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Sailing with Charlie with Regatta

Charlie's been out training with a select crew of keen amateurs in the hopes of glory at the next BVI Spring Regatta's prize giving. Charlie has been given an older Beneteau 43 to compete in the jib and main class. "We're going to scrape the barnacles off the bottom, pump out all the water, patch the old bagged-out sails and remove all the unnecessary heavy gear like bilge pumps, boom, life raft …" he trailed off.

"What's the crew like?" asked Joe, a fellow competitor.

"Oh yeah," he said with enthusiasm, "I've signed up Cynthia, Sin for short, and Virginia, and no she's not. They're both well endowed and don't mind sailing topless; should be a distraction if anyone can get near us. Then I've got a cabin boy to handle the cold beers and an old handicapped guy, George, for tactics."

"Tactics eh," said Joe, "care to share any secrets?"

Charlie looked at him askance for a few seconds and then whispered conspiratorially. "Get the competition royally drunk at the pre-race party. The girls are good at that. Then, during the race, George'll have a pocket full of shackles. If anyone gets near us he'll throw one up in their mains'l. When it clatters onto their deck it should create a panic."

"Sounds like you're in it more for fun than actually competing."

"Of course," said Charlie, "it's all about the fun. Who cares about a silly trophy?"

It wasn't long before the news of Charlie's campaign was all over the island, Joe being something of a tattle tale. Sage skippers nodded wisely, Charlie would be an 'also ran'. But it was a surprise to the fleet when later all the boats were jockeying for position at the start of the first race. Charlie's boat was immaculate; the bottom was so clean it looked like it had been polished. The sails were brand new and a crack crew of about ten guys was running around adjusting, trimming and tweaking.

As Charlie came up alongside Joe, Cynthia popped her head up out of the companionway and gave him a merry wave. As they crossed the start Joe was looking at their stern and it stayed that way for the whole race. The name on the transom that Joe will never forget was Sea Ya!

Nothing like lulling the opposition into a state of complacency.

Julian Putley is the author of 'The Drinking Man's Guide to the BVI', 'Sunfun Calypso', and 'Sunfun Gospel'.

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