Hot Shots in the B.V.I.
Picture this: One boat, six people, countless anchorages, a dusting of nutmeg--and plenty of rum.
The post-regatta beer flowed and the competing crews were feeling mellow and fine. Another bout of fun racing in their collective wakes, this hearty bunch congregated along the waterfront of a tiny New England village to chew the fat. The cool hint of autumn permeated the air, and thoughts turned to heading south to the Caribbean in winter.
“I’m a sailor but I’ve never been to the British Virgin Islands,” a crewmate said to one of the skippers.
“Are you kidding me?” he replied. “How can you call yourself a sailor if you haven’t been there? Come with us. We’ll show you the real B.V.I.”
With that, the crewmate became a newbie. The newbie chatted up another newbie, and the skipper (now called the vet) contacted his network of vets.
Not a moment too soon, their ride materialized in the form of an offer for them to take a weeklong bareboat charter aboard a swift Dufour 425 Grand’ Large from MarineMax Vacations, located on Tortola, in the B.V.I.
They went into high gear. The newbies scrounged around for flights. They packed loads of luggage, brought food from home, and ordered enough provisions to sink a cruise ship. Except they forgot to buy nutmeg, the spice that makes that tasty rum drink, the painkiller, such a hit. They arrived at a dock on Tortola after sunset, disoriented, sweaty, thirsty, giddy.
You could say they did their homework, sort of.
“Are Virgin Gorda and Tortola different islands?” they asked.
“Is Foxy’s place on Virgin Gorda?” they asked.
“Can we go ashore on Richard Branson’s island?” they asked.
“Can we go snorkeling, hiking, and kayaking?” they asked.
Yes, no, no, and yes, the vets told them over drinks.
Eventually an itinerary came together. The vets didn’t care where they went—they looked around at the familiar emerald waters and islands and were content to sail anywhere and do anything. True to reputation, the east-southeast trade winds blew steady and strong, and the vets knew that the performance-oriented Dufour was up for the job.
For all of their enthusiasm, the newbies were surprisingly realistic about our chosen route.
“We know we can’t get to all the high points,” they said, poring over the charts and guides. “We know we’re scratching the surface.”