Cruising around on Catamarans
In the trying weeks between Black Friday and Santa’s ballyhooed visit, where else would you want to be but in the Caribbean and sailing?
As we closed in on our destination, stomachs rumbling, Trudy offered up a snack. “Here, have a Frito. It’s a Rollins family tradition. Whenever we take the kids out, we have Fritos. Chad broke them open last night.”
Devoted Daughters and Fast Friends
Once Shrek was moored off Virgin Gorda’s Bitter End Yacht Club, Rick and I bid farewell to the crew and went ashore for a cool drink. While we wiggled our toes in the sand, we spied our longtime pals Joanne Yacko and Judy Moloughney, crewmates on the Lagoon 440 Castellina II. Like Chad Rollins, Joanne celebrated a birthday on this trip, but the story didn’t end there.
“We’re summer friends,” Joanne says, gesturing toward Judy and explaining that they met more than 35 years ago when their families spent summers in their beach houses in New Suffolk, on New York’s Long Island. Joanne and Judy remained friends through the years, and now they both live year-round in New Suffolk with their mothers. They live three blocks apart, and their mothers have become close friends.
“We commiserated that life’s too short and that we wanted to go off and do something that we’d love to do,” says Joanne. “To take a breather from our responsibilities and have an adventure. It’s a recharger for us, and I think we’ll go back with a positive attitude.”
Judy, whose husband died two years ago, said she improved her sailing skills before this trip by going out on day jaunts with fellow Castellina II crewmate Joe Farrell aboard his Hunter 31.
“When you’re single, so many times you feel like a third wheel,” Judy says. “But here you feel like you can be part of a team instead of being passive, like on a cruise.”
Adds Joanne: “We wanted this on our bucket list.”
No sooner does she utter those words than a man relaxing on a lounge chair next to us exclaims, “You’re too young for a bucket list!” Such endearments, especially from a complete stranger, were met with great approval from the pair.
Castellina II crewmates Wayne Lange and Diane Kelley agreed that the trip was a sorely needed break from the cares of the real world.
“I was down about a business deal that collapsed,” Wayne says. “Then I saw the ad, and I made a phone call.”
There were other good reasons to do the trip, too: For one thing, the couple wanted to gain experience handling a multihull. “I just want to get comfortable so I can put friends who aren’t sailors on a boat with me and it’ll be OK,” Wayne adds. “Cats give you more room.”
And Diane was eager to meet other sailors as well and to learn the ropes. “We knew there were things we didn’t know, and we were hoping to learn more of the technical aspects of sailing a cat,” she says. “What I’m learning is that it’s not too difficult with 44 feet. I love cats.”
Can you imagine putting three strangers, two Canadians and one from the U.S. Midwest, on the same boat for the first time? That’s exactly what happened with the crew combination aboard Tony, a Gemini 34.
When Rick and I came aboard for the motorsail from Anegada to Jost Van Dyke, skipper Steve Craiggs of Calgary was nonchalantly brushing his teeth off the stern. Given Tony’s compact accommodations, I wasn’t so surprised by this, and it hinted that Steve might be pretty familiar with the liveaboard bareboat routine.
Indeed, he is. Not only was this the businessman’s eighth trip to the B.V.I.; he’d also taken CW Adventure Charters to Greece and Croatia. By the end of Sail-a-Cat, he was already inquiring about another charter that the magazine is putting on with partners and vacation brokers Peter and Carol King in 2011.
“OK, you can cast off, guys,” he calls out to mates Lawrence Elliott and Jim Ziss as we slipped off the mooring and exited the narrow channel of the Anegada anchorage. Ultimately, our voyage transitioned from a downwind run with the jib poled out by means of the boat hook to a complete motorsail. But it dampened no one’s spirits, and it gave us a chance to get to know the crew while Steve remained at the helm.