First, seasons greetings to all our members, students, other customers and friends. We thank you very very much for your support, and wish you the best for the coming year.
As usual, the passage from CT to Bermuda was challenging at times. We left as one of a series of strong low’s pulled out to sea, and the NW winds, which in the morning were close to 30 knots, soon died off to under 15 knots that evening. The forecast called for 2 more days of light winds followed by another intense low tracking to our north. Of course, we want the calmest possible conditions in the Gulf Stream region, so we motor-sail all the way to past the Gulf Stream.
The Gulf Stream region was as calm as could be, but the pleasant conditions were not to last. Fortunately we got a strong push to the east with 3 knots of current with us for 5 hours.
By the morning of Dec 2nd, the winds were SW 27 knots with gusts to 33, and kept blowing all the way to 20 miles from Bermuda, when the cold front passed over us with heavy rain and winds over 40 knots. From just south of the stream, we had a constant companion, an immature herring gull who hung with us all the way to Bermuda.
Needless to say, we were all glad to slip thru Town Cut and enjoy a hot shower that evening. Colette, Martins’s wife, flew in for the St George Walkabout, which was huge fun as always. After 3 days of repairs and cleaning, Valanta was good to go.
The second leg crew was Martin Jr joining Martin Sr along with Greg G, the owner. We again needed to make good time, as Bermuda was slated to be nailed by two lows developing Hurricane force winds 3 days after we left.
We again made great time the first day, covering 3 degree’s in the first 24 hours. As the low approached to the north, the winds built from the SW shifting to the SE for a brief time on Dec 9th, before shifting back to the SSW with the 2nd low.
Needless to say, we ended up well to the east! But with mostly clear skies, temps in the mid 70’s, starry nights and winds under 25 knots, it was was a pleasant trip indeed.
Of course, finally seeing the Virgins is amazing. We enjoying a lovely sail past Jost van Dyke with the night spent on a mooring off Caneel Bay listening to the tree frogs and waves lapping on the beach! Work on the Caneel Bay resort has not yet have started, as we understand the new lease with the Park Service was just signed. But the Concession on Caneel Bay itself is open, and the Beaches look as good as ever.
Bareboat Classes and Caribbean Racing 2019
Nothing like a good cold snap to focus our minds on the Caribbean! There is still lots of availability on Valanta for members to escape the cold!
New this year is a shorter Bareboat Class for a reduced price of $1,600. SSC members as usual pay 20% less.
This class includes 2 evening sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, with a Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon (48 hour) Cruise. You can stay on board for the entire program. If you would like to extend your stay and use the Hanse 400, this of course is possible.
Class Sessions: Friday-Sunday Cruise:
Jan 23rd & 24th Jan 25th – 27th
May 1st & 2nd May 3rd – 5th
We will also offer our normal 5 day Bareboat program, combined with the St Thomas International Regatta for $1,990 (or $2,600 for couples). This class starts Sunday morning, March 17th (most students fly in on Sat), with racing on the 22nd to the 24th (which can be done separately from the class, and is always a popular event). In 2017 we won our class on Varuna!
Cruise: STIR racing:
March 17th – 21st March 22nd – 24th
New Years Regatta!