I was tired after the long sail up nevertheless I had a pleasant afternoon wandering around the harbor in Gustavia, St Barts, watching the mega mega rich arriving for the bucket races. The shuttle puddle jumper from St Maarten was running non stop and I heard they have a new parking problem at St Maarten airport. Where to put all the Lear Jets and Gulfstreams that had flown the glitterati down to the islands. The delivery/race crews were washing and polishing their charges before donning fresh matching shirts and shorts to greet the owners, Dom Perignon chilling down below for the owners and beer for the crew. Hanuman was there with its new battle flag, I suspect that it's owner may not have quite the gravitas of some of the other racers.
The elegant J Endeavor was there fresh from an extensive refit in NZ along with Ranger and Velsheda. The coming together of the 4 J class yachts encouraged the race organizers to put on a special exibition race and I was looking forward to watching it the following day as I went to sleep.
I was awoken early with a knock by the harbor master requesting that I move as I was too close to another boat. Fair enough I thought I had anchored last but he had let out more rode after I anchored but hey ho. As came to I realized that my dinghy was missing. Unclipped, untied and the security wire cut, I was a victim of the midnight dinghy thief. As I moved I passed another dinghy 50 m away that I had seen as I anchored the day before, a brand new AB with a big shiny Honda 4st. Just tied to an empty mooring buoy no security lock or anything. Now I had always been a bit smug about my outboard, it was a 28 year old Johnson, prehistoric in outboard terms and I had thought that no self respecting thief would bother with it but someone wanted it badly along with my very identifiable dinghy with it's ingrained painted on Virgin Island registration letters. Ah well it is my 10th year as a liveaboard and my first theft.
So I blagged a ride in and spent the morning doing the rounds of officialdom reporting the theft and removing the dinghy and engine from my customs clearance papers. FOUR sets of officials had to be visited, officialdom overkill!
After that I could only watch the exibition race from the quayside but it was overcast and raining so it might not have been that much fun out in the dinghy, still it would be nice to have had the option.
You are pretty stuffed on a boat without a dink so I organized one in the duty free island of St Maarten cleared out from St Barts blagged a ride out to Elephants Child from a friendly local dive boat and headed out next day.
I timed my departure to get a sight of the race boats but had not realized that some faster boats were given a longer course with the final leg a reciprocal of my course to St Maarten. It was a gray and very rainy day but I got a few pics of the slower boats before realizing that there were a pack of mega million dollar boats emerging from the grey mist and heading straight for me. MUMMY! Still a few slalom manouvres and I am sure no race boat had to alter course for me although Hetairos the brand new 216 ft ketch did seem to be altering course anyway as it brought up the rear of the pack. I was lucky enough to get a great shot of Endeavor with the crew dangling their feet over the side and doing it without a safety rail. No wussy lifelines for these boys, just a little toe rail as it was the old days of yacht racing. I think Endeavor was the first J home. I don't lust after much BUT if I was a mega millionaire I would buy her or a replica, shear boat pornography!
Cleared in to St Maarten [ more officialdom needing the same information filled in THREE TIMES] having blagged another ride in and bought a shiny new AB dink and a shiny new Tohatsu 18 hp outboard.
Back on the boat after lunch I am snoozing down below when I get a knock on the side of the boat, it's a Dutch coastguard rib wanting to do an inspection. Three set of jackboots came aboard two inspecting all drawers lockers and cubby holes down below except they did not get their uniforms dirty and sweaty by investigating the hard to get space below the cockpit. In fact they did not even look in to it with a torch. Guess what even MORE OFFICIAL forms had to be filled in.
So I am hoping for a quiet night or two in the St Maarten lagoon to catch up on sleep before I head back down to Antigua on the first good forecast. Why do I need sleep well there was a really big sound system in ST Barts BLASTING out over the anchorage to 4 am and last night in St Maarten I must have anchored off the local night club which again was blasting out to 4 am. Yes I moved again.
HOT POOP LATE OFF THE PRESS
Most seriously damaged was the largest yacht in the fleet, the very impressive 67m Baltic Yacht Hetairos, designed by one of hottest current yacht design collaborations possible, Dysktra and Reichel/Pugh. She unfortunately hit a submerged rock and did quite a bit of damage to her keel – yet finished the race to the bitter end.
WELL I DID WONDER WHY SHE WAS LAST AND FAILING TO HOLD A STEADY COURSE.