Ryan Breymaier takes us through his excellent Caribbean adventure onboard the Swan 82 Alpina
One of the incredible things about sailing is the diversity, and the fact that everyone competes on the same racetrack, regardless of their boat type, size, or speed. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Caribbean.
Every regatta is an egalitarian affair, with the biggest and fastest raceboats in the world on the same track as the 40’ cruiser. The best part being that everyone has a great time, and can bond with one another at the bar once finished.
On Alpina we had a really good time. Our Russian charter crew did their best, and even though they’d never sailed together before, they were able to tack, gybe, and peel better than some big boat programs I have seen. This all within the context of having met each other just 2 days prior to the start of the race, and about half of who had never sailed before!
Despite not getting to the podium, we finished the race very proud of our position, and I am sure we created some lifetime love of sailing amongst our Moscovites. I for one was really happy to see others enjoying offshore sailing the way I do.
Their project was put together by Oscar Konyukhov son of famous adventurer Fedor Konyukhov who’s currently is in the process of rowing from Valparaiso Chile to Brisbane Australia, at 62 years of age. This is the same Fedor Konyukhov who sailed around the world alone 4 times, plus did the Antartica Cup racetrack, around Antartica the wrong way.
Oscar used to be head of the Russian Sailing Federation, and now does a great job of organizing group charters and giving the opportunity to those who are interested to have a taste of our sport. It was a cool experience to be a part of helping 10 new sailors discover what it means to go offshore. Out of 10 Russians, there was only one who will not be back; seasickness knows no bounds.
For me, it was also my first Caribbean 600 and what a celebration of sail. A superb race-track, just complicated enough to keep us busy onboard and enjoy trade-winds weather, plus the opportunity to round every island within 60 miles of Antigua.
Unfortunately I had little contact with the other boats during the racing but we heard of Bella Mente’s superb line honors achievement and the close finish between them, Rambler and Shockwave.
As we arrived at the dock I also discovered my Spanish friends on the Botin designed ‘Tales’ Class 40 have romped the course, setting a reference time several hours faster than the previous record set by Forty Degrees last year. Alpina and Tales, two boats on the dock next to one another presenting quite a contrast, one a comfy slow boat, perfect for learning the basics, and the other a tweaky speed machine; probably the fastest in the Class 40 fleet.
Thanks to the RORC for a first class event. 36 hours now to watch the rest of the fleet arrive, do a bit of boat-work and get some rest before the party on Friday night.