The Kiwis Take Two

The Tioga Sailors get a front row seat to the greatest sailing spectacle.

Last night, Peter and Dave enjoyed a fabulous night of watching the sunset waiting for Captain Philip and John to arrive. Many flight delays in Boston and NY had the Captain and Johns arrival at sunrise this morning. Thanks to a friendly customs officer showing her true Bermudian hospitality- their hitchhiking to Grotto Bay was short lived. Dave left early to catch the photo/press boat and the rest tried to catch up on sleep. We got up and had a quick swim and left for the race. We arrived at the Hamilton Ferry dock only to find the next ferry would not get us to the race in time. Our luck changed when we approached a few Royal Bermuda Yacht Club sailing instructors who were heading to the race in their boat. They grabbed three extra life jackets and we were on our way. The spectator boats lined the course, copters flying over head, giant jumbotrons, and thousands of well healed, semi-sober, Rolex wearing, race fans were everywhere. We arrived just a few minutes before the start, and the major mis-queue by Team Oracle crossing the start line early. The day didn’t get much better for Team Oracle as they lost both match races. After the races we headed for Bone Fish for drinks and to find Uncle Dan – who was entertaining a group of US Coast Guardsman by telling old GI Stories – thankfully it didn’t include the Goat Joke. We then headed to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club for a cold drink! We were awed by their silver trophies and half hull models. We retired to the Cedar Bar in the Club that was relocated from their original location about 85 years ago. Only True sailors would relocate a bar! The Club manager provided us with a little RBYC history. We headed back to Grotto Bay and the waiting Tioga. John was able to get his luggage that was presumed lost at some unknown airport between Boston and Bermuda. Cheese and salami nicely aged on the tarmac. Dave arrived at the dock shortly after and we are now settling in for a cool peaceful nights sleep. Tomorrow we’ll see if Team Oracle can post some sort of comeback.

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Arrival in Bermuda

Is it the turquoise water, the sense of achievement after app. 900 miles of sailing, the America’s Cup catamarans, the rolling hills with the pastel colored houses and their typical white roofs, the history towns like St George’s or the Royal Naval Dockyard radiate, or just the fact that we reached the home of the Dark ‘n Stormies,…?

Either way,
after our exciting Tuna catch the day before, we finally got close enough to our favorite offshore destination, Bermuda, to see the Gibb’s Hill lighthouse in the distance. We connected with Bermuda Harbor Radio,  got approval to enter St George’s harbor through the famous cut at 3am and, as always, were impressed that Customs and Immigration’s would open for just us in the middle of the night.
We found a good spot in the anchorage, dropped off the genoa for repairs the next morning, went sightseeing and shopping in St George’s, visited the White Horse Tavern for a drink and got some diesel before the sail to our mooring in Grotto Bay.

Grotto Bay is the location of the Grotto Bay Resort (where Candice and Dan renewed their wedding vowels last year and the team met Nathan who runs a Catamaran charter company and also a small mooring business) and we were welcomed with open arms. Although we just rented Nathan’s private mooring, were treated as if we were part of the resort, had a nice dinner in one of their restaurants, enjoyed the facilities, their internet and of course the bar at the pool.

While the captain focused on his business work, the crew enjoyed caves, visited Hamilton, took the ferry to the Royal Naval Dockyard, watched the America’s Cup catamarans practice (can you spot Ben Ainsle or Dean Barker on the photos?) and more.

Of course, we had to pay a visit to the Swizzle Inn (which is in walking distance from the resort) to sample the Rum Swizzles (their signature drink), have dinner, leave our names on the ceiling and watch the Captain publicly confirming that he was Spartacus (as part of the nightly entertainment games that were organized by an energetic musician who sent a Viking Helmet through the audience).

A perfect leg came to a perfect end.
We’ll be back to Bermuda soon to continue our journey…