Location: Great Harbor, Peter Island

We woke up early to get underway. Today was the Vega sailors practical test. It consisted of knots, driving the boat, tacking, jibing, and a man overboard drill. Each shipmate took the helm of the 51 foot monohull. All the basic sailors passed the practical test with flying colors. After about two and a half hours of testing we headed to West End harbor. We filled our three water tanks and went to get lunch. After lunch we walked around and went to the grocery store. I was told that there was a skippers meeting about a race that would be happening in the afternoon. I was thrilled. Yesterday was too windy to sail, so I was chomping at the bit to go sailing. The race would be from West End harbor to Great Harbor on Peter Island. It would be one of two races against the six monohulls. The winner would get six points, second five points, and so on. A point would be given to any boat towing a “super dinghy” and a point for carrying dive tanks. Since we were both towing a super dinghy and carrying dive tanks, we would automatically get two points.

All six boats lined up and shot off the starting line at the end of a countdown over the VHF. A dream was coming true for me. Driving a 50 foot yacht in a race with 20 knot winds. We got close to the Prosecutor at the start, but we were able to pull away and get underway. I was grinning from ear to ear. We were the heaviest boat and I still was pushing 6 knots. This placed us in second place. The race was into the wind so we had to tack multiple times to achieve a zig-zag course to the finish line. In the middle of the race, Laurasia and we were on a collision course. We were penalized since we made Laurasia change course. The penalization required us to do a 360. This ate up valuable time. Although carrying scuba tanks, towing a super dinghy, and having to do a 360, we still came in third. Though we lost the battle, we did not lose the war. With our two extra points, we tied points-wise with the leader. I was exhausted and amazed. I will never forget that race. It is an amazing privilege to be at the helm of a yacht in a race. We’re looking forward to what is in store for us tomorrow, but for now we’re eating freshly baked cookies underneath the majestic Caribbean night sky.