Escapade June 2016

“So are we going from Bermuda to Newport or to New York?” “”Newport, Greg answered, it was the original posting that said Huntington, NY, but the e-mail says he wants us to go to Rhode Island.” We are flying down to Bermuda, to help deliver a Swan 56 back to the mainland. 

After sitting in immigration, and paying our $31US each, for not having a return ticket, we got our $31US taxi to the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club. Our boat hadn't arrived yet after the race, so we hung around a talked to some pretty neat people. It’s amazing the people you meet while travelling and hanging out at yacht clubs.

Eventually we watched our boat come in, and heard from some of the other competitors that he had hit a reef. 

We gave them some time to dock, and sort things out, and then we went down to the boat. Our welcome was not warm. In fact, our welcome seemed quite a bit cooler than we perhaps were expecting. Were we expecting a bosun standing in the pulpit, whistling and everyone lined up in their blues and whites for our arrival? No, of course not, but maybe a “hey great that you are here, just need to sort out a few things and get to immigration - so sorry to ignore you right now”. What we got, as a little more of a “what do you want, you can’t stay here? We told him that we were happy to stay anywhere on the boat, there seemed to be some unused pipe berths up at the front, and the settees in the main area had the cushions upturned and did not seem to be being used. Greg had a conversation and all seemed to be worked out. I helped the crew pull all the garbage out of the anchor locker, which was filled with water and floating garbage from one of the bags that had burst. It was a filthy job. Then I helped bail out the locker with a bucket, and pick up all the trash. The crew all left for immigration. Greg and I brought our things down to the boat and made up one of the beds that seemed to be unoccupied. Then we hauled out the main sail cover and put it on. It’s amazing how hard that can be on a 55’ boat. No one came back to the boat until very late, long after we were asleep. In the morning, we went up and showered and had breakfast. We came back, and Greg went inside to put some things away and change. I waited on deck. Our skipper came outside. Obviously he had seen Greg come in. “I need to talk to you. We have no room for you. You took up a bed and I have guests that had to sleep on deck. You said you were coming a couple days before we leave and we might not leave for more days now. I never said you could stay”. I looked at him, and I smiled and suggested that he might want to talk to Greg, since he was the one who had made the arrangements. He continued on, unaware that I had spoken. “you cant just come in and take a bed, where do you expect me to put my guests? My crew has decided to stay for another day, you have no where here to sleep, you need to find somewhere else”. I was hearing my as yet unwritten blog writing itself in my brain. Yet another boat problem with a skipper… maybe it isn't then skippers, maybe it is me. I am the common denominator here. My mouth pressed into a very firm smile. I’ll get Greg, I said. “You just move in and I have guests” I could still hear him continuing, as I leaned into the hatch and called for Greg. Greg and him chatted and everything seemed to be resolved. We went out for the day.

Bermuda is lovely. We took the local bus from Hamilton to Dockyards, and then took a ferry up to St George’s, and then took the bus back to Hamilton. In Dockyards, we watched the Americas Cup boats practice for a while. In St George’s we walked around and looked at the history. When we got back to Hamilton, we went to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. They were making washing machine Gosling Swizzlers. We stayed for a while, and had hamburgers there. We met some people that were asking for crew for the trip back. We talked about how we felt about the ride we had, and we realized that we were both very apprehensive. There of course was the attitude, but there was also more pragmatic concerns. The boat’s generator and it’s water maker are not working, they were having trouble with water filling up the anchor locker, the steering has a problem that needs looked at, and of course, they hit a reef and need that inspected. A couple of years ago, a boat called Cheeki Rafiki, hit a reef after a race in the Caribbean. A few weeks later, the boat was found upside down in the middle of the Atlantic with the keel ripped off. Greg was concerned. I was concerned, because I felt that the skipper had a lot of issues to deal with, and was maybe just concerned that we were one more problem he had to deal with. 

Long story short, we ended up meeting up with a couple whose crew had a family emergency and was being left to sail their boat back to Annapolis alone. We talked to them and they were really happy to have us join them. We looked at each other, jumped up, ran back to the other boat to get our stuff. 

We slept in the main salon for the first night. Friday morning we got up and had breakfast and then went up to the clubhouse. Greg and I both had some work to get done. We worked up at the clubhouse, and talked to people all day. We kept wondering if we should go out exploring more, but we just decided a lazy day hanging around the club was relaxing and what we both felt like. 

We talked to the other skipper, and he was ok with us going with the other boat. I think that with all his boat problems, we had just become one more thing that he didn't really need. He already has four crew for the trip back. Feeding and housing two more when there are costly repairs to do, is difficult. I think he may have been alright in the end.

So now we are on an Oyster 55 going to Annapolis. We will leave Sunday morning.

The famous washing machine rum punch!