Captain’s Log: Tacking Taco Tuesdays
The boat: Sweet and Salty, a 2018 FP Helia 44’
Crew: Captain JT Quinn
ASA Students: Brandon, George, Reena, Michael
Courses Completed: ASA 101 (Basic Keel Boat), ASA 103 (Basic Coastal Cruising), ASA 104 (Bareboat Cruising), ASA 114 (Cruising Catamaran),
Day 1: A Full First Day
This crew wasted no time in starting their sailing adventure! After a quick run through of the boat’s systems from the dockhand, the group set sail. Brandon and George joined this cruise to gain the ASA certifications they need to bareboat in Greece this summer. Reena and Michael are looking to expand their catamaran sailing skills. The fact that everyone onboard has sailing experience is quickly made clear to Captain JT! They breeze through the Current Cut, hoisting the mainsail and then unfurling the jib. As they rounded the corner north of St. John, the crew was quick to put up two reefs. With 22 knot winds, the day went by quickly and before they knew it, the crew had already sailed into Maho Bay with plenty of time to swim with the turtles and take a dinghy ride to the beach!
Day 2: Tacking Taco Tuesdays
The crew woke up ready to take on the day’s challenge– tacking all the way up the Narrows! They worked on dialing in sail trim and using the traveler to improve performance to windward, making 7.5 knots about 40 degrees off the wind. Who says catamarans can’t point to wind? Each crew member took the helm and rotated between traveler and jib duties. The crew’s hard work and great communication paid off— by afternoon they found themselves as the only boat in the bay in Lameshur Bay! A little piece of paradise all to themselves as well as some delicious tacos to finish off the day. The crew decided to affectionately refer to this day as tacking taco Tuesdays!
Day 3: A Well Oiled Machine
By day 3, this crew was really getting in the swing of things and learning how to work well together. George discovered the secret to putting a smile on everyone’s face in the morning was to make his special hashbrowns for all to share! After a delicious breakfast, the crew made their passage plan for Magens Bay, a 21 mile journey. During their sail, the crew timed their jibes perfectly, and before they knew they were through Middle Passage and just a jibe or two from entering Magens Bay! Before mooring, the group went over anchoring procedures and each took turns dropping anchoring, weighing anchor, operating the windlass, and setting up the bridle. The crew functioned like a well oiled machine and by evening, they settled down to enjoy the sunset together and eat a hearty chicken dinner.
Day 4: Swapping Stories
The crew spent the 4th day aboard Sweet and Salty making their way back east to St. John. More specifically, they had their sights set on Caneel Bay. The weather was beautiful and they were able to heave-to, reef the mainsail, and tack their way to their destination. They found a great mooring spot directly in front of Honeymoon Bay. The group made dinner reservations on-shore and had a wonderful evening swapping stories of sailing in San Francisco Bay, making Atlantic crossings, and experiencing the joys of boat ownership.
Day 5: Enjoying the Waters
After a stretch of long sailing days, the crew decided they were ready to have more of a “lazy” morning. They slept in a bit and then headed to Lovango Cay to snorkel. Within a few minutes of jumping in the water they group had already seen a shark, squid, and even an underwater sculpture! Afterwards, the crew was ready to set sail. They hoisted the main, unfurled the jib, and set sail for Christmas Cove.
Day 6: Farewell to Friends
The crew enjoyed a final swim at Christmas Cove and then made their way back to Compass Point Marina. George took the helm through a very narrow, shallow channel and impressed the whole crew on their last day! After docking, the crew became somber— not quite ready to say goodbye. However, they made their promises that this would not be the last time they sailed together. Through this trip they had made sailing friends for life!