Wednesday, March 28, 2012

St. Barths: Gay Paree??

I knew there was something different about that Cruise Ship!

From Latitude 38....

"As if to add to the buzz around St. Barth, yesterday the Celebrity Summit cruise ship, hosting a gay cruise, pulled into port. She's been in the news because while tied up at the dock in Dominica, two of her Palm Spring-based passengers apparently had sex on deck in site of people on shore. Religion is big on some Caribbean islands, and some islands prohibit sex between members of the same sex. So the two were arrested for "buggery." The Chief Magistrate called the two "rogues and vagabonds." Their attorney explained the two had merely been "struck by the beautiful mountain, the clean and clear fresh air, and having had a few cocktails, threw caution to the wind." After throwing $900 to the government of Dominica, the two were allowed to fly home."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What does a 100 foot sailboat look like??

Varsovie approaching the start

I've had a bunch of questions from people interested in what sailing on a 100 foot sailboat is like.

As they say, a pictures worth 1,000 words!  Here's a link to 100 of them!  Varsovie Under Sail


Monday, March 26, 2012

Bucket Regatta - Been there done that!!

JK6 - Hanuman

I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about this one.  The regatta itself was a fantastic spectacle, with some of the most amazing large boats that I've ever seen.

Sailing on a 100 foot boat was an eye opener.  Certainly something that I'd always wanted to do.  But, having done it now, I think given the choice between doing it again and sailing in an Etchells regatta, the Etchells would win every time.

"Racing" boats this size (especially with an all amateur crew) which we and most other boats seemed to have is really a game of survival.  Safety first, racing second, and the social side was never far away.

Most of the people on our boat had never sailed together, and our crew was made up of friends of the owner/captain/and other full time crew members.  A very friendly group (especially the three talented Swedes that worked the bow), but without much practice all maneuvers were done very slowly by "normal" racing standards. Happily, we sailed four days and nobody onboard was injured and more impressively I don't think anything was broken.

Everything on the boat is operated via electric winches or hydraulics driven via the boats electrical system.  A generator is left running all day, which is especially nice as it also helps to run the air conditioning!!.  The main is hoisted by pushing a button at the helm station.  The jib is unfurled/furled by pushing another button.  Want to ease the vang??  Push a button.  Etc, etc, etc.  It's sort of like sailing your house while playing a video game.

Smoked salmon, prosciutto, and chicken baguette sandwiches are served by the crew twice during each race, and snacks are served in between!!  That I can get used to...

I ended up trimming jib/spinnaker on our practice day.  The winch drums that I was working were so big that I could barely reach around them with both arms.  They had three gears operated by two foot buttons, and the fastest gear basically threw the sheet line at me as fast as I could tail it.  The jib sheets were probably close to 1" in diameter.  Everything was huge.  And, just thinking about anything that might break was a scary thought!

During the the racing, I was navigating.  Sort of fun, kept me involved through the entire race, but again made the entire experience seem more like a video game than "really" sailing a boat.

Ultimately, the best part of the event was meeting a bunch of new people and running into lots of friends from home.

It's now time to shift gears and start getting serious about our trip back to Newport.  Our goal is to be in Newport by May 15th.  Deb and I will be home in California for the last week in May and first week in June.

Tons of pictures posted at Jim's Bucket Regatta Photos

Saturday, March 24, 2012

St. Barts Red Light District

A year or two ago, I learned that if a boat has a mast that's taller than 30
meters it needs to have a red light on top. Most of us have white lights
there to turn on at night while at anchor.

The white light keep boats from
hitting us at night. I guess the red ones keep airplanes away??

Anyway, in real life, normally you don't see any boats that require a red
light at night. Newport, RI is the only place that I can remember seeing
more than one in an anchorage. In Newport, maybe you see six or seven and
think "Wow!".

Last night I looked around us and counted 47 red lights!! 47 and I probably
missed a few!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Check out the neighborhood!!

As you can tell, I'm just a bit impressed with the quality of boats showing up here.  Both from a "holy sh**" can you believe how big that boat is, to the historical significance of this gathering of J Boats from the past.

So, for those of you in to boats, blow the picture above up to full size and take a look at the boats that are scattered around the harbor.  Google of few of the names, you will be blown away!!  One of these boats sailing under the Golden Gate would attract tons of attention from local sailors.  Here we have 30+ of them....

St Barts (St. Barths) Bucket Regatta

Our neighbors in the anchorage!


That's about all I have time to say about this event right now.  Deb and I arrived yesterday.  The collection of HUGE boats gathering here is exceeding my significant expectations.  Absolutely un believable.  Without a doubt the most conspicuous display of ridiculous wealth/play money that I have every seen.

It makes Morpheus look like an El Toro!

St. Barths Bucket Regatta Website

Check out the website if you are interested.  Boats of both the old and new variety are here.  I think this is the biggest J Boat regatta since the days they raced for the America's Cup!

I am sailing on a Swan 100.  The small boat in this regatta!

Gotta run.  More later.  Need to go meet Deb at Le Select for one of the cheapest beers in town.  It may be the only place we can afford to visit around here for a while!


Saturday, March 17, 2012


This boat has literally been there and done that!!  It's great to see her here (st Bart's) at the dock looking brand new. Somebody is really taking care of her. 

If you have sailed on her or know someone that has please leave a comment below. 


Jim Gregory 

Friday, March 16, 2012


 Two days ago, with Sally's time onboard running low, we decided to go on sailing adventure off to the Island of Saba.

As you can see in the above and below photo, Saba is not your palm lined sandy Caribbean island and is really inhospitable to human inhabitation, being very steep, few “beaches” and very mountainous.

The island is however a story of man’s pig-headedness in making harsh environments their own.

The first hint of this is Ladder Bay, a small harbour with 524 steps up the side of a cliff, up which all materials bought to Saba where man handled until about the mid-1900s.

Our mooring for the night was here

The Road - Now Saba is part of the Dutch Antilles, but in the 40’s they sought assistance from the Dutch Government to build a road across the mountainous island and were told it was impossible, so a local took a correspondence course in road building and over the next 20 odd years the locals built their road across the island using only hand tools and wheel barrows...

The Airport - The story goes that the locals hired a pilot from St Barts to find a piece of the island he thought he could land on, they flattened it and he landed and so began the construction of their airport!

Apparently, airplanes don't actually take off from the runway.  The runway simply ends and you hope you have enough speed by the time that you run off the end and fall over the cliff!!  

    Anyway, we didn't get to see any of these island features because when we arrived the wind was gusting over 25 with big seas.  After considering sailing on to St. Martin (another 29 miles) we decided to pick up one of the local visitor moorings.

By about 330am, both Debbie and I couldn't sleep as the boat seemed to be rolling from rail to rail.  So, noticing that the wind had died down we jointly decided to get the heck out of dodge and get an early start on the trip to St. Martin.

Great call!!  We had an easy trip, arrived early and had a full day on St. Martin for Sally to enjoy before her departure today.

Deb and Sally on Sunset Beach, St. Martin

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Re: Sally and Debbie havin' a great time!

Awesome. So glad you had the chance to get down to visit your big sis. I'm looking forward to doing the same at some point once I can build up some vacation hours! :-(


Sally and Debbie havin' a great time!

Chardonnay and Planters Punch! WooHoo!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Awesome Snorkeling.

Sally and I went snorkeling this morning behind the boat and saw more fish than we've seen anywhere so far. In 45 minutes we saw:
A huge lobster
A turtle
Sea anemones
Big Baracuda (almost lost me then)
Baby Baracuda
French Angel fish
Trumpet fish
Parrot fish. All colors
Sargent Fish
Blue tangs. Lots
Lots of cool squids
Sea urchins
Little mermaid coral.
A yellow tourist "submarine"
And lots more I can't remember right now without our cheater fish ID card! So much fun!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Update: Sally's Visit

Dinner at the Sunset Bar, St. Martin

Fun with Algae??

Sunset from St. Barts

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


The "little" boat one in from the left is the Swan 100 that I may sail on during the St Barts Bucket Regatta!!!

The boat on the right is the 275 foot Hetairos. One of the largest sailing vessels in the world.

Jim Gregory 

Monday, March 05, 2012

Alone again!

Lisa and Andy
 Yesterday was a busy day of sailing and goodbyes.

In the morning, I had to say goodbye to Lisa and Andy who were heading home on the 230pm flight.  Their 10 days with us flew by, and I think we all wish we could have extended their vacation.  10 busy fun days, no hassles, and lots of good times.

Then it was off to the races onboard the Swan 56 Olivia Lee.  We were the small boat in a division with two 100 footers and a 90 foot racer/cruiser.  Those big boats were fun to watch, but we didn't see much of them after the starts!!  At yesterdays start in 25 knots of wind we saw almost too much of one of them.  One of the 100 footers approached the line early and attempted to duck the committee boat with a minute and a half to go right as it was hit by a 25+ knot gust.  Their main did not go out in a hurry and the helmsman could not get the bow down.  It absolutely looked like they were going to t-bone the committee boat at about 14 knots, when finally the main was eased and them missed by a matter of feet (perhaps inches)!!!

To keep the 100 footers happy the RC set LONG upwind courses for our division.  Good for them, not so good for us.  Remember we were the small boat in the class.  I've had enough upwind sailing now for a couple of weeks.

We ended up 8th in class I think, but that wasn't really all that important.  We were all just happy to be out sailing in big breeze, and the most amazingly beautiful conditions that you could imagine.  I'll try to track down some photos as the water color and boats put on quite a show!!

Matt Coudert
Special thanks to my friend Matt Coudert for throwing my name out as a potential crew member on Olivia Lee.  Great bunch of guys and nothing but fun over three days of sailing.  It was especially great to be back on a boat with Matt.  I don't think we've sailed together in close to 15 years.  It would have been nice to share a Heineken or two with Matt following yesterdays race, but work and family called him away immediately as he was in the dinghy and on his way to the airport before the boat even reached the dock!!

Great times with great friends.  Who's coming next???


Saturday, March 03, 2012

Lisa and Andy

Sorry for the lack of updates, but things have been jumping around here.

Lisa and Andy Faller have been with us on the boat for a week now, our
friends Gibb and Tory Kane flew in on the same day and have been on the
island enjoying some vacation time, and I am sailing with Matt Coudert on a
Swan 56 in the Heineken Regatta.

More later.