Staniel Cay, Cruisers Regatta


Overtaking a Cat, with our full crew of 3 families.

The island hosts their annual Cruisers regatta on New Years Day, January 1st, 2009. What a way to start the new year! I can only hope that this year continues with many more enjoyable races like this one. Of all the 100+ days of sailing in 2008, this was probably my favourite! The boat performed amazingly, and I was able to enjoy this day with my whole family and some new friends.

The Commodore presents us with the 2nd place trophy for the regatta.

The Commodore presents us with the 2nd place trophy for the regatta.

I believe 17 boats entered the race, including a few Catamarans. It was a down wind start to make it fair for the variously rated boats. The pre-start was just as exciting as the race it self, we used this time for the new crew to get familiar with the ropes. The waters we raced in were shallow, about 8 to 12 feet deep, our boat draws 6 feet 6 inches, so I was a little nervous. but the race committee guaranteed that we would be fine on the entire race course. The race committee messed up the start a little, with the canon firing about 30 seconds late, and we thought we may be over the line early, so we held back at the start until we heard the cannon.

Close hauling and pulling away from the fleet.

Close hauling and pulling away from the fleet.

So basically we started a little late from the lead boats. But we quickly caught up. There was some stiff competition. Our greatest competition came from “Different Drummer” a 47 foot semi-race boat, with a crew of over 12 people, many on the rail. The boat had a retractable keel, so they could adjust it for the depth of the water, and with it fully extracted I believe it was 9 feet deep. It sailed very well close hauled to the wind. Before you knew it Black Diamond took the lead, and “Different Drummer” was just a little nervous. They have entered this race 7 times, and they were gunning to win. We exchanged lead position a couple of times. We made a few mistakes, we were over powered by the main a few times, and were forced to tack prematurely. We made a couple of tactical errors as well. But still gave “Different Drummer” a run for their money. In the end they only beat us by about 3 minutes, their time was 1 hour 31 minutes, many other boats took closer to 2 hours to finish. The 3rd place boat was Wind Swept IV, a 40 foot C&C if I am not mistaken. They were about 6 minutes behind us. We even beat a 40 foot catamaran. They are usually much faster especially down wind. But, I just refused to let him pass me. Every time he tried, we just kept taking him up wind, and thy can’t sail as close to the wind as us. Not bad for a crew of family cruisers that just met the day before. Later that evening, we attended the awards ceremony out by the beach and had a Bahamian dinner with the other racers. The race committee and the islands locals were so generous and also included a hand made gift bag, paintings, home baked banana loaf, and other prizes.

The local news even covered the event, it was featured at this link. Bahama Island News Info

Passing Wind Swept.

Everyone on the rail, close hauling once again.

Duane and Kim the newly weds never even raced before. Below is an account of the race by Duane.

“I have never even seen a sailboat race in person so to actually be a part of a crew was amazing. Before the starting signal, the boats would tack back and forth fighting to get as close to the starting line as possible. This of course results in boats heading straight for one another and then at the last minute, sails are adjusted to make a sharp turn. It felt like playing a car game of chicken but on the water. This part of the race was probably more stressful than the actual race itself. Without going into all the details, we swapped between first and second place, finally taking second place. Not bad for a crew that just met the night before.”

Thomas was the strategist for the race, they both loved it.

Thomas was the strategist for the race, they both loved it.

A beautiful New Years Day for a Regatta, perfect conditions!

A beautiful New Years Day for a Regatta, perfect conditions!

Black Diamond in Full Sail.

Black Diamond in Full Sail beam reaching.

s/v Black Diamond

I have been boating for over 25 years, at the age of 43, this is more than half of my life time. Starting out with a number of smaller power boats, then switching to sail about 8 years ago. I have sailed various boats from wind surfers, dinghies (lasers), keel boats from 26 to 45 foot yachts. I live in the area of Toronto Canada and sail mostly on Lake Ontario. I have been racing yachts for the past 7 years. I have also entered many long distance races such as the Fort Lauderdale to Charleston, completed in 2 days 8 hours, we received 4th place in division, 8 minutes in PHRF behind a 3rd place trophy. Then 4 times finishing the Susan Hood, a 75 mile over night race, 4 times entered in the Lake Ontario 300 the worlds longest fresh water race, a 308 knotical mile race around the perimeter of Lake Ontario. My crew and I on Black Diamond finished in 2 days 12 hours in 2009. In 2009, delivering the boat back up to Canada from the Bahamas we entered in a couple of interesting races, one from Fort Lauderdale to Charleston described as a sled ride up the gulf stream, the Charleston race week regatta series and the New Year's Day Staniel Cay Regatta in the Exumas, Bahamas. This race we came in 2nd over entire fleet, only lost by 3 minutes in a 2 hour race to a 47 footer. This was a boat for boat race, no PHRF scoring. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So cast off the bowline, Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain Blue water experience include yacht deliveries from the Abacos, Bahamas to Charleston South Carolina 2006. This delivery was a non-stop, 3 and half days, total of 500 miles. We crossed parts of the Bermuda Triangle, and during most of the delivery were over 200 miles offshore. The delivery of Black Diamond a 40 foot Jeanneau racer/cruiser has been delivered to New York City and then offshore to Florida and the Bahamas from Toronto, Canada. This delivery from NYC to Florida was completed 100 miles offshore, for a distance of over a 1000 miles non-stop to Jacksonville, Florida. Completed in what might be a cruisers record of 5 days 3 hours non-stop offshore. This fall my family and I added another 500 miles of sailing throughout much of the Bahamas. Spending 6 weeks aboard Black Diamond sailing the Abacos, Nassau and the Exumas. I then sailed the boat back to New York, completely offshore, entered a few races along the way, and back to Toronto through the Hudson River and Erie Canal. During the 2009 season, we sailed Black Diamond off the dock 148 different days out of 365, winning the Vacant Dock award the second year in a row. Most recently, 2011, completed the delivery of friends boat Tracey & Nilson Ruiz, from Tortoal, BVI to New York. Tortola to Georgetown Bahamas in 5 days non-stop. Last leg from Charleston to New York over the momorial day long week-end non-stop Friday to Monday in 4 days. All completed safe and sound without incedent. Need any deliveries let me know. I am also an Open Water Certified diver and an active member of the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron, certifications included Power/Sail boat handling, Seamanship Sail, Piloting/charting, GPS Navigation, Extended Offshore Cruising and a VHF Radio operation license. I hope to further my education, qualifications and experience in long distance cruising and racing. One of my goals is to obtain a commercial Captains License. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]

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