The Caribbean is a film-makers paradise and you can sail to many of the locations where some of the great box office hits were shot in recent years. Our senior writer Carol Bareuther put on her critic’s cap and came up with a fun feature listing the Caribbean beaches, harbors, islands, buildings and wrecks that for a few moments in time changed their appearance and became part of movie magic. This is probably the only time in the history of All At Sea that we carry a photograph of movie super star Johnny Depp and I have to say he looks right at home in the Caribbean. Can I lay claim to movie fame? Well, I did once work on the fishing boat that featured in the 1980s sci-fi/romantic comedy Cocoon. It didn’t get me a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame but I certainly drank plenty of rum with the crew.
The 2015/16 regatta season has to be one of the most exciting and interesting on record. Boats are sailing faster, crews are sharper, classes are being extended, and retired classes reinstated. As race boats become more extreme, so regattas have to keep pace and organizers must listen to what racing sailors want. And sailors are not shy at coming forward with demands. Racing teams know that with so many regattas to choose from, and money to spend, they can drive the changes. In the main, this is a good thing and the regatta scene is fresher this year than ever before. The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta made changes to the way they start races, tweaked the courses and brought back a Beach Cat class to great success. The St. Thomas International Regatta featured VX One Class monohulls for the first time and who will ever forget the sight of Lloyd Thornburg and Brian Thompson aboard Phaedo3, hulls flying, blazing their way around the Caribbean circuit and around every course, smashing or setting records at an alarming and exciting rate. Even the regatta parties have ramped up the action and now stage jaw-dropping extravaganzas and feature world class acts. Speaking to some of the winners leaving the stage after one awards ceremony I was told that not everyone is enamored by the speed at which many of these changes are being introduced. This is a sentiment echoed by some organizers who feel they are caught in a spiral in which they are compelled to perform, improve and prosper or see their regatta sink in the ratings. Twenty first century regatta management is not for the faint of heart.
In our April edition we included two pages of new products and I was heartened by the response, so much so that we have decided to make this a regular feature. I love looking at new gizmos even if I have difficulty understanding the hi-tech electronics that seem to be a prerequisite on any boat that goes to sea. Boat shows are wonderful for people like me because I can peruse all the new gear, sometimes hands-on, without actually having to buy it. The London Boat show was my favorite annual jaunt back in the days when sailing in frigid water and endless gales (I’m talking about English summer) was all I knew. After three days of traipsing around the show, booth holders would get that ‘oh no, here he comes again’ glazed look on their faces and dash away for an urgent toilet break.
What amuses me at boat shows is how easy it is to spot the salesperson from the real sailors working the booths. At the Miami boat show, one salesman knew so little about boats that finally I asked if he’d ever thought of selling used cars for a living. “Do you need one?” he asked, pulling out a business card.
I shoveled up my brochures and headed for the bar.
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