Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Flowers at Bitter End Yacht Club

I don't think anybody goes to the Bitter End YC purely to look at the flowers.  But there is no doubt that the flowering shrubs on the property add a special something to the experience of a vacation there. The best flowers are to be found at the south end of the resort, where the shrubs are somewhat sheltered from the NE trade winds which whistle around the villas at the north end and dry out the soil too much for many flowering plants to thrive there. 

Here are just nine of the photos that Tillerwoman took of the flowers at BEYC this month.

How many can you identify?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Where the boat comes in...

When we go to Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda, we fly to Puerto Rico and then to Beef Island on Tortola. From there we take the high speed North Sound Ferry to BEYC, a ride of 30 minutes or so depending on whether the ferry has to make any other stops on the way.

We always seem to arrive at Beef Island with a couple of hours to kill before the next ferry.

This is absolutely no problem.

There's a little bar by the ferry dock where you can have a bite to eat and a couple of cold beers while you are waiting for the ferry. The specials menu is on a blackboard under a palm tree. Chickens are running around the place (although they seemed to be camera shy this year.)

A perfect spot to chill out and adjust to "island time."

Sunday, December 28, 2014

What Am I Up To Now? (With 10 Clues.)

This weekend I tried a new sport…

1. I have never done this before in my life.

2. I did it with one of my sons. He had done it before.

3. I wasn't very good at it.

4. But I had this feeling that with a little tuition and a lot more more practice, I might one day be good enough to enjoy doing this.

5. After two sessions, I looked up the sport on the Interwebs and discovered I had been doing some of the basic things totally wrong. Duh! My son didn't even tell me. Bad boy!!!

6. There's an element of danger if you don't follow some basic safety rules.

7. it doesn't require quite as much equipment and special clothing as sailing does.

8. This sport has a combination of tradition and technology - a bit like sailing.

9. It's a sport at the World Masters Games. Woo hoo! If I work at it I could be a masters world champion! (Let's face it. I'm never going to be a world masters champion at Laser sailing.)

10. One of the bloggers I follow has been trying it recently too.

Can you guess what sport it was?

If I took up this sport on a regular basis, I would probably want to blog about it. What would be a good title for such a blog?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Find What You Love And Let It Kill You

"Find what you love and let it kill you. Let it drain you of your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness. Let it kill you and let it devour your remains.

For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover."

I found this quote the other day. It is often attributed to Charles Bukowski, but like the "Eric Clapton owns the Blue Guitar" meme it seems to be one of those things that nobody can definitively pin down and it is hotly disputed on various forums.

It seems very dark. Especially if you interpret it as an invitation to kill yourself in overindulgence on alcohol or drugs or Big Macs.

But I embrace it in the spirit of the original motto of this blog, "Cheat the nursing home. Die on your Laser!"

But maybe these quotes don't really mean what they seem to mean? After all, I was accused by some of my readers of being too literal when I drew attention to a gross inaccuracy in that famous JFK quote about blood chemistry being the cause of our love for the sea.

Maybe the references to death are just metaphors for "give it your all." I'm not good with metaphors.

Truth is, although I am passionate about my Laser sailing, I don't work hard enough at it (or at getting really fit enough to sail a Laser well) to be anything other than a mediocre mid-fleet sailor. And I certainly don't work hard enough at Laser sailing to kill myself doing it.

A better quote to describe my attitude to Laser sailing would be this one from George Burns…

"I'd rather be a failure in something that I love than a success in something that I hate."

To all my northern hemisphere readers… Happy Winter Solstice!

The days start getting longer next week.

Friday, December 19, 2014


When the wind dies, will the RS Aero owner be the first sailor back to the club bar?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Blue Guitar - A Quiz

Today I have a quiz for you - with a difference.

When we were at Bitter End YC earlier this month, this boat was anchored there.

The Blue Guitar was also at BEYC when we were there last year.

In both years we were told by other guests that it was Eric Clapton's boat. But we never saw Eric Clapton. The only non-crew member we saw from the boat was a lady about our age who came over in a launch to BEYC a few times, apparently to walk on the trails there.

And here's the quiz part. It's all about how you decide what information you can trust on the Internet. I was reading a book a few months ago that said that one of the most important skills we can teach children today is to know how to verify sources, especially on the Internet. We are almost at the point where you can find any fact you want on the Internet. But can you trust everything you find there? And what do you do if there is conflicting information?

You will find many sources on the Internet which support the fact that the Blue Guitar is Eric Clapton's boat. You will also find other sources which say that Eric's boat is actually this boat, the motor yacht Va Bene.

You will find at least one source that claims Eric Clapton owns both the Va Bene and the Blue Guitar.

And you will find at least one source that names other people as the owners of the Blue Guitar.

So what's going on?  Should I believe what I was told - that the Blue Guitar is Eric Clapton's boat?

Have a dig around on the Interwebs yourself and tell me what you think. But I don't just want a yes or no answer. I want to understand your reasoning. Why should I believe some things I find on the Internet about the Blue Guitar and disbelieve others?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Red Wine and Duct Tape

Just got back from 10 days at the Bitter End YC in the BVI where I ate too much, drank too much... and sailed, kayaked, paddle-boarded, swam, hiked, ran and stargazed just the right amount.

While I was there, someone told me the secret about the difference between men and women that has eluded me these last 66 years...

Women think red wine will fix everything.

Whereas men think duct tape will fix everything.

I never knew.

I think I'll open a bottle of red wine now.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


The next America's Cup will be held in Bermuda.

What a brilliant choice!

A natural amphitheater.

Excellent winds.

And it's British.

What more could you ask for?

And if you're still not convinced, read what Charles Doane - a much better writer and a much better sailor than me - has to say about this decision on his blog Wave Train.

Why Not Bermuda?

"We should just kick back and savor the madness…"

Monday, December 01, 2014

Best Sailing Blog on the Planet of 2014

Some years I have published a list of the top ten (or approximately ten) of my favorite sailing blogs of the year.

Some years I haven't.

It's tough to choose only ten blogs, balancing the wishes to include old favorites while recognizing promising newcomers.

Not to mention that inclusion on my top ten list has usually been the kiss of death for at least three blogs on the list which have been abandoned by their authors within a few months.

So this year I am dong something a bit different.

I am announcing that one blog, a relatively new blog, is the undisputed Best Sailing Blog on the Planet of 2014.

Pause for fanfare…


And the winner is…

by Damian

I could give you a long list of all the excellent posts that Damian has written this year. But please go and browse the blog yourself. There's excellent advice on how to be a better sailor. There are thought-provoking series of posts about important issues in our sport like how clubs can retain younger members and the ethics of protests. There's humor. There's poetry. There's sports psychology. There's a guest post by an Oppie Mum and hilarious advice on boat maintenance.

If I wasn't already writing a sailing blog, I think Damian's writing in the last year would inspire me to start one.

And so many times I have read one of Damian's posts and thought, "I wished I could write a post as good as that."

Subscribe to The Final Beat. Sign up to get it by email. Follow it. Read it. Leave comments.

It's the best sailing blog on the planet.

RS Aero at Carnac

RS AERO Carnac by voile-magazine

I can't get enough of RS Aero porn.

Especially when it's French porn.

I think I'll have a cold shower now.