A white sandy beach, blue sky, puffy clouds and ten to 15 knots of warm breeze ruffle the palms. Little yellow Weta’s are pulled above the tide line, sails flap lazily in the breeze. A frond-roofed shack set a few hundred yards in the scrub off the beach serves as the club house and common area. Six big white canvas wall tents on wood platforms provide accommodations for those who don’t want to sleep outside or on boats. The tents are in a semi-circle around a banyan tree, a stone grill and outdoor dining room. A deep bonfire ring is beyond the tree on the beach with stumps and log seats scattered about. Three trimarans are anchored stern to, a stones throw off the beach. Their bow anchors keep them facing the reef and stern lines lead to anchors set ashore.
In the lagoon between the beach and the reef, past the three trimarans – four more joust for position along an impromptu start line extending between red and green floats tied to sunken anchors. Makeshift marks allow quick in-shore races inside the reef. A pass gives access to the ocean outside where more robust and muscular races are run using navigational buoys as race marks miles distant.
A quaint little town on the windward side of the island has a beautiful bay and sheltered anchorage with plenty of shopping and entertainment for an afternoon cruise. Thirty miles in either direction lie dozens more islands – each bathed in aquamarine water, caressed by warm trade winds, possessing perfect anchorages within booming reefs.
We run several fun events during the week: the sail backwards race, the figure eight race, the Weta-capsize challenge, the “hat overboard” race, the SUP girls steeplechase and the ever popular Chinese fire drill.
We also run a series for the more resolute racers among us too, wherein each team takes a different boat for each race. One race you might sail a Diam 24, the next an F27, the next a Corsair 31 1-D as will your competitors. There are no handicaps or ratings in this racing and each team gets a chance to race on each boat in the fleet by the end of the series. The team with the best record at the end of the week buys. It is a badge of honor to be able to say your team was sailor enough to buy a round.
And finally, anchored in the lagoon, nodding in the slight swell is our pride and joy – our delight. There, in all her radiant glory – is our own ORMA 60. She is an absolute beast to sail. Wet, wild, twitchy and dangerous as a ticking time bomb. But to set her up on a proper screaming twenty mile reach, driving the lee bow down, rainbow spray behind, sheeted in tight and groaning, wind and rigging howling, riding the windward float high above the indigo blue – that…that my friends is what dreams are made of.