Bitter End Yacht Club, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
I am down here at the world’s best regatta. Why is it the world’s best? Great sailing conditions, independent race management, fair rules, friendly environment, great shore side facilities, top level competitors.
The BEYC has welcomed me and my family here 10 times in the past 18 years. My daughter Allie joined me this time. The staff remember her being a little girl playing in the sand and flapping around the pool. Now she is writing college papers in her room before dinner, then ordering Rum Punch at the Pub after dinner, while we shoot pool and listen to Reggae. She also looks like a young woman, so I have to be quick to introduce her as my daughter because we have both gotten some nasty stares.
The trade winds blow here consistently between 10-15 knots. The sun is plentiful and the temperature is 82 degrees day and night. I know that is hard to take.
There was no time spent arguing about the rules or the Notice of Race. There was zero money spent on lawyers or travel expenses to a New York court. But we did spend some money on rum drinks.
Finally, the competitors. This is a Pro Am, the Pros skipper the boats and the hotel guests do the crewing. The Pros: Ken Read (what did her ever do?), Zach Riley (some kid from Florida who went on a trip to China last year to pick up a piece of metal), Anna Tunnicliffe (some chick who likes to sail and went to China as Zack’s friend, saw his chunk of metal and decided to get a better one…just like a chick), Keith Musto who won a piece of metal in the 72 Oly’s and yours truly who is a journalist masquerading as a sailor. There is a new addition to this year’s skippers format; an amateur! One of the division winners from Block Island Race Week last summer won the right to race against the Pros and his name is Craig Albrecht. This should be a cool new innovation down here.
So the point is, the Bitter End Pro Am is a lot about what sailing is and should be; FUN.