scavenger hunt 368
I think it was the white P.V.C. drain trap that most left me shaking my head as the various teams checked in with their booty, scavenged from drinking establishments sprinkled around Virgin Gorda’s North Sound. I mean, someone was really going to miss that particular piece of plumbing. Still, it was a unique find that might just prove to be prizeworthy later in the evening, on Day Three of the 2010 Fountaine Pajot owners rendezvous in the British Virgin Islands. The combination of hot sun, light trade winds, and impressive quantities of rum punch had rendered the crews from 16 catamarans, well, good-natured. Seemingly, it didn’t matter if the ribbing being dished out was delivered in French, English, German, Russian, or some combination of them all.
They were creative, too. As an official observer for this treasure hunt, sponsored by Cruising World and the Bitter End Yacht Club, I could only marvel when one skipper returned wrapped in a Union Jack from a nearby hillside. Earlier, I’d stood beachside at the Sand Box and watched as he and his mates, all seemingly responsible adults, sculpted a nude sunbather in the sand, covered her most intimates with their ballcaps, and then knelt to kiss their creation, all the while taking a picture to prove they’d been there. And then there was the very resourceful steering job I witnessed from the dock at Biras Creek as a recently re-upped 100-ton captain tried to tame his center-console inflatable and steer it to sea without any of his crew spilling their rummie-poohs. Did I mention the newfound machete that one mild-mannered couple wielded as they turned in their loot?
Yes, this was a crowd bent on a good time, which they proved the first night by donning all manner of pirate garb for the Horizon Yacht Charter party at Pirates Bight, on Norman Island. Oh, the Mount Gay flowed like rain, but not enough to wash out an early morning race to The Baths, nor to dampen F.P. founder Jean François Fountaine’s eagerness to jump up from dinner the next night to join the conga line as it wound its way around the dance floor.
For the life of me, I wish I could recall who, after dinner and the scavenger-hunt prizegiving, was the first to dive into the pool. It certainly set off a round of flips and flops, I recall. Much clearer are memories of the next morning’s race to Anegada, where lobsters, served on the dock of the Lobster Trap, awaited us.
Now my point here isn’t to make Fountaine Pajot owners seem prone to reckless abandon. Nor would I blame those beautiful sun-splashed Virgin Islands for such revelry. No, I bring up this tale to point out that though the exploits of teen circumnavigators and attention-craving parents may be all the buzz these days, most of us set sail in search of something far different. And the harder you work at your play-be it racing, passagemaking, or just lounging and snorkeling in an anchorage-the more it’ll recharge your batteries. So this being July, here’s my advice: Find a race, join a rally, plan a rendezvous, or just grab a mate and go sailing. That’s why we have boats. Right?