written by Alpha Fleet Captain, Aoife Smeaton
August 3, 2017
Day 10 was Alpha’s RACE DAY! Students spent the morning discussing plans and tactics for the race around Guana Island, and what a race it was! The floating start line was set up and students were given a 2 minute count down to the start of the race. At the word “GO,” they had to raise their mainsail and then turn to go through the start line, unfurling the jib as soon as they crossed the line.
It was neck and neck in the beginning with Grande Plaisance III and Mont Louis battling to get into first place, and the Tango program on Miss You trailing behind. However, once they rounded the corner of Guana, it was clear that Mont Louis had not given the blustery conditions enough thought! GP3 had a reef in both sails, but Mont Louis who had full sails up couldn’t keep their bow facing upwind enough to maintain their course in the high wind. GP3 zoomed ahead and Miss You sped past while Mont Louis desperately tried to keep on a good course. Eventually they put a reef in their sails, but it was too little too late for Mont Louis, with GP3 taking first place, followed by Miss You.
The students then had to face their next challenge – a docking in a tight slip in gusty conditions! The skippers fought to keep their bows upwind as they backed the boats into their docking slips but each crew worked together to make sure they succeeded. After lunch on the dock, students enjoyed an afternoon at Scrub Island Resort – playing in the pool, the water slide, the beach with a water trampoline, and enjoying smoothies and virgin daiquiris from the bar. Dinner was made on our boats, with kids mixing and hanging out with each other on the dock or on each other’s boats. It was a really fun day, followed by land showers in the air conditioning, and a soda and ice cream social in the evening.
The greatest challenge during the program was staying entertained during the quarantine period. Not being able to leave your boat and not having a phone, which was a crutch against boredom, it was difficult at first to stay entertained.