How many yachts are taking part?

on my way

Eileen of Avoca is on her way!

Not such an easy question to answer. If you ask me how many yachts have shown an interest in taking part in this year’s rally. No problem, the answer is 21.

I just tally up the number of emails that people sent me saying they would like to participate.

How many of those actually registered?

And by registering I mean how many paid the fee via the official web site to join the rally, the answer is also easy. 12.

But I still have not answered the first question. How many yachts are taking part?

Do I include the ones that at the last minute were still waiting on parts held up for various reasons but will set sail in a week? 10. Joe and maybe Ron, we will be waiting for you at the next stop (Saint Laurent du Maroni)!

Or the ones that due to a medical emergency had to fly back home? 9.

That had a relationship breakdown just days before the start and now have more pressing concerns than a rally? 8

That changed their mind and decided to sail back to Europe during the hurricane season the day of the start (to pursue a whirlwind romance) instead? 7 Good luck Katina.

Or had to turn back during the rally because something broke on the yacht? 5

Well there you have it.

A handful of yachts are currently at sea battling an unexpectedly fierce current off Trinidad on the 1st edition of the Nereid’s Rally.

Nothing like a rally to separate the sailors equivalent of the wheat from the chaff.

More on the contestants later…

What happened to August?

Who want's to join the Nereid's Rally?

Who want’s to join the Nereid’s Rally?

Apparently time flies when you are having fun. According to this distilled bit of wisdom I must truly have been having a ball.

Or not?

First order of business upon my return to Trinidad was to organise a seminar for prospective Nereid’s Rally participants. While there has been plenty of publicity in the local and international yachting media, (The Boca, Caribbean Compass, Yachting Monthly, Voiles et Voileries, Sailing Today, Guyana News, etc) sometimes it’s a more personal approach that’s needed to woo a participant or two.

That was my plan at any rate.

Kit Nascimento of Hurakabra Resort kindly volunteered to fly to Trinidad with a delegation from the Tourist board of Guyana to help showcase the region as a yachting destination, when we last met, .

For several days I handed out flyers and made announcements on the morning VHF radio net, for the coming event. It was also publicised in the Grenada Cruisers and Guyana Suriname facebook groups.

Not surprisingly there was plenty of interest, especially from the yachting community currently in Chaguaramas. Even too much! Though I wonder if perhaps it was because there wasn’t anything better to do on the day. “Shall I change this cutlass bearing today or go to the seminar? “

The conference facilities at Power Boats were kindly offered by Mr Stollmeyer as the venue but about a week before the event I was approached by a small group of yachtsmen that convinced me to change plans. They were determined to visit Guyana, but not with the rally. Were keen to attend my information seminar, but not at the current venue. Were happy to make the necessary arrangements, but… (you get the idea…)

“By all means! The more the merrier!”, (Another supposed bit of wisdom that has me wondering on the veracity of idiomatic speech).

Guyana tourism authority delegation gives their presentation

Guyana tourism authority delegation gives their presentation

Let’s just say that at the last minute I was left holding the proverbial bag on this… Nothing that throwing money at didn’t fix (how do you like my new 40 inch flat screen TV that I used for just 2 hours before giving it away?), but I’ll think twice in future before allowing myself to be swayed into making logistical changes for non-participants. Especially when they quote the 80 Euro entrance fee as the reason they are not joining the rally.

“Why should I have to pay when I can do it for free. What do I get for my money?”

An information seminar with a nice new 40 inch flat screen TV to view for a start. 😉

Let’s see, what else…

Tide tables, guide books, latest buoy positions, etc… But of course they can get this from the Rally web site for free too. And failing that, they can always pocket the guidebook reserved for participants when they think I’m not looking. (I kid you not!)…

But apart from that… You get…

  • Facilitated check in and check out,
  • A welcome to remember,.
  • A free shuttle bus to help you provision in Saint Laurent du Maroni
  • Increased presence of the Coast Guard and Gendarmerie (they even mind the boats when we are out playing tourist!),
  • Free entertainment and functions at each stop including music, traditional dance, food and drinks,
  • Plus, the arguable pleasure of my company!

Ah, but “this is all just a trick! Next year the cost will be much higher.” I’m told…

Well you’ve got me there. Next year the entry fee will probably double to a staggering 160 Euro! 🙂

The question I need to ask myself is whether it is worth all the effort on my part?

Difficult to quantify the returns, but I think so. There are certainly many more people talking about visiting Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana with their yachts than there were a year ago, and that’s a must if I’m going to play marina developer. Some have even promised to take part in the 2014 edition of the Nereid’s Rally!

So with the continued support of local tourism officials and sponsors, I will be hosting it all again next year.

See you there!


No more monkeying around…

Monkey business in Saint Laurent du Maroni

Street art or monkey business in Saint Laurent du Maroni?

I offer no excuse for neglecting my blog… I have not fallen off the edge of the map, succumbed to sea monsters nor been held captive by fictitious pirates.

But I have been busy…

Busy with my catch... A fish called "I've never tasted it"

Busy with my catch… A fish literally called “I’ve never tasted it” or “jamais gouté”

I’ve played tourist guide and charter operator (in my 23ft megayacht) for an old friend and his wife, (visiting three countries in Eileen of Avoca), organised a rally, written an article for Sailing Today, flown to London to visit friends, driven 3000 km around Europe as far as Rome (because I could), and paid a compulsory visit to family…

Need I elaborate?

OK, let me see…. My guests think I should buy a bigger boat…

fully provisioned

Make more room!

But I’ve always been told that size doesn’t matter…. It’s been big enough in the past…


What were the three countries I visited with my guests do I hear you ask?

Have paddle.... Will travel....

Have paddle…. Will travel….

French Guiana of course, temporary home of the infamous “Paddle Man”.

A new jetty and restaurant in the works at Domburg!

A new jetty and restaurant in the works at Domburg!

Followed by Suriname where I was able to check up on the latest developments.

Next stop Guyana where I met with the Minister for Tourism and representatives from the Coast Guard, MARAD, the Guyana Defence Force, the Guyana Police Force…

Hurakabra. Where the official welcome to Guyana event will take place.

Hurakabra. Where the official welcome to Guyana event will take place.

Luckily there was a little time to chill out…

Statue in Genova, Italy

Statue in Genova, Italy

And to drive to Italy to admire the Genovese tribute to paddle men everywhere….

But now I’m in Trinidad and Tobago! No more monkeying around. I’m back… and I promise to write… 🙂

There are times….

This season the weather has gone crazy!

This season the weather has gone crazy!

If there is anything that can really dishearten this solitary sailor, it’s got to be awful weather…., but if it’s not the weather, it’s some essential piece of equipment breaking just when it’s most needed…., or if it’s not equipment failures it’s an incapacitating injury…., and if it’s not that, it’s falling ill…..

Never caring to do things in just half measures, while anchored in Store Bay Tobago, I’ve fallen victim to all of the above!


I’ll take just about anything at this point….

Eileen of Avoca is bucking furiously in an absurdly agitated sea while her captain lies immobile suffering both sciatica and bronchitis. I’d struggle ashore to convalesce if only my inflatable kayak were not mysteriously punctured (the plastic one is currently ashore)… It’s been this way for several weeks and if there isn’t a sign of improvement soon, I’m considering shooting myself to put me out of everyone else’s misery.

Not really…. “Why should I play the Roman fool and die on my own sword… Whiles I see lives, the gashes do better upon them”. No?

OK, I’ll shoot someone else then… except, I have nothing at hand with which to shoot anybody… 🙁

It goes to show that sometimes the solitary life at sea isn’t much fun….

It’s now evidently clear to me that I should have added one more category to the list in my last post…

The Psychopathic Hypochondriac!


There will be no further posts ’till my sanity and / or health is back…

We’re a weird mob

Reflections from Fort de France

Reflections from Fort de France

Venturing north, where the concentration of yachtsmen appears inversely proportional to travel distances between ports, I’m clearly reminded that this getaway lifestyle attracts all sorts of individuals and groups!

Even the homeless can teach yachties a thing or two about fashion.

Even the homeless can teach yachties a thing or two about fashion.

Referring to us as “Yachties”, really doesn’t even scratch the surface of what is in fact a highly diverse group. The only common thread (myself excluded of course), is that yachtsmen have to be about the worlds least fashion conscious individuals.


  • The Patriot (or Nouveau Conquistador when abroad), identified by the ensign that’s at least 30% the overall length of the yacht ( I exaggerate only slightly ). I watched one arrive the other day while visiting a fellow yachtsmen. As soon as the anchor was deployed, a crew member was dispatched to make a standing (literally), tour of the resident yachts. Presumably to better announce their arrival?
    “You know David, I haven’t even met that woman…. and already I can’t stand her….”
    And that, from a yachtsman carrying the same ensign!

Some think this is cool… The majority however think you’re a ……

  • The Naturist ( or nudist if you will ). A group phenomenon, where members delight in raw bohemian exhibitionism. Often surround unsuspecting yachts at anchor, and  proceed to give them a show that, I for one, would rather forget…
    If only the protagonists were a little younger… Say 40 years?
  • The Frugals ( penniless but persistent ), out to see the world, but unable to appreciate anything other than the view when they get there. They almost never leave their boat as doing so inevitably leads to an unbudgeted expense.
  • The Hustler (businessman or opportunist). See other yachtsmen or the places they visit as an untapped commercial market.
    Why do I lump them together?
    Because they both have that same unsavory polished zeal about them.
    I should know.. I’m building a marina after all 😉 “Out damned spot! Out I say!!”
  • The Escapee ( Tax-man or ex-wife? ). Motto: They’ll never get me out here!!!
    I was once asked what I was running from, given that I’d chosen this unusual lifestyle… While I’ll admit that there are many yachtsmen who have indeed run away from something… Working for example… I’m not happy being tagged as an escapee… And that’s despite what I may have written in the past.
    Now it’s time to escape the self-imposed prisons of debt, monotony, and false ambition and weigh anchor.
    Perhaps that was just a phase I was going through, and now I’ve happily moved on to another category…. (or two)
  • The Seeker ( or quixotic individualist? ). I’m not talking about the I’m trying to “find my inner self” types… Those still insist on climbing mountains in Tibet or trekking through India. I’m talking about the ones who are really actively looking for their closest approximation of Shangri-La… I write “their” instead of “the”, because utopia is a matter of taste, and not even necessarily a place.
And people wonder at my fascination with leopard print....

And people wonder about my fascination with leopard prints….

  • The Playboy ( It’s not what you think…) It’s just that cruising for some yachties is a kind of game… On reflection, I’ve often been accused of exemplifying this classification… That’s not to say I don’t take anything I do seriously…
    On the contrary, playing games for me is a serious matter, to be taken most earnestly. It’s just that my honest answer to those who’ve asked…. “When will you stop sailing?” is…. When I tire of playing this game and feel then need to choose another.
    I suspect there may be others who follow suit. Or at least would like to 😉
  • The Enthusiast ( just can’t get enough ). Lives and breathes yachting. Can be rather dull at social functions due to his one topic conversational repertoire. Has not realised that not everybody, including other sailors, can stand talking about sail trim for hour upon hour. Found mostly around boat yards where his audience has difficulty escaping.
  • The Copycat ( he’s out there because you are ). In it’s mild form, I’m guessing it’s a case of being inspired by those who have gone before, be it Moitessier, Slocum, or Knox… Absolutely nothing wrong with that…
    But then there is the chronic copycat. He’s not there because of any particular plan or interest. He’s there because he couldn’t stand being left out of the “been there and done that” or the “been there bought that” crowd…
    A much healthier ( if somewhat antipodean ) response to adopt when faced with the sailing trophies of others is…Fine…And yet… “You can’t impress me because I’ve been to Bali too…”
    Note: Remind me to sail to Bali one day….

Complicating matters is that many sailors belong to more than one of the abovementioned categories. Meeting a patriot nudist playboy or a frugal copycat enthusiast is not as difficult as one might first imagine. It all just goes to show you that the cruising community can at times, be an odd one.

Feel free to comment on any other classifications I may have inadvertently missed…



A sailors life in images….

The life of a solitary sailor... It's all on film....

The life of a solitary sailor… It’s all on film….

I finally have an answer for those of you who’ve often asked…

What’s it like to leave it all behind and sail off into the sunset in your own boat?

Google has unwittingly provided it… Click on this link to see what I mean…

If the link doesn’t work just type “” (including the inverted commas) into google and then press images

Mind your own business?

shoe lace

Just doing my shoelaces can be traumatic here!

When you are in the Caribbean get ready for some misspent youth flashbacks. You know… back when you seemed to be told off for just about everything you did?

You have no such memories? OK, perhaps for some, it will be a new but equally unpleasant experience…

Read on as I elaborate with an example or two…

Finding a shoelace undone while wandering about town I pause to avoid the anticipated embarrassing tumble (I’m habitually risk averse). Placing my foot on a handy wall of the right height, I unconsciously do what I’ve done for as long as I can remember. Tie my laces… (double knots too… just to be sure), but before I have time to admire my handy-work, I’m accosted by a posse of aggrieved locals intent on lecturing me on the “dos and don’ts” (mostly the don’ts) of resting my shoe on a place where people might sit…

Good thing I’m not a renown serial killer, or who knows what level of verbal chastising I’d have suffered. But can you tell me why the fellow urinating on the wall opposite me attracted no comment? Perhaps mine was the greater of two sins?

I have it on good authority that the frequent scoldings are not directed at visitors by design, so keeping cool and playing dumb are the best way to deal with them…

I’m good at the latter and not so good with the former as clearly exemplified the other day when I found myself at Scarborough bus station. It was hot, and I was thirsty. A water fountain in the lobby beckoned. But was the water refrigerated? Pressing the button on the fountain head, I ran my fingers through the resulting stream only to have some middle aged lady harangue me in public for doing so…

“That’s for drinking, not for washing your hands!!!”

Startled by the rancor of the comment, I replied by reflex. Unfortunately, somewhat less sotto voce than intended…

“Is it not considered polite here to mind ones own affairs?”


Time to make my exit while I still can….

Me and my big mouth…. I think I will be sailing tomorrow….



No, no and no!

coffee cup

Why can’t I have a cup of coffee?

Dogmatic inflexibility!

It’s the only way I can describe it… A pervasive Caribbean phenomenon yachtsmen and tourists alike require some time adjusting to.

Don’t take my word for it…. Ask any expatriate or visitor if they have had a similar experience to mine and you will have a topic for discussion that is sure to take you into the wee hours of the night…

What experience am I referring to?

Desperate for my morning caffeine, I made the mistake of going to a “subway” fast food outlet for coffee. My assumption being that the machine would be working overtime in such an establishment and I’d likely find a fresh brew.

With a big smile (anticipating my fix), I reach the counter… “Good morning!, I’ll have a small cup of black coffee please.”

“No, you can’t have coffee!”, states a bored employee.

“Err… Is there a problem with the machine?”

“No, we don’t have any cups”.

“Is there something wrong with those cups over there?”

“No, those are for other drinks”

Suddenly realizing that all sentences need start in the negative, I make my attempt to speak to the employee in her own language…

“Noooo matter… I’ll just have my coffee in a paper cup, the Styrofoam one really isn’t necessary is it?”

“No, I can’t do that..”

“No? Why is that?”

And then… the only response not starting with the word no…. said with what I can only describe as astounding conviction…..

“Because it will explode!”

Obviously I should have stopped insisting after the first no…

I live and learn….

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…


Trinidad apparently has other distractions… 😉

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


It’s Alive!!!

No it won't be called Dave's Rally... :(

No it won’t be called Dave’s Rally… 🙁

A short note to let everyone know that I have not been devoured by sea-monsters or sailed off the edge of the earth. For the last two months I’ve been sailing between Trinidad and Tobago and French Guiana.


Because I’ve taken the Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana and French Guiana annual rally from half-baked concept to regular scheduled event starting September 2013.

Blog updates and more details soon…