Holidays in Staniel Cay

We hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s and that Santa was good to you all. He even managed to slide his bulk down the mast and put a couple of things in the stockings hung there. On Christmas Day, we had turkey dinner aboard a friend’s boat. The turkey was cut in half and each half cooked separately in the barbecue. I brought mashed potatoes ( without a masher, Murray had to smash them with a spoon ) and a freshly baked pumpkin pie. It was a real feast.

Things were quite quiet in Staniel over Christmas, but as New Year’s neared, the events cranked up. There was a picnic on the public beach, with the junior racing teams competing in the bay on Sunfish. Fund raising events, such as auctions and dances were held. On the 31st, the C-class Bahamian boats competed in a three race series. They are 16 to 18 ft long with a cat rig. The mast is 40 ft high and the boom 20 ft long. There is little ballast in these boats, but they use the weight of their crew to hold the boat upright. The crew climbs out onto planks extending over the side of the boats. These planks are called pries. When the boat tacks, so do these planks. Murray had the opportunity to sail on one for one race – The Termite. I took several photos with my digital camera and hope to send them to the website in Feb sometime. Another picnic was held on the beach, followed by the Captain’s Cocktail party with free rum punch and snacks. Fireworks were scheduled for midnight, but the rain put a damper on that.

On New Year’s Day, the Cruising Regatta was held. A fleet of 18 boats entered, including 5 catamarans. The wind was blowing 12 to 15 knots with an overcast sky. The start line was skewed, and a trifle short. Especially with those wide cats in the race. We sailed the line on starboard, but the cats couldn’t make that tack and came in on port. The collision was just behind us but the sound of crunching fiberglass was one that I don’t want to hear again soon. Two cats crunched, with some damage to one but it was able to continue on. The course was a triangle approx 6 miles long and we went around twice. Although we were pressed hard by our friends on Annual Hope, a Hughes 38 from Lion’s Head, Windswept IV ended the race in 2nd place. The prize was a watercolour by a local artist. Just lovely.

As the cold fronts were approaching and winds forecast to be high, the next day found us negotiating the shallows behind the Majors and setting our anchors to keep us safe. We are tucked in behind a little cay, in a small bay with six other boats. The wind started to blow hard yesterday and it is quite cool. I know, not as cool as there! But, some people are wearing sweatshirts! Too cold to swim and too windy to leave the boats. So, we bake and read and fix things and listen to the radio calls. Life in a anchorage during a blow.

Well, that’s what has been happening here. How’s things up north?? Snowy?? Not a snowy as Buffalo, I am sure. Hugs to you all and stay warm and well.

Murray & Heather aboard Windswept IV, getting wind swept!