Thursday, 22 May 2008

More Anguilla Regatta Photos

More photos of the Anguilla Regatta. Top to bottom: Charm III, Local Boats, Moonshadow and Juluca.

Thrills at the Anguilla Regatta!

I have been really busy lately so apologies for keeping you waiting for news of the 2008 Anguilla Regatta, which took place over the weekend of 9,10,11 May.

It was a thrilling weekend. The sun shone, the sea was a beautiful blue and the wind was good for sailing. Friday was a little choppy and the sky was overcast occasionally, but all agreed it was a weekend when the sailing was perfect.

Friday saw the 26 nautical mile 'Beach Jam' Course, which took competitors into some of the island's most beautiful bays on the Western end of Anguilla. I was on Hearts Desire, the 1925 43' Alden Schooner owned and skippered by Glen Schroeder. He has owned the vessel for five years and purchasing her was the culmination of a love affair with schooners which has been with him since boyhood.

We started last as none of us were sure of the starting signals. This was a bit of a blow but we were not unduly worried. We wanted to beat the other 1925 Alden Schooner in the race, Charm III, about which I have written elsewhere in this blog. This was not to be though as she was being crewed by the skilled lads of the Anguilla Youth Sailing Club and they meant business! Hearts Desire had a green crew and several of us have not sailed a gaff rigged vessel before. With no winches or pulleys it is hard work pulling on ropes to make anything happen! In the end, we settled for a sedate 6 hour and 11 minute sail and arrived back at our start to much applause from those hardy spectators still waiting for us to return. I am sure that the race officials, who had loyally waited for us to complete the course, were relieved when we finally finished!

I missed the Governor presenting the prizes so cannot report what he said, although I am reliably informed that he gave a witty speech, which was well received. I would have liked to have heard it...

Saturday dawned and with it the big 12 metre yachts from St Martin. These were being crewed first by teams from Temenos and CuisinArt Resort and Spa as they fought for the West End Cup, and then by the National Bank of Anguilla and the Caribbean Commerical Bank in the race dubbed the 'Battle of the Banks.' These races are tremendously popular on island. CuisinArt uses a place in the crew as an incentive during the year. All the people on board had earned their places with hard work and good service. No wonder they were so excited!

In the end, CuisinArt Resort and Spa triumphed over Temenos, who has vowed to return next year, and the National Bank of Anguilla beat the Caribbean Commericial Bank. Each bank has now won the race three times, so it will be interesting to see how they get on next year!

On Sunday there was the Sir Bobby Velasquez Local Boat Race. This was great fun! Nine Class A sloops competed and their huge sails made a pretty picture against the beautiful blue sky on the horizon. Eagle caused a bit of a stir when two other boats forced her inside one of the markers and she carried on regardless. There was much indignant shouting from those watching in the myriad of small craft which was following the race. Real Deal won the race and Alvin Richardson, the skipper, was over the moon!

In the meantime, there were races for Open, Cruising, Multihull and Spinnaker classes and lots of vessels turned out for highly competitive races. In the end Budget Marine Too, skippered by Robbie Ferron won the Spinnaker competition. Moonshadow, captained by Eddie Baretto won the Cruising class. Steve Donahue thrilled everyone when he took the Open class on Anguilla registered Juluca. Herve Harel on Harel Yachts took the Multihull title.

I buzzed about on the press boat, ably skippered by Damian Carty to whom I owe many thanks. I took thousands of photos, some of which are reproduced here. I hope that they give you a flavour of what the Anguilla Regatta is all about. For those of you who might like to visit Anguilla to sail in or watch the fun, visit for more information on the Regatta and sailing in general.

The photos show: from top to bottom - Temenos and CuisinArt battle it out, Glen Schroeder, Hearts Desire and Mike Syme, crew aboard Hearts Desire.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

It is so easy to make a mistake!

My mother has emailed me in a bit of a flap. She is only just getting some confidence using the computer and, as she can now see the screen following a trip to the opticians, she is starting to press buttons she would not usually have noticed, let alone used.

This morning I opened my email to find the following message:

"penny, i think i have made a bo,bo. i am so sorry, i think i have clicked on a wrong button. i was looking on your blog site, when i saw a button that said FLAG or UNFLAG BUTTON.not knowing what it was, i clicked on it. i was horrified when i saw that i was reporting you for bad reading content. sorry."

I have never been reported for bad content before and did not expect my mother to be the one doing it! I hope that whoever investigates this will see that all is well and it is just an elderly lady trying to get to grips with modern technology. I have now emailed her with instructions on how to use the cursor to hover over buttons she does not recognise, so that the resulting dialogue box will appear and tell her what the button is for. Next I must teach her how to put capitals into her emails properly!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Anguilla Regatta - Coming Soon!

It is Thursday 8th May 2008.

Tonight is the Skippers Briefing for the Anguilla Regatta, which starts tomorrow and lasts all weekend. At 6pm Roy's Bayside Grill will be packed with sailors for the briefing and it will be the beginning of a busy time for me.

I will be on the press boat Friday 9 May, to report on the races and will cover the prize giving by HE The Governor, Mr Andrew George.

Saturday 10 May will see me taking part in a race - my first! I feel a quiet mix of apprehension and excitement at present and I still have two days to go! On Saturday too the Battle of the Banks will be fought. The 12 metre ex-America's Cup racers will provide thrills and much competitive spirit in the best tradition of sailing. It will be spectacular to watch.

Sunday 11 May, the final day of the Regatta, the local wooden racing boats fight it out in the Sir Bobby Velasquez Local Boat Race. These boats, without internal ballast and decking, fly through the water and are really fun to watch. Regulations go out of the window apart from the 'Hard Lee' rule, when, to avoid a collision, a captain will give this cry and each boat must tack away, regardless of where this will put the boat! It leads to fun and excitement, particularly when the rocks, sand bags or crew used for ballast is jettisoned to lighten the boat in an effort to reach the finishing line first!

In all the Anguilla Regatta, an annual event since 2003 to raise much needed funds for the Anguilla Youth Sailing Club, and run by the Anguilla Sailing Association in conjunction with the Anguilla Tourist Board, will be a weekend of fun for all the family.

I will let you know how I get on in my race - I will be aboard the Juluca, owned and skippered by Steve Donaghue. Wish us luck!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

In the middle of the night...

It's funny what you do when you can't sleep.

Tonight I slept for about two hours and then, PING, eyes wide open and mind racing away uncontrollably!

I am never one to miss an opportunity and so I have been catching up with my emails. People who must have thought I had died will be shocked to see they have a message from me when they wake up in the morning!

I have deleted some obvious rubbish from my inbox and generally given it a tidy up. I feel quite pleased with myself. Of course, all this will generate replies from my long lost friends and so my inbox will soon fill up again! In the long run I will have gained nothing, but at least people know I am still about.

Of course I am taking the opportunity to write my blog while I have time, which is always a bonus. The coming week will be a busy one as the Anguilla Regatta is on the horizon next weekend and I am covering it for several publications. For those interested in this event there is more information on the Anguilla Sailing Association website,

OK, I have a tired brain so that is all for this post.

Friday, 2 May 2008

My Friend Rob!

I had some good news today.

My friend, Rob, in Spain, emailed to say that following my advising him to start a blogsite, he has been offered a regular blogging job on which gets over twenty thousand hits a day! I am so pleased for him.

Rob's blogsite is It is a very good read!