|Preparing to anchor in Anegada, BVI|
|Fidelity moored near Saba Rock, Virgin Gorda|
After three days spent in our beloved island of St. John, Bob and Debbie picked us up at the National Park dock in Cruz Bay. Given our previous sailing charters, we held fairly high expectations from Bob, Debbie, and Fidelity. It was very clear early in the charter, that our expectations would not only be met, but they would be far surpassed.
Fidelity was in pristine condition and she was our first introduction into a more modern monohull. Our previous monohull experiences were on Morgan Out Island 41's. While these venerable boats made for comfortable conditions and good sailing, they are an older design and much has changed. Fidelity has many of the features I would look for in a yacht to live aboard - huge aft cockpit with a very usable folding table, a "sugar scoop" swim platform at the stern, and a very spacious layout with a nicely comfortable saloon. She was a three cabin, three head layout making her great for chartering. The forward stateroom, which was our accommodation for our week aboard, is the owner's suit complete with en-suite head.
|Our forward stateroom|
Unlike the shallow draft full keeled Morgans I trained on, Fidelity is a fin keel, lighter displacement boat. At the helm there was a tremendous difference in the responsiveness of the boat. While the Morgans felt like a graceful war horse, Fidelity felt more like a tuned sports car. Helm changes were immediate, pinching in heavy wind was easy and I felt very connected with the 46 feet of boat beneath me. On the other hand, the gear and forces behind them were massive. I was awkward and uncoordinated working the sheets and halyards. It had been six months since I had crewed a boat this size and I really struggled to find a rhythm. On our first morning while putting the final tension on the main halyard, a block at the base of the mast failed. I had read about such a failure, but I can assure you reading about it does no justice to seeing it happen first hand. To be honest, it scared the hell out of me - it also reaffirmed how serious this type of gear and the handling of it really is. Throughout the week, I found myself clumsy at times which really shook my confidence. I compare it to the basketball player that hasn't played in some time. In the player's head, he knows his approximate level of play, and with it comes confidence that it will be achieved. When he gets on the court and a pass comes his way, he throws up an air-ball. He hasn't lost that skill, but that level is not immediately at his grasp and it's a shock. That immediate shock is exactly what I went through. Captain Anderson coached me through this, and I'm glad he was there. During our week aboard, we soaked up a lot of knowledge from him.
|Sharon at the helm of Fidelity|
|Preparing to anchor near Little Jost|
|Sunset in Anegada|
Our week aboard with Bob and Debbie was a great way to end our crewed charter experiences. It was horrendously depressing to see it come to an end, but with every end comes a new beginning. This was such a great stepping stone towards our ultimate goal, allowing us to log more hours under a professional while still having a vacation of a lifetime.
|Motoring to pull up the anchor|
|"Crowded" Cow-wreck beach, Anegada|