Bermuda – AC35 qualifiers

Eric and I had a last minute whirlwind decision to go to Bermuda and no regrets! In fact if you ever have to choose when to go see an Americas Cup and can’t stay the whole time (who can unless you’re on a team or live there) it’s best to go at the beginning. All teams have high hopes and once they start racing the drama unfolds.  Cruising friends Simon and Kim Forth on Aura welcomed us aboard and we could not thank them enough for their hospitality!  A bonus of living with them was I learned how to make sour dough bread from Kim!

Steve Tull and Deann of La Mischief were great hosts for watching races and we loved all the energy that climbed on and off LM each day. It was a full boat of friends from all over the globe.

The first photo is Frank Cammas out playing on his F18 after he was eliminated from the series as skipper of Team France. Eric and I have raced against him in the Catacup in St Barthes.  The next is of Team USA with Matthew Whitehead as wing trimmer.  He’s one of the top F18 sailors in the USA.

The hen was just a typical island shot but the turtle. Oh the turtle. As we disembarked from the ferry to watch races at the village I noticed a guy transferring this baby turtle under a fence upside down to another set of hands asking if she should keep him upside down. He answered yes. Turns out every morning there is a turtle rescue mission to clear them from the race course.  When Team Softbank hit something but did not declare what it was on TV there is a good chance that’s what it was. They are slicing them up is a quiet rumor and of course hush hush.  After all, how can a turtle possibly hear or much less go down under fast enough if it saw one of these machines coming their way? Speed is their enemy. In San Fran it was seals. So…the big question is how do we continue to enjoy our sport at these speeds if we know it costs innocent bystanders who just happen to live there, their lives? They did a good job of moving them to another area but I wonder how the turtles like that?  Anyway, that’s my tree hugging moment. Moving on.

 

We loved seeing these machines flying about the course area and it was a great place (other than the turtle situation) to host an event in terms of sea state. Flat seas and turquoise water with decent breeze almost every day. Sometimes even a bit too much for these craft! We watched from the village on the day it poured rain and there was no shelter. We braved the wind and rain and yes it was cold too. Watched as the Kiwis rounded down before building speed and crashed. Hard.  Everyone held their breath and waited to hear all the guys were OK.  Two days later they were out on the course again and now they are closing in on their overall victory. Peter Burling has what it takes but so does the whole team. You can’t win it by yourself and it can take many attempts before you get it right. Wondering who will back an American Team next time if Oracle loses.  The new nationality rule will be good. Another thought. If the Aussies bring a team, who from Oracle will be on it? If no one steps up from the USA it will be the first time the USA has not competed in an AC. Imagine!

Lots of fun days with the tall ships parading around the island, the J Boat Class gearing up for their regatta, the kids playing on Hobie’s with pink sails in front of the grand stand, and a few super yachts mixing it up before they raced too. We had a nice day on a super yacht for one race day. It’s always nice to mix it upbeat a guest on one of those!

The Crystal Caves? Amazing!!!! If you go to Bermuda you must visit this underground wonder.

And of course when in Bermuda it’s almost mandatory to rent a scooter for one day if you like bikes. Eric loves them and I will only go if we’re on an island. Even in Bermuda it’s not all that safe but they won’t rent cars to anyone and they have a one car per family rule. Keeps the traffic down and the taxi drivers in business.  We rode the bus one day and that was fun too.

All in all a very cool island and we were happy to learn that there are lots of places to anchor next year when we head north again.

For now El Gato will stay south of 12 40 Latitude for insurance reasons and also to try to stay clear of storms. Last year we went all the way to Maine and this year it’s been nice to stay where we can swim with turtles, starfish, conch, and stingrays.

Tomorrow is a big day. ETNZ needs one more win for the holy grail, and we can’t stay to watch because we are sailing 180 miles south. Double handing to Martinique on our way to Grenada.

We look forward to scooting along and sailing at night! Go El Gato!!!

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