Mary Lou and I were having breakfast at the Seabreeze Café in sunny English Harbour, Antigua last week looking out at a backdrop of superyachts that would get the attention of any old salt who is kinda keen on boats of all types and sizes. I burned more than a few pixels capturing images of these amazing boats. It was great to see how many ‘ordinary’ people (those not from the superyachts) entered the small dinghy harbour coming off their 36 or 42 or 46 footers anchored in the peaceful waters of English Harbour. They came with their dogs and their recycling. It made me realize that the Antiguan boating experience comes in many different forms… a dream-world surprisingly accessible to those who pursue it.During our travels we were delighted to see NYC represented in different ways. First, among the array of burgees displayed ‘Chart Room style’ around the ceiling of The Rusty Pelican, one of three local eateries within a short walk from the docks. And the second connection for us was a visit to Spitfire, yes, NYC’s own Spitfire, recently launched after a bottom cleaning and in her slip at Catamaran Marina on the far side of Falmouth Harbour. There she awaited skipper and NYC Senior Member Jonathan Bamberger and his intrepid crew to compete in the RORC (Royal Ocean Racing Club) Caribbean 600. Good luck to Spitfire and fair winds during the 600nm non-stop race around no fewer than 11 Caribbean Islands. I suspect that sailors would call this ‘The Bigtime’. On Friday, February 6, I had the pleasure of joining VC Fleet Sandy Steffen and other NYC members at Toronto’s art deco showpiece, The Carlu. The event was the Rolex Sailor-of-the-Year Award dinner. But the bigger excitement of this event for NYC was recognition of the hard work of PRO Dave Sprague, Regatta Chairs Chris Clarke, John Brunt and the late Dave Thomas, as well as their Race Committee team: Janet Geisberger, David Bruyea, Amelia Leeksma, Alexandra Birkenshaw and Helen Philips.
They were honoured for Excellence in Race Management and presented with The Chisholm Trophy for their outstanding work in managing The 2014 Shark World Championship regatta last August.Congratulations to all involved. You have brought honour and recognition to our Club and raised the bar for future teams. Thanks as well to all NYC members who showed their support by attending. I now know (bear with me here and remember I drive a trawler) that this is the time of year when sailors get together to celebrate the accomplishments of the past sailing season. I’ve heard that they have great awards dinners complete with prizes and the doling out of bragging rights for the upcoming year. Regretfully I missed both 2014 LORC and IRC and AHMEN awards nights however, but congratulations to all the winners. So, given it was +25C the day before I wrote this and it feels like -25C right now, I guess it’s back to hunkering down with the groundhogs and wait another six weeks (okay only four now from Willie’s day) until we can start getting on with preparation for another Lake Ontario season. It ain’t Antigua, but we love it all the same. 62 days to go on the hard. Your Commodore Neill MacMillan