for 24 hours.

Then Jim inflated the dinghy a little more to smooth out the hull, 
being careful to not blow the patch.  He glued this larger patch right 
over the top.  If you don't think this solution will work, please don't
tell us.  We prefer living in denial!
Many thanks go out to our friends who gave us rides back and forth 
to shore for the many days it took to do the repairs.
This morning we had a problem with our outboard engine, the same
 problem we had last year. The engine won't stay in gear.
Dear friends. I may be calling you again!

There has been time for some fun.  I've been doing noodle
exercises in the ocean which is a surprisingly good workout.
Bonus - you don't sweat!

We celebrated Jim and Hope's birthday.

And we celebrated Thanksgiving aboard S/V Certitude.
Yes, the person with the big catamaran gets to host.
Thank you Steve!

Despite all the boat problems, we certainly have a lot to be thankful for.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Chocolate Yoga

It's been all things chocolate for the past week in Grenada.

There have been parties, cooking with chocolate demonstrations,
 fashion shows, tours to chocolate factories and cocoa plantations
 and more.  It's a great time to visit!
One of the events that caught my attention was a yoga class at
The True Blue Bay Resort that featured chocolate.
Curious about how the two could be combined I gathered up several
other cruisers from my yoga class and we headed over to
the yoga studio early last Saturday morning.

The studio is really lovely with windows that open up to allow the
breeze through and a beautiful view down to True Blue Bay.
The class was gentle, the surroundings beautiful and the aroma, well
it alternated between the scent of the flowers outside the windows to
the occasional whiff of chocolate.
The class ended with an unusual meditation that went something like this:
"Place the piece of chocolate in your hand.
Look at the rich color, the texture.
Watch how the light catches it.
Bring the chocolate slowly towards your nose. Inhale and notice how
the aroma intensifies. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.
Now place the chocolate on your tongue but don't chew it.
As it melts, how does the texture change?
Do different flavors start to come through?
Now swallow.  Feel the sensation as the chocolate reaches  your
stomach.  How does that feel?"
Well, you get the idea.  It was all about tuning into each of our senses
and savoring every moment.  We repeated the exercise with cocoa tea.
It really was quite lovely and you normally don't get to end an exercise
class with chocolate.  I'm pretty sure that if I had know that you could
meditate with chocolate, I would have taken up yoga years ago.