Jean & Dave's Website
Our Sailing Vacation October 1999
Adventure of the Millenium
This log was written so that I could savor the memories of the best vacation I have ever taken. If you enjoy reading it as well, wonderful. If not, tough. I did not write it for you. Dave
I would not call the vacations that Jean and I take particularly adventurous. Sailing, skiing, an occasional foreign country. But when not everything is smooth and relaxing, and those times come, we call it "an adventure". This would be a trip of firsts: First charter of a big catamaran, first time to St. Vincent & the Grenadines, first time with a skipper, first trip with good friends Kyle and Denise. And of course, it was the last vacation of the millenium. Hence the title of the trip, memorialized by the T-shirt logo:
Meet at the bar in San Juan
It took two days and five flight segments to get four people to the bar in the American terminal in San Juan. Everyone made it, on time. We proceeded to Gate 1 (actually, it's a bus station) and crammed onto the ATR for two hour flight from the Leewards to the Windwards.Through customs and a quick taxi and we were at Sunsail's base in Blue Lagoon. We were greeted by Chief Engineer Brian, who would take a mini-vacation and skipper our boat, Babe FF.
The provisions were loaded, the beer was on ice. No chart briefing, no boat briefing except how to work the shower and the CD player. I am loving having a captain, and we have not left the dock.
Our Cruise Ship
The Venezia 42 is the perfect floating palace to sun and fun your way through the Caribbean. 4 double cabins with 12 volt fan's, 2 generous heads (immediately deemed Men and Women), folding cockpit table, and lots of opening port holes. Good water pressure would make this our first charter that Jean did not shower on shore at every opportunity. Two complaints: the helm seat was fixed and designed for someone much smaller than I; and the triple reef main did not have enough slides making it difficult to set and strike the sail.
We spent the first night in the aft cabin, which had a slightly larger, sideways bunk. However, the following day, we moved to the much breezier forward cabin with v-bunk. Sorry Brian.
Father Knows Best
Like a good father, Brian always knew what was best. Like good children, we learned to trust Dad even if we did not get all the explanation we hoped. For example, we left St. Vincent under power with main set, but motored the 8 miles to Bequia (beck-WAY) in 6 knots of wind. Denise asked why we did not use the "red sail". Since Sunsail uses red canvas to protect its rolled jibs, she thought the entire sail was red. Later we would understand that Babe just would not go under sail with less than 8 knots of wind.
Another advantage of a local captain is the free tour guide. Brian is a native Vincentian and taught us history, geography and culture. St. Vincent & the Grenadines took independence from Britain in 1979 but remains within the Commonwealth. Of the 110,000 citizens, 104,000 live on St. Vincent, originally know as Hairoun, which means "home of the blessed". Today, it means beer and other bottled beverages, including Guiness, which is brewed under license on the island. Hairoun is pronounced HIGH-ROON and not like heroin. St. Vincent has an active volcano and rain forest. Most of the agriculture (primarily bananas) and all of the rain water collection occurs on St. Vincent and is shipped to the Grenadines.