Sailing around the World and back to the Caribbean.

A Lady
Stephen Hyde
Sat 16 Apr 2011 21:36
SATURDAY  16th  APRIL  2011
THURSDAY NIGHT :- We met Fr. Dermot Nolan and his friend Fr Chris, ( from Derry originally ) so our selves and the 2 lads had dinner
in the Lighthouse restaurant, this restaurant is located in a real floating " light ship " and really very different to your normal restaurant.
It was also located on the marina only a few steps from our berth .
The food was excellent, with lots of different prawn and lobster starters, a nice selection of fish or beef ( fillet ) for mainers.
and desserts to die for. and we really got into the wine, and wound off a great evening with brandy's and other liquers.
and a few smokes to keep our lungs exercised.
FRIDAY :- " Le Phare Bleu " is basically a small bay with a holiday resort and marina, a beautifull location with its own
beaches, shops, pools, and many other facilities, It is well known for its fine food, as we know from tuesday night in the resorts
main dining room at the prizegiving dinner, and then last night at the lighthouse, which also belongs to the Resort.
Anyway, at 09.30 hrs, we left the marina and sailed out to the starting line for race no. 3 , back to Port Louis where the event is based.
We had a run of 3 miles to start with, then a beat back to the start line followed by a 6 mile run down to the SW corner of  Granada and then
an 8 mile beat to the finish,  There was a good steady breeze 18 / 22 knots and " A Lady revelled in the conditions,
However the well used sails looked tired and we had to work hard to get a good shape in them, but we did, we just kept tweeking,
and tweeking untill we felt we could not get any more speed, so we managed to keep pace with the fleet. ( all the new boats )
Finally, about a mile from the finish,  all the boats ahead of us, about 8 of them ( some bigger boats from class 1, ) tacked inshore,
skipper felt this was an oppertunity for us ( now we had 4 on board again today, jake returned just for today) and we
held our course untill the layline, this was going to be make or break time, but we looked good from the minute they tacked off,
We eventually tacked onto port and started to get a nice little lift to the line, 
The 8 other boats were now all on starboard heading for the finish, but it was obvious that they were not goig to lay the limit mark
and would have to tack again , but by this time we passed just in front of them all, held on for 50 meters untill we knew we could
lay the finish line and then tacked onto starboard and sailed for the limit mark, we knew then we had them all. 
Ohhhhh, such a sweet finish, they may have us with their handicaps, but for us , it was a cracking finish.  Happy BUNNIES again.
We finished 4th over all in our class, and the First Mate " Aileen "  was in flat out racing mode for the day with excitiment written
all over her face.
The dinner and prize giving was at the " The Aquarium " resort, and it was absolutly brilliant, It was dark when we arrived and the
restaurant was located on the edge of the beach, there were lighting torches spread along the shore line and the whole place 
looked and felt madgical.  .................. a group of musicians playing softly in the background. 
Eddie Jordan came to Aillen and introduced himself and his wife, delighted to meet at least one crew from " A Lady"........
the Irish networking again.  He has one of the Big BIG Oysters,   Well done Eddie, 
We had an early night , but actually it was midnight by the time we got back to the boat, 
Today, SATURDAY , we had an early start, Richie richie was off to St.Lucia for the final goodbye night for the World ARC fleeet,
so his taxi for the airport departed Port Louis at 09.30hrs, sad to see him go, we really enjoyed his company for the week, 
and he was really handy on the boat and made a positive contribution to our success. 
Jake could not come either today, so we just had Neil, ( a young english guy, ) so just the 3 of us, a skeliton crew yet again, 
The course was very short with a nice breeze, 15 / 18 knots, a reach 2 miles long followed by three more reaches back and forth
on the same line, 
we started down the line and on time , with most boats up to weather of us, Still we immidiatly got into fine tuning the sails, getting
the maximum power available and walla, we slowely edged our way out from under the fleet and crawled forward into the lead position
and were first around the weather mark, We were all shaking with excitment, however with all the fleet comming down all around
us and being short of hands , we dropped 3 places by the finish, so we were 4th over the finish line, just a few yards behind the leaders.
Still, we were happy with our position, but dissapointed we could not hold the lead , but thats that now,
The final dinner and prize giving is tonight in the Marina restaurant, just a few yards from the boat, so we dont have far to go,
Thats all for now, Skipper has to have a shower.
Signed :-  Stephen Hyde,  ( Skipper )