How the race, that isn’t a race proceeded.

All the sailors at the Curve Bar, Tobago

All the sailors at the Curve Bar, Tobago

The Tobago start wasn’t going to be a huge affair this year with just two boats (myself included) set to leave from Store Bay. Not that that stopped us from having a big send-off party. Everyone at the anchorage were invited for drinks at the Curve Bar in Crown Point to swap stories and boast about their navigational exploits. Fun was had by all.

Thanks Katy and John of Store Bay Marine Services for hosting the event. Next year it will be bigger and better with a pig roast, music and crab races on the beach (BYO racing crab) set to make the Nereid’s Rally departure a local fête.

Note that all yachts have the option to leave from Tobago but larger yachts will need to bunker elsewhere as fuel is DIY with jerry cans.

On my way to Guyana..... not....

On my way to Guyana….. not….

Here, Romain on Whistler is posing for the start. Having already sailed once to French Guiana from the Caribbean he was supposed to make short shrift of this passage. However, his rally was over before it even really started.

Whistler’s ageing mainsail was unexpectedly torn at the seams and so one of the favourites for completing the rally in record time was obliged to pull out to contemplate the purchasing of a sewing machine instead.

A “did not finish” (DNF) for our Corsican contestant… But all is not lost for our French fans! He has vowed to be back and take part in next year’s event.

Eileen of Avoca

Eileen of Avoca

Next we have Eileen of Avoca, the smallest member of the fleet, measuring just 23ft. While there is no doubt she will complete the rally, it’s going to take a lot more than good local knowledge to keep up with the 40+ footers!

Spirited Lady at anchor

Spirited Lady at anchor

Spirited Lady, a Spirit 56 is a classic beauty! Her owner, Susie was the first to show interest in taking part in the 2013 Nereid’s Rally and we are all delighted to have her as part of this inaugural event.

Lion King a Hanse 53

Lion King, a Hanse 53

Lion King, a handsome Hanse 53 owned by Harry and Ans is a real contender for line honours. Despite the ubiquitous Disney association with the boats name there is no doubt that this yacht means business. The question is whether anyone will be able to keep up once Lion King stretches is legs?

Kaisosi, an elongated Admiral 40

Kaisosi, an elongated Admiral 40

Kaisosi is the only catamaran in the fleet. A lengthened Admiral 40. Her crew Terry and Annette have sailed these waters once before, having made their way to the Caribbean from South Africa via Brazil. Will the yacht perform in contrary winds?

Virginia Dare, a Hallberg Rassy 39

Virginia Dare, a Hallberg Rassy 39

Virginia Dare, owned by Bob and Christine. An elegant Hallberg Rassy equipped with a 55HP Volvo. Contrary winds, contrary current? Not a problem!

Delamara, A 39ft Moody. Single-handed by Joseph from Barbados will miss the rally start because of a faulty started motor. He intends to bypass Guyana and head directly for Saint Laurent du Maroni to catch up with the rest of the fleet.

Mai VII, our only other French contestant, has pulled out of the Rally the day of the start citing mechanical issues.

Restless, skippered by Ron, is waiting on a new mainsail in Grenada. We hope it will arrive in time so he can join the rally in French Guiana.

 

The 2013 Nereid’s Rally

Here be dragons!

Here be dragons!

OK, it’s official.

The web site is up and yachtsmen can now register for this years Nereid’s Rally, sailing from both Trinidad and Tobago on to Guyana and French Guiana.

Why is it called the Nereid Rally?

Because what better way to dispel the myths of sailing south from the Caribbean than to host a mythical themed event?

And Dave’s Rally was given the thumbs down… ;)

 

Guyana – Take two…

Speedwell of Hong Kong off Baganara Resort Guyana

Speedwell of Hong Kong off Baganara Resort Guyana

After picking up a few essential parts in Trinidad (and a tub of Gorilla Glue), I set sail once more for Guyana. It was time to take a closer look and make tentative arrangements to facilitate the reception of my newly conceived rally.

I was happy to see that not much had changed in the last 6 months.

The first fast food reaches Bartica.. What next?

The first fast food restaurants reach Bartica.. What next?

Other than a newly established fast food outlet.

I'm not sure they're getting the right message across here....

I’m not sure they’re getting the right message across here….

And the introduction of garbage bins…. Though it might be a while before people realize what those are for.

Did you hear the one about 3 men and a cow?

Did you hear the one about 3 men and a cow?

With the influx of cash from gold mining, Bartica will inevitably change, but for the moment, it’s still the wild west…

Apparently it landed on the wicked witch of the west.

Apparently it landed on the wicked witch of the west.

Obviously the sooner people come visit, the more authentic the experience.

Six yachts were visiting Guyana while I was there! An unheard of increase, considering that in 2011 the total number of visiting yachts for an entire year was 11.

Thanks largely to the efforts of Kit Nascimento, formalities for yachts visiting Guyana are are about as simple as they can be. An accomplishment worth applauding… Suriname and Brazil take note….

An Australian crew check in at immigration. Bartica Guyana

An enthusiastic Australian crew check in at immigration. Bartica Guyana

I was happy to meet the crew of yachts I’d come across in my previous travels, including Speedwell of Hong Kong, and Sandpiper 2.

I knew Shirley would be found anchored off Baganara Resort (a proposed stop for the rally), because the Gorilla Glue delivery was for her. Well not quite… It was really for Bernhard, who needed it to complete his new dingy.

Boat building materials... Gorilla Glue and a bottle of rum from Martinique.

Boat building materials… Gorilla Glue and a bottle of rum from Martinique.

Bernhard gave me a set of GPS coordinates detailing an alternate route along the Essequibo that should shave several miles off my next visit. Once I’ve checked them I’ll post the new route.

Good company and good food on "do it". Guyana

Good company and good food on “do it”. Guyana

I’m reluctant to share them at this point because there are occasional unpleasant surprises along the river as the crew of Do It discovered and I can think of nicer ways than running aground to have an uncharted rock named after your yacht.

Do it Rock surfacing at low tide.

“Do it Rock” surfacing at low tide.

Next stop…. Saint Laurent du Maroni to see what the local council thinks of playing host to an annual yacht rally…..

Back and forth….

The little mermaid swims past...

The little mermaid swims by…

It’s been a busy month….

Last we heard of our intrepid adventurer, he was anchored off Store Bay, in Tobago recounting tall tales of pirates to all and sundry.

***

We'd rather lime than listen to another pirate tale...

All and Sundry….. We’d rather lime than listen to another pirate tale…

And while my daring and dastardly deeds had reached quasi herculean proportions, (by the fifteenth telling), it seems that the locals weren’t buying it any longer… More importantly they weren’t buying me my drinks either….

Oh well, it wasn’t a bad run while it lasted….

So… sullenly sipping aged rum on my yacht (am I allowed to call a 23 footer a yacht?),  watching the occasional mermaid swim by, I set about planning my next smart and cunning move… (no laughing please)….

Another marina authorization bites the dust...

Another marina authorization bites the dust…

Back in French Guiana (land of the sloths), my marina development was not unexpectedly moving ahead at.. you guess it…. a sloths pace….

Fine…. Slow and steady wins the proverbial race as they say, and meanwhile there’s time for the number of visiting yachts to increase, though most are of the “northbound from Brazil” variety.

How might I tempt those northern yachts to wander south?

Simple, make the rally idea a reality. It was time to team up with others who could assist with organizing and publicizing the annual event.

store bayQueue Store Bay Marine Services in Tobago. They will provide support and host the sendoff for the less than 40ft yachts.

 

 

ysatLarger yachts will leave one day later from Chaguaramas in Trinidad. Queue YSATT, Yacht Services Association of Trinidad & Tobago.

 

 

HurakabraFirst stop is Guyana, where the fleet will be hosted by Hurakabra River Resort and officially welcomed by the minister for tourism.

 

 

logoThe rally’s finishing line is, of course, Saint Laurent du Maroni in French Guiana, where another official welcome awaits and triggers a week of activities hosted by yours truly… aka Marina – Saint Laurent du Maroni.

So a hop back to Trinidad was the order of the day to concentrate on business without distractions of the mermaid kind…

India

Trinidad apparently has other distractions… ;)

Now where was I….. Ah, yes, organizing a rally…. I tend to get distracted easily these days….

 

Tobago, French Guiana, Guyana Rally?

How about an annual rally during the hurricane season?

Killing time feeding the local strays obviously has its propitious side (look at all my new best friends), but I’m getting itchy feet. No I haven’t contracted canine Tinea Pedis, I’m talking about the wanderlust kind of itch.

If I have a sailing boat… shouldn’t I be sailing?….

Mad dogs or a new rally?

The trouble is we’re still in the middle of the hurricane season and sailing options become somewhat limited in the Caribbean during a hurricane… Key word here being hurricane.. ;)

It is however an opportune time to visit Guyana, Tobago and French Guiana. So where is everyone?

What do you think of this exciting idea?

Apart from hiding from hurricanes, I suspect they are working hard doing boat maintenance in Trinidad.

Guess I’ll have to go fetch them…

Hear ye hear ye!

Register now for the new annual Tobago,  Guyana, Saint Laurent rally! I’m so keen on this idea, I’m sailing north to tell everyone about it.

Destination Tobago…

ETA one week…