This will be rather quick but wanted to let everyone know we’re alive and well. We’re going to be leaving George Town tomorrow morning and sailing north, headed for the States. We plan on taking our time and stopping off at places that we missed on our way down the Exuma chain of islands. On the way down, we increased our efforts to reach George Town in order to address our broken refrigeration unit and the broken battery charger. The refrigerator is once again working and the batteries are once again charging, so we’re eager to see some of the gorgeous places we missed.
However, we have had a GREAT time in George Town. We ended up staying here long enough to be able to see the Family Island Regatta, the largest regatta in the Bahamas, and it was a sight to see. All the entrants are Bahamian sloops, built by Bahamians to very strict standards. The boats are classic wooden boats with enormous sail area (the sails are made of cotton canvas), the booms extending far out past the stern of the boat. No winches are allowed to be used; it’s strictly “people power.” The boats line up at the start by anchoring and then falling back. When the start gun goes off, some of the crew works feverishly pulling up the anchor while others work on raising the jib and the mainsail, all by hand. There are several classes of sloops, including a junior handling class, and the regatta lasts for a total of four days. The cruisers, such as Al and myself, get in their dinghies and zip around the race course with the sloops and, boy, are they fast! We have to have our motor maxed out to keep up with them! We accidentally ended up having the best seat in the house between races. Wind Dancer was on a mooring directly adjacent to Amazing Grace, the service boat for two of the most famous of the racing sloops: Lady Muriel and Tida Wave. Both sloops were kept at Amazing Grace at night and between races, so Al and I were able to view them and their crews “up close and personal.” Beautiful hand-made boats. In any case, Lady Muriel (my favorite) ended up taking first place overall in the regatta, with Tida Wave taking second place. Both boats are from Staniel Cay so we’ll be able to see them again on our way back up the Exumas.
That’s about it for now. Our weather window for the next few days looks great for sailing, so off we go. We’ll keep you posted along the way as internet connections permit. In the meantime, as always, wish you were here! (We have an early start tomorrow...6:30a.m....so must cut this short and get to bed. Photos will follow with the next blog.)
Fair Winds from the Crew of Wind Dancer
Sue, Al, Sophie & Chelsea