Sunday 10 February, St.Maarten day 13: Last race and more crew dramas.
Last race today, but I’m not going to rush be ready at 8am like yesterday. When I do arrive on board there is a new couple to the crew, from Spain. Everyone seems a bit perplexed where they appeared from, for both of them it’s their first race ever. Odd that we should have to dump so much weight off the boat only to have 2 none-sailors join the crew! But they seem a very pleasant couple. Alex, the guy, came across the Atlantic on the ARC on a Russian owned Benteau 50. They lost their mast and rig 600 miles from St.Lucia. He was the only one on board who could speak to the emergency ARC team in English! And they only had enough fuel to motor 100 miles so had to transfer some diesel from another ARC boat … in Atlantic swell. Clearly not a boat to have been on! And yet again, the ARC strikes me as a rally for boats that really should not be transiting the Atlantic alone!
Today we race clockwise around the island of St.Martin. Much windier today so I’m looking forward to see what this beast can do in a good wind. First leg south is a reach with gusty wind off the land. I’m on the mainsail trim (to the barking orders of Steve!). Fuji, the fastest cat in the fleet is ahead of us. When a gust hits it lifts a hull then accelerates off in a cloud of spray like someone just hit the turbo button! Quite a machine.
Once around the south tip we furl then drop the reacher and bring out the jib for the long upwind leg behind the island. It’s blowing 15-18 knots and we are really flying, doing 12-15 knots with the lee hull just a mass of spray and the main hull humming as it planes. To go up wind like this, pointing like a monohull is quite something to see. But I do notice that each time we slam on a wave cracks in the saloon ceiling can be seen opening and closing … and where the coach roof meets the hull there is at least a 2cm movement on the carbon fiber. This boat is really flexing!
As we pass to the north tip we ease sails on a fast reach and the reacher is up again. As we guided it up I very nearly went over the side as a wave hit. This maybe a 60ft yacht but the foredeck is quite narrow and no life lines. Soon we are up to a steady 18knots, with a maximum 22knots, boat speed. Fuji is long gone in front of us, but R6, our other rival, is way behind after our fast upwind sail.
We cross the finish line in 3 hours having done 36 miles. Today we sailed really well. All the maneuvers went well and sail changes were fast. Everyone pretty pleased with themselves. As we come to anchor the anchor rope gets caught around the bow thruster. It seems to be stuck down. Ross is called for, by Steve, to fix it. But Ross doesn’t seem happy at the way he is asked yet again to fix things yet again. A huge argument breaks out resulting in Ross being ordered off the boat, with all his belongings, today! Such an unfortunate end to what was a great race. But the Spanish couple have kindly bought out a plate of Manchego cheese and Spanish Jamon to cheer us all up again. Delicious. I miss Spanish food.
Rob takes me back to Cloudy Bay where he also takes a shower, because there is apparently zero water on Ineffable! And no sooner has Rob left than Ross and Misty arrive to have a shower too! Seems they have not been able to wash for 4 days now. I don’t mind them showering but I do get very pissed when they light up cigarettes without asking. Needless to say they are soon over the side (the cigarettes that is). I’m not allowing Cloudy Bay to be an open ashtray like Ineffable seems to be, with ash and cigarettes butts everywhere on deck, in the saloon and galley work tops. Yuck!
Then Ross asks if he can sleep on Cloudy Bay, given he is kicked off of Ineffable. I won’t tell you my answer, but it was not yes! I’d likely never get him off again and one single trace of pot or cigarette ash in our home would sent me ballistic. Not to mention that on top of that Oana would kill me! 🙂 People think we live on a boat – but it’s more than that, it’s our home… and, as a relative stranger, you don’t just invite yourself into someone’s home with all your belongings. Nice try though!
At the prize giving we get 3rd place. I leave pretty quickly to call Oana who has been patiently waiting up for me. When I get back I walk into yet more dramas. Steve and Ross have yet again made a scene, this time in the club. And Aaron seem to be in the mix this time too. Not quite sure how I pulled this straw, but somehow I get conned into taking Ross and Rob back to Ineffable (because their dinghy has no fuel left!) so that Ross can clear out his stuff with Rob watching over him to ensure no harm is done to the boat. Lovely situation eh?
I then take them and Ross’s rucksack ashore with Ross telling me all the way that I’m making him homeless. Why Steve can’t do his own dirty work I don’t know – all this time he is still happily drinking in the bar with the Spanish couple.
When I finally drop Ross at the club dock I vow that I’m totally done with Ineffable. Done, finished, done. And I head back to our beautifully tranquil home … where I write this blog and go to sleep happy that we don’t have to rely on anyone else be able to live our lives as we wish, without drama or arrogant interference. An interesting lesson to sleep on.