Whilst in Sint Maarten I entered a competition at Island Water World (IWW) where us cruisers seem to spend copious amounts of money! I wasn’t really sure what the prize entailed except I knew it had something to do with watching some of the 35th Heineken Regatta.
I received an email advising that I’d won and would be joining 10 other winners the next morning out on the water on the IWW 52′ Racing Catamaran. I wondered if Mal was included so I emailed back asking the question to which the response was, sure, bring him along too. Ooh, all of a sudden this is real. It’s been a bit windy, like 25 knots windy, and I get a tad seasick in rough conditions. Do I really want to go? Perhaps Mal could go on his own. Heck no, I want to go too, even if it’s just to get my free IWW rash-guard! Mal assures me I’ll be fine; yeah right, he always says that!
So with trepidation we head out the next morning to meet the fellow winners, receive our rash-guards, sunglass holders, both kindly donated by IWW, pose for the photo opportunity and board the vessel. Wait, there’s no cockpit, no saloon, no berths, nowhere to hide from the weather! She’s nothing like our 47′ catamaran! She’s sleek, lean and light as a feather! I’m relieved to hear there is a head in one of the hulls!
We are welcomed by Captain Rodney, crew member Guillaume and part-owner, Dominic. Rodney provides a safety briefing on deck, well, trampoline as there is no deck! We don the safety vests and away we go. I can’t back out now!
Rodney explains we will head out to watch the start of the Commodore’s Cup, which is a pre-Regatta event, then motor alongside the leaders up to Phillipsburg where we will peel off, hoist the sails and sail back to Simpson’s Bay. We can ‘play around’ in the bay for awhile and, if there is time, approach the finish line to watch the end of the race. Everyone is excited and itching to get going. I’m still a little nervous as the winds are definitely picking up but my tummy is holding it altogether at this stage!
In the end, we had a great day. There was lots of wind, rain, sun and we got drenched again and again. The rash-guards were brilliant as I wasn’t cold, even when I was wet through and they dried very quickly. Mal had a turn on the tiller and got us up to 21.5 knots with two reefs in the mainsail.
The cat is gorgeous. She only weighs 2.5 tonnes (Kool Kat weighs up to 33) and she has the latest and best equipment. Her shrouds and railings and, I think, the trampoline, are all made of Dyneema rope which is renowned as the “World’s Strongest Fibre”. Her history is that a few years ago the owner-builder entered the Route du Rhum Solo Transatlantic Race from France to Guadeloupe, finishing in 14 days. She then sat in a boat-yard on Sint Maarten until Dominic from Bluebeard Charters saw her. It has been a labour of love for him to bring her up to the boat she is today where they can now use her in the business. She will be ready and entered in the 2016 Heineken Regatta! Good luck Dominic. Click here for further information about her, and if you’d like to book a ride!
Island Water World, together with Dominic, were fantastic hosts and we had water, soft drinks and, of course, Heineken on tap throughout the morning.
I wasn’t ill at all and still can’t believe I managed a beer whilst sailing! Thanks Dominic and IWW, it was a great experience!
Until our next adventure, take care, Sue and Mal.