After two days of anxious waiting and much preparation, the Bravo/Charlie staff started their day early to finish the final touches and provisioning to each boat in order to welcome the new students in true Sail Caribbean style. As the afternoon progressed, the docks at Hodges Creek flourished with activity. As waves of bags and people poured in by taxis, the Bravo/Charlie Program Director Claire greeted and divided the new crew members among the boats by age: Venture (Captain: Charlie, Mate: Linda) and Vivaldi (Captain: Mike, Mate: Ali Overing), the two youngest boats; Sao Jorge (Captain: Joe, Mate: Jess) and Monet (Captain: Steff, Mate: Max) the two middle boats; and Bang Bang (Captain: Emma, Mate: Robb) and Monet 1—also known as M1—(Captain: John, Mate: Molly), the two oldest boats.
After everyone showered and began to settle in, the boats had their first “family-style” dinner of baked chicken, rice with beans and peppers, and some of the British Virgin Islands’ best coleslaw. Following dinner, the fleet attended the traditional “Mike Talk,” given by Sail Caribbean’s founder and director, Mike Liese, outlining the customs of the BVI and the program policies and rules. At the close of Mike’s welcoming, all students headed back to the docks for their first boat meetings, then to bed excited about their first sail the next morning.
Day two started with an unexpected wet wakeup, but after a quick drizzle of rain, everyone was up and ready to go. The new crew members were immediately immersed into the world of sailing. Monet learned about stern line manipulation for their de-docking—perfectly executed with the skipper of the day, Jon, at the helm. On Sao Jorge, Alex led the crew in another great de-docking.
As the fleet crossed the Sir Frances Drake Channel, many students switched out positions and had a shot on the helm. On Vivaldi, Max taught some nautical terms to his boat mates and Drew successfully ate twenty apples. All the crews mastered their first sail raising and lowering on the way to Great Harbor, Peter Island where the fleet mastered catching their first mooring balls. After completing their mooring, led by Lara, Sao Jorge was greeted by a friendly barracuda. The open water divers started their work for certification, while others had some fun on the beach and taking turns tubing behind the ski boat with Monet’s Lucy and Uge showing their master skills. The day closed with burritos made by each boat’s crew. Sao Jorge also celebrated Shelli’s birthday with a chocolate cake. Then, tired from the day’s action, all the boats headed to bed under a clear sky full of stars.