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BVI Spring Regatta

April 7 - Tortola, BVI

The 33rd BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, presented by Nanny Cay Marina, ended with a whimper instead of a bang last Sunday. Amazingly, for the third year in a row, the third and last day of the regatta was canceled due to no wind. The previous two days of racing were pretty light, too - but it was sunny and warm, and easily beat being in New England, the Great Lakes, or even California at this time of year.

Early morning at the Bitter End YC, one of our favorite places in the world.

132 boats sailed in the Regatta, with about 60 participating in the just-for-grins Sailing Festival earlier in the week. Roy Disney's still-teething maxZ86 Pyewacket, the boat we were fortunate enough to be riding on, won the low-key Festival, but lost to the nimbler R/P 75 Titan XII in the actual Regatta. Full results, pictures and Alastair Abrehart's entertaining and informative reports can be found at www.bvispringregatta.org.

Tom Hill's year-old R/P 75 Titan XII won Class A, just as it did in
the preceding weekend's International Rolex Regatta at St. Thomas.

Rosebud, Roger and Isobel Sturgeon's R/P-designed, Santa Cruz-based TP-52, hosed Class B.

We had one of the best weeks of our life - sailing aboard Pyewacket with some of the best (and nicest) pro sailors on the planet; staying at the wonderful Bitter End YC; taking side excursions to the 'drowned' island of Anegada, the infamous Willie T's and elsewhere; and just hanging out with friends, both old and new. Look for a feature report on our BVI adventure in the next issue of Latitude 38.

"Trust me, I'm a doctor." Pyewacket bowman Ricky Brent and girlfriend Megan rehydrated the troops after a hot day of racing.

The Pyewacket crew, led by past collegiate All-Americans Ben Mitchell and Bill Hardesty, had no trouble winning the inaugural Nation's Cup.
Photos Latitude/Rob

134 of North America's Best Young Sailors Just Got Better

April 7 - Long Beach

Their bodies weary and their heads spinning, a record enrollment of 134 of the best young sailors in North America wound up four days of intense instruction with a round of real racing at the California International Sailing Association's annual advanced racing clinic Tuesday. An elite staff of coaches delivered a cram course on rigging, sail trim, tactics and other fine points that win races, as well as the personal demands of an Olympic campaign.

Alamitos Bay Yacht Club hosted the event on San Pedro Bay

Class winners were young even for this group, ranging from 14 to 16. The students came from 14 states and British Columbia. Nearly a third were girls.

Instructors were Andrew Lewis, Brett Davis and Nick Adamson, Laser; Carisa Harris-Adamson, Adam Deermount, Rich Feeny and Anthony Kotoun, Laser Radial; Mikee Anderson, Peter Alarie, Rob Hallawell, Jamie Malm and Rob Dean, Club 420; Brian Doyle and Zach Leonard, International 420; Jay Kehoe and Billy Uniack, CFJ, and Dalton Bergan and Ted White, 29er. Two-time Olympic medalist Charlie McKee and former world Aussie 18 and 505 champion Howie Hamlin were evening speakers.

Coach Brett Davis stays on top of the Laser class.
Photos Rich Roberts

Complete results, photos and more information are available at www.cisasailing.org and www.abyc.org.

Profligate's Progress

April 7 - St. Barth

There is a lot of change in the air here in St. Barth. It's noticeably warmer, dryer, and more humid than even a month before. There is less rain, so the island's hills that were so green back in early December are now covered with brown vegetation. The winds are generally lighter and the seas calmer, making for perhaps the most ideal sailing conditions of the year. The calmer conditions mean the already clear water is even more transparent than before. You can't believe how beautiful the color of the water is beneath Profligate here on the hook off Gustavia.

The view of Profligate as seen the from sand path down to Grand Saline.

Profligate at Baie St. Jean, another favorite.

For all intents and purposes, the end of April marks the end of the main sailing season in the Caribbean, and Antigua will be the center for the last blasts. Next week the island will host the Megayacht Regatta, followed by the Classic Regatta, and topped off by Antigua Sailing Week. All these events are expected to be the biggest in years, with perhaps the best quality boats ever.

As such, many of the good friends we've made over the season, and many of the great yachts, have moved down to Antigua. A few have already taken off to the Med or the East Coast. All the talk around the tables at Le Select is who is going where on what boat, which crews are jumping ship, who is having a new boat built - it's all about the changes. Some of them are sad. Relationships have formed between crews on two different boats, and now their boats are headed in different directions. "I really love her, but I don't think we'll get to see each other for at least three months, and even more if I can't get a work visa for the States."

There's lots of change aboard Profligate, too. Friday will essentially be the last day of the Wanderer's winter season in the Caribbean. It's true that he'll be flying back to Antigua after giving seminars on the Baja Ha-Ha and comparing Mexico with the Caribbean at Pacific SAIL EXPO in Oakland, but it will only be to do one Antigua Sailing Week race aboard the 90-ft Leopard of London, before taking off on Profligate with a big crew for the 1,100-mile trip to the San Blas Islands and the Panama Canal. Doña de Mallorca will similarly be flying back for Sail Expo only. After reaching Panama, she and several others will be bringing the big cat back to San Francisco. Chris Bridge on the Outremer 55 Cheval did it from Panama to San Diego in 20 days, and de Mallorca is hoping for a similar time.

It's been a tremendously satisfying winter for both the Wanderer, who was lucky to spend about half the season here, and de Mallorca, who has spent the entire season here. Number one, of course, has been the friendships that have been made with a truly international cast of boat and land people. For 27 years when on his boats, the Wanderer has basically darted from one cruising destination to the next. This winter was different, for other than trips to Antigua, Anguilla, St. Martin, Nevis, St. Kitts, and Saba, Profligate has been based in St. Barth. More or less staying put has been a great change. It's helped, of course, by the fact that just about every great yacht in the world, and many of the great sailors, have stopped by the island one or more time.

This living close to nature business has been fabulous. Sure, there have been a couple of rough nights when we've had to stand anchor watch, and some rough sails, but all in all it's been fabulous. Yesterday we circumnavigated the island for our eighth time of the season, and now feel quite familiar with the wind patterns, the currents, the rocks and the reefs. Our goal is 10 circumnavigations, so we intend to go around again today and on Friday. Lucky us! Another thing that's put us closer to nature has been swimming, boogie boarding and snorkeling. This morning we woke up, threw on a suit, dinghied 150 feet over to a sensational reef, and saw half the fish pictured on a laminated card of Caribbean reef fish. The water was clear and 83 degrees. The other day we caught about 100 waves with our boogie board. And the scenery - the blue water, the white sand, the jagged hills, the topless girls - was lovely.

The view of Grand Saline Beach, our favorite for boogieboarding, from the galley of Profligate.

Doña de Mallorca, getting in a little exercise. Despite it being the tropics, most days she runs for a mile and also likes to get in some swimming with her boogie board.
Photos Latitude/Richard

The one goal we didn't meet this winter was getting around to more of the Eastern Caribbean islands, such as the Grenadines, the Virgins, and all the places in between. Given this tremendous amount of unfinished business, after a summer back in California and another Ha-Ha in late October, Profligate will probably return to the Caribbean next year. Yeah, a month to get here and a month to get back to California is a long time - but the destination has been worth it to us.

The moral of our winter in the Caribbean: You can do it, too. It's not that hard, and if you're willing to live simply, it's not that expensive either.

Curious Encounter near the North Pole

April 7 - Arctic Circle

While surfaced 280 miles from the North Pole last October, the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Honolulu (SSN 718) drew the attention of three curious Polar bears. A lookout from the bridge (sail) of the submarine sighted the bears, who approached the starboard bow and investigated the boat for almost two hours before leaving.

Photos Chief Yeoman Alphonso Braggs/U.S. Navy

Commanded by Commander Charles Harris, USS Honolulu, while conducting otherwise classified operations in the Arctic, collected scientific data and water samples for U.S. and Canadian Universities as part of an agreement with the Arctic Submarine Laboratory (ASL) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). USS Honolulu is the 24th Los Angeles-class submarine, and the first original design in her class to visit the North Pole region. She is assigned to Commander Submarine Pacific, Submarine Squadron
Three, Pearl Harbor, HI.

Thanks to Herbert Edridge of Eustis, FL, for this item.

John and Amanda Swan Neal to Speak at Pacific SAIL EXPO

April 7 - Oakland

With some 400,000 combined ocean miles, John Neal and Amanda Swan Neal will share their experience and enthusiasm for voyaging afloat at Pacific SAIL EXPO, April 14-18 at Jack London Square.

John and Amanda Swan Neal
Photo Courtesy Mahina Expeditions

Each of the Neals had extensive sailing careers before they met. John set sail from Seattle at age 22 and headed for the South Pacific on a 27-ft sloop ­ and has ever since had a passion for sharing his knowledge about cruising to exotic destinations. Amanda sailed from her native New Zealand to California with her family; she returned home to become a rigger and sailmaker before heading to sea again as part of the all-woman crew on Maiden in the 1990 Whitbread Round-the-World Race. The Neals will teach several sessions at PSE: on how to prepare for blue water sailing, on survival tactics, and on cruising to Europe, the South Pacific, Mexico and beyond. Amanda will lead sessions on the cruising rewards for women and on provisioning. Together, the Neals ­ who are both authors ­ run sail-training expeditions onboard their Hallberg-Rassy 46 through Mahina Expeditions. See www.mahina.com.

For a complete seminar schedule, see www.sailamerica.com or pick up the April issue of Latitude 38, which includes a full-color pre-show planner.

Classy Classified Ad

April 7 - Ko Olina, HI

47-FT BENETEAU 473, 2002. Fast bluewater cruiser. Fully loaded and turnkey for any trip. Located Ko Olina, HI. $295,000. For more pictures and info go to www.sailnet.com/boatsearch ID #13652. Please call (808) 375-5301 or email.

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