written by Early Alpha mate, Richard Thomsom
June 17, 2017
Day 9 of the Early Alpha programs was to see the First Mate swap! The crews of the two boats on fleet rose early and were breakfast-ing by 7a.m. (a welcome event as we’re all so accustomed to rising with the sun every morning). The mates were all swapped over and some new faces were definitely a source of new energy for all of the students. The excitement was palpable as all boats dropped the ball around 8a.m. The day’s sail would be from Saba Rock to Anegada. Anegada is a low-lying island built up from a series of reefs, and consequently was invisible to all the boats as they dropped their mooring balls. This was a special experience for all of the students as it involved sailing a compass course rather than navigating by the more commonly practiced line of sight.
Each of the crew members took turns at trying out helming, and were able to see how different the experience is when one cannot see one’s destination. The crew arrived first at the Anegada reef, and were exemplary in carefully piloting the narrow channel. After successfully picking up a mooring ball, the crew treated themselves and their staff to a wonderful lunch of wraps with salad, cheese and some deli meat.
The mates returned to their original boats after lunch, and everyone made their way to shore. They were able to briefly explore the local shops before then riding in pick-up trucks to the other side of the island. Riding in an open-air pick-up was a new experience for many, and the excitement on the faces of the students was wonderful to see.
As the trucks drew up at Loblolly Bay on the north side of Anegada, the students were treated to some beach time. From tree-climbing to relaxing by the beach or in the shade; from slack-lining to a marine biology lesson, these few hours of downtime were enjoyed by all.
All students partook in a beach clean, after which the famous “Chilli-Cookoff” was announced. This involves each boat cooking a chili con/sin carne for a group of visiting Chileans, with each being judged on the taste, “plop”, presentation and theme. The crew of Attila opted for a moustache-themed chili, in honor of both their Captain Trevor and the Founder/Director of Sail Caribbean. They found a song about moustaches, cut moustache-shapes from mango, and dressed up as various different nationalities, complete with accompanying electro-tape moustaches. It was a great evening, and the crew were absolutely ready for their power-down around 10:00p.m.
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.