Ok, so, I’ve just spent a spectacular day racing aboard the 100-foot-long Wally Cento Galateia with the legendary Tom Whidden of the North Marine Group calling tactics, Jim Pugh (of Reichel Pugh that has many many high performance boats to their credit) seeing how his design performs in real race conditions, and a crack team of cool, calm, and turned on sailors here in St Barth. But this day was never supposed happen.
In fact, last night, it was so clear that I wasn’t going to be able to get on a boat that was racing in Les Voiles (for a bunch of simple logistics reasons) that I’d started to embrace a highly civilized invitation to join Team Phaedo‘s photography team at the crack of 10AM to go out and chase the chrome and green rocket around the race course. And since I didn’t have to be anywhere until 10, I jumped at the chance to join a couple of the Phaedo boys on their daily 6 mile run around the insanely hilly island here in the Caribbean that’s fast becoming my new favorite spot. What could go wrong, right?
Well, nothing really. The run was just perfect. And the after-run-swim in the pool afterwards was cool too. There was time for coffee. Breakfast. A shower. Maybe pancakes even! How civilized until….I got a call…and then a text…
“You can go with Galateia,” said the text. “Can you be down at the dock at 8:30?”
It was 8:15. I was wearing nothing but a towel and my skin was still moist and crispy from a combination of sweat and chlorinated pool water from my apres-run swim.
Thankfully, I had, had some coffee.
“Yep,” was my reply and I made it to the dock right on time with a little help from my friends.
And then something magical happened. I stepped aboard Galateia, and everything just seemed to fall into place. The team was great. The boat was great. And then the start was great. Like really, really great. It’s not too often that you get to line up against a boat like Comanche, and then, pull off a full-on coup (under spinnaker no less) by jumping out to a pretty substantial lead over the big red record breaker at the start. But that’s exactly what they did.
Now remember, on handicap, Comanche owes Galateia a bunch of time. Comanche is a full-on, no-holes-barred record breaker while Galateia has an interior and other comforts. But there they (we) were, not just sticking with the “Fat Bottomed Girl” that Comanche is lovingly called by her crew, but pulling away.
Sure, today’s light air and shifty conditons were part of the reason Galateia was able to lead the fleet for a good bit of the race today, but the conditions were not the only reason. Galateia is fast, and smooth, and responsive, and oh yeah, drop-dead sexy. And the crew work was dialed. And did I mention she has miles of teak decks?
Now, the boys aboard Galateia worked their tails off to stay infront. I was extremely excited about the possibility of beating Comache aboard a boat with teak decks, and can only imagine what the crew was feeling.
But alas, Comanche was able to squirt out in front just before the last mark rounding. And they were able to claim monohull line honors (Phaedo³ was the first to finish), but I gotta give the win to Galateia today.
And, oh yeah, I walked back to the villa (over and down a couple big hills in Ainse de Caye) after the wonderfully young and bright 20-year-old Steve-O gave me ride back into the dock in their rib.
Who sez you don’t need to be fit to sail on superyachts?
Stay tuned. There’s way more to come from St Barth. And more to this story too.