Soper's Hole BVI - 1994

Lukes
Antares Sailing

David and I have had a very active year. I can’t remember when I wrote you last so I will start out in the fall of 1993 when we delivered the 54’ Alden, JESSIE, from Norfolk to St. Thomas. David has been the captain of this yacht since it was built in 1989 and it is now on it’s second owner. Because he wanted to keep it in BVI waters for the winter of 93’ and the spring of ‘94, we were asked to deliver it. We chose to enter the Caribbean 1500, which is a marvelous rally for all cruising boats coming down to the Caribbean for the winter. There were 63 yachts entered. For insurance reasons they call themselves a rally instead of a race, but it is definitely a RACE. We took as crew the three guys from the winning yacht the year before. It was well worth it. Eight days and twenty-two hours later we arrived at Crown Bay Marina in St. Thomas capturing first place and setting a record for time. It was great fun but my body is getting too old for that type of stuff--just a couple of days too long at sea for me.
In December JESSIE’S owners, Orren and Tina Pickell, decided that they wanted to spend Christmas in Grenada with their children. My roommate from my freshman year in college, Glenda, was here visiting at the time. Although she had never sailed, we took her and one of my best friends from the islands, Daralyn, and had a perfectly great sail to Grenada. This only took four days and we had beautiful
weather and winds. David had to come back to work so Glenda and I stayed in Grenada for ten days and explored the island. We loved it. She then returned to her home in Boulder and I came back to our home in Frenchman’s Cay where we entertained 28 sailors from the Caribbean 1500 for Christmas dinner on our deck. They all brought something delicious to share and I must say that it was one of our most memorable Christmases ever.
1994 brought many changes in our household. In January David decided to resign as General Manager of Frenchman’s Ship Yard. He had been there for a year and a half and although he loved the work and the responsibility, a better opportunity came his way. He was asked to be a Marine Broker for BVI Yacht Sales (formerly Nanny Cay Yacht Sales). This he accepted and continues to do. It allows him much more freedom as he still has time for yacht deliveries.
He took JESSIE to Antigua Race Week in March with Orren and six of his high school buddies, now all in their forties. If that wasn’t a blast. I went down to join them and help deliver the boat back to Tortola. They had never seen French Topless Sailors. They were so funny “ooohing and ahhhhhhing”
In May David, Orren and I took JESSIE to Georgetown, Exhumas. This was a downwind trip and was delightful. The Coast Guard was out in full force due to the embargoes of both Haiti and Cuba and enjoyed buzzing us in their helicopters and on the VHF. We took out the largest U.S. flag we had, which measures 4’ x 6’ and flew it, knowing they would then leave us alone. They did.
In June I went to work as a writer for the Nautical Scene, a BI-monthly newspaper devoted to Sailors and Yachtspeople from Ft. Lauderdale to Venezuela. I am the correspondent from the BVI and absolutely love reporting. I cover all of the races and have the license to write on anything I choose without editing or censorship. Right up my alley. I also became the secretary for BVI Yacht Sales so I spend my days in air-conditioning and with boats. Also right up my alley. Because of the fact that our house was then located too far from Nanny Cay, where the office is located, we moved onto our boat ANTARES and put it in a slip right in front of the office. This was a very wise decision as it saves us time, money and generates many more sales as we are always close by.
I enjoyed a wonderful delivery back from St. Maarten in September. I flew over and joined my friends, Matt and Claire. We ate and partied, partied and ate and then brought back their new 48’ Jean Tote Catamaran for charter at the Moorings. It was a very enjoyable week.
On October 2, David and I left for the U.S. where we spent a whirlwind seven weeks. We rented a “95 Bonneville that was loaded for only $80.00 a week with 7 miles on it. 7,000 miles later we had covered all of the outer islands of Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina. We had attended the Annapolis Boat Show where we donated our time and expertise to the BVI Tourist Booth, attended the start of the 94’ Caribbean 1500 in Hampton, Va., explored Cape Cod and visited with all of our many friends on the Eastern Shore.
David’s oldest daughter, Diane, was married in New Hampshire so we were there for a week for all of the festivities and the wedding (of course he was “Father of the Bride”) which was lovely. There is nothing more beautiful than the North East in the fall when the leaves turn hundreds of colors. It is breathtakingly beautiful. We had a wonderful time with his family also.
Orren and Tina had invited us to be their guests and to cruise the Bahamas with them for a week on JESSIE. We truly had one of the most enjoyable sails ever. We snorkeled and sailed each day; drinking and eating well at night. They brought along a close friends of theirs, Judy and Pat, and we all six hit it off famously. We then took JESSIE to the marina in Palm Beach, went to the Breakers for Halloween Night, let Judy and Pat off to catch a plane and motored down the Intercoastal Waterway from Palm Beach to Ft. Lauderdale. This was really an experience for me as I had never been exposed to the type of massive opulence that exists on that waterway in reference to both the homes and the yachts---and I mean yachts--mega, mega, mega yachts. From Donald Trump’s LARGO to the canals in Lauderdale, it was all just too much.
We then took JESSIE to one of the lovely municipal marinas. Orren and Tina headed back to Chicago and we worked on her. We attended the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show and marveled at the difference between the Newport, Annapolis and Ft Lauderdale shows. Not enough sailing yachts in Florida. Little did we know that Tropical Storm Gordon would shortly arrive and alter our plans for returning to the islands. David didn’t feel that he could leave the yacht so we stayed throughout the three day storm. The rain was unbelievable--17” in two days. We were stranded on the boat at all times as a high tide put the docks some three feet under water and getting off of the boat was impossible. We finally made it back to Tortola on November 19.
As we were doing major construction on ANTARES, I took advantage of an opportunity to do a delivery on a Whitby 42’ to St. Lucia and then on the Bequia in the Grenadines. This I really enjoyed as I had never been to Bequia and it is delightful--small, quaint, and friendly. One of the best islands I have visited yet. I returned home two days before Christmas---just in time to get David ready for his “gig” as Santa Clause for Pusser’s on Christmas Eve. We partied hearty until “95 and then went on a diet.!
My younger son Greg, his wife Helen, and my adorable granddaughter, Lauren, arrived for a ten day visit on Jan 11, the day before my 55th birthday. To celebrate both their arrival and five and 1/2 decades on the planet, we threw a Dock Party to end all parties. We had a huge sheet cake and Lauren managed to get all 55 candles, plus one for good luck, on the cake. There were presents and food and friends, all of the ingredients to make it one of the most memorable nights of my life.
The next day, not too early of course, we left for a week’s sail throughout the BVI on ANTARES. We had a truly wonderful time. David and Greg hit it off well as they are both captains and love engines and the water. I enjoyed Lauren to the max and Helen is like the daughter I never had. I was very let down when they left.
It is now the beginning of February. Our good friends from Maine, the Lukes, are here for a week and then David’s two youngest children come for their winter break. We will take them sailing for a week also as they love the water. All in all it’s not a bad life for a couple in their “golden years”.
We think of you often and wish you the very best in health, happiness and prosperity for 1995. Have a wonderful year and let us hear from you.

Fondly, Nancy & Dave

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