Sabrina and I managed to stay VERY busy while we waited in Georgetown for a weather window. We said goodbye to our friends Sean and Shannon when they flew home on February 27th. After a day or two to rest, we realized that we were stuck in Georgetown waiting for weather during the 33rd year of the famous “George Town Cruising Regatta.“ After a couple days of listening to the VHF announcements we decided to get in on the action. (No, not the Pet Parade, Nermal was very clear that he would not be participating in that.)
Our new friends Austin and Jeremy were racing their boat, Fernweh, in the “Around Stocking Island Race” on Saturday March 2nd and allowed me to crew for them. They were both experienced racers, so I jumped at the chance to pick up some pointers. Sabrina didn’t want to race, but agreed to be the photographer in the chase boat. The race was very close, and we narrowly lost to our friends on “Friends Z” by 11 seconds on corrected time after 18 miles of racing! Unfortunately the race course favored the larger boats that day, and the 11 second difference was to decide who took 4th place in our division….
During all this fun, our freezer decided to stop working. While lamenting this issue to our friends Myron and Dena on Hold Fast, Myron mentioned that he had gauges and refrigerant to get things running again. I jumped at his offer, and Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon we worked to get the unit vacuumed and recharged. Myron definitely had the know-how and on Sunday the freezer was back to working great. It will probably need more work when we get home, but for now it’s freezing all the fresh fish we catch, and that’s a wonderful thing. (Thank you again Myron and Dena, can’t wait to see you when you come through the Chesapeake this summer!)
On Sunday night the moment I had been waiting for had finally arrived, it was time for the annual softball game! I originally went to the first practice with Stretch weeks before, then Chris and I practiced while we waited for weather to leave the harbor. Now the practices were finally going to pay off and the “Cruisers” would take on the local Bahamian team. The event is played under the lights, and is more entertainment than a sporting event. (It’s like going to a Harlem Globetrotters game, but the Bahamians play the Globetrotters and the Cruisers are the Washington Generals, we get stomped year after year.)
I have to admit, playing softball under the lights was a rather surreal evening. The locals had striped the field and provided us with matching t-shirts. Walking into the outfield I thought of “Field of Dreams” but instead of a corn field, we were playing softball on sand and scrub brush. (We even had my new friend Wes playing barefoot, our very own “Shoeless Joe.”) There was a strong wind blowing out to left field, and at my second at-bat I hit a line drive that carried over the left field fence for a home run. It was the only cruiser homer that night and the place went wild. Most of our team rounded the bases with me before celebrating at home plate. The Bahamians didn’t celebrate as raucously when they hit home runs, I think it would have worn them out, they were consistently pounding it over the fence.
Unfortunately, the weather Sunday night for the game was cold and blustery. Strangely, it didn’t hurt the crowd much, I was amazed at the number of folks that came out. Sabrina couldn’t make it though, she was still cleaning up the freezer debacle and sorting through the food that had spoiled. (I also think she secretly didn’t want to sit in the stands in the cold while it threatened rain.)
Tuesday was the second race of the sailboat regatta, the “In-Harbor Race.” Fernweh was busy picking up a guest that morning, so I literally “jumped ship” and ended up racing with other friends, Logan and Caroline, on their boat “Gemini.” We had a blast racing in the light winds. Logan was an experienced racer and we worked Gemini hard to the finish line where we took 2nd. Fernweh ended up racing also, and even took 3rd place in their division in that race. (They joked that I was holding them back in the previous race.)
That night we all met up at the awards ceremony and celebrated the race. (We didn’t attend the previous awards ceremony, the winds that night were blowing too hard to make it an enjoyable dinghy ride to the party.)
During all of these activities we were still playing beach volleyball in the mornings with folks that we had met during our time in Georgetown. The culmination of all that practice was the 4-on-4 regulation volleyball tournament on Wednesday, March 6th. Unfortunately, we weren’t on teams (remember, we thought we’d be long gone before the tourney) but Sabrina got on a team due to dropout due to illness. She had supported my racing and softball, so I dutifully watched the games and cheered on her team while heckling our friends. Sabrina’s team finished with a “perfect” record, but didn’t place in the top three…. at least they had a good time on the courts in the beautiful weather that day.
Throughout the hectic schedule of the regatta events we still found time to go hear live music, attend bonfires, hang out at dinghy raft-ups, eat dinner with old friends, and hang out with new friends. Though as the days wore on the talks shifted from, “What’s going on tomorrow?” to “When do you think the weather is going to change?” Most everyone we were hanging out with was trying to head north, and all of us were stuck in Georgetown longer than we planned.
At least we can say we made the best of a bad situation, I can’t think of a better place to wait for weather than Georgetown during the Cruising Regatta.