The Caribbean has enchanted seafarers for thousands of years with its insatiable trade winds and climate that seduces even the hardiest of sailors. Coupled with a beauty that can leave you spell bound both day and night, the British Virgin Islands truly are a magical slice of everything that is right in today’s world.
Thankfully this alternate universe can be accessed by boat or a mere flight from civilization, leading you into a secret mariner’s garden that will lift you into a higher respect for nature. The only problem is the overriding difficulty in leaving such a plac; you may start to contemplate shifting to life under a palm tree.
One way to reach this nautical paradise is through the confident care of ClubSwan, who annually offer Swan yacht owners a reason to travel to one of nature’s most outstanding locations. During the five day event, owners and crew shared with each other their love of sailing and their pride in looking after their personal yachts, or those chartered for the cruise.
The British Virgin Islands are a sailor’s paradise, blessed with aquamarine waters, calm anchorages and deserted coves which have beguiled visitors for centuries. Their charms are no less captivating today, and the majority of visitors to the BVI come to spend time on the crystal waters.
The Rendezvous, which was held from 12th – 17th March 2012 at the Bitter End Yacht Club, is the highlight of the cruising season in the BVI. Amid gorgeous sailing conditions and amazing scenery, the ClubSwan Rendezvous programme offered structured cruising and social occasions organised by Nautor’s Swan, with the option of low key racing between island stopovers.
Nearly twenty Swans ranging from the Swan 44 South Wind to two Swan 62’s Uxorious and Glisse, turned out for the week of fun and light-hearted competition. Participants enjoyed activities that ranged from a hard-fought hors d’oeuvres contest, a cocktail contest and a few ‘fun’ regattas with Steve DeVoe from Jamestown Boat Yard (Jamestown, RI) taking charge of the Race Committee.
The Rendezvous kicked off with a welcome party in the beautiful surroundings of the Bitter End Yacht Club. The racing action started on the first day with a ‘fun’ Laser regatta, won by Chris Brand who was sailing on Merel Four, a Swan 53. On day two the fleet set sail on a passage through the scenic archipelago of islands. This year the route saw them visit the islands of Virgin Gorda, Cooper Island, Jost Van Dyke and Marina Cay.
On day three, the fleet visited Sandy Cay, the idyllic desert island, dotted with palm trees on wide, gently sloping beaches. A day destination, the fleet anchored for lunch, snorkelled in the beautiful coral just off shore and relaxed on the pristine sandy beach.
On day four the Swan fleet converged on Marina Cay, just northeast of Tortola. After an afternoon of snorkeling and diving, dinner was taken ashore at the world famous Pusser’s Landing where a pre-dinner Pusser’s ‘painkiller’ courtesy of Pantaenius was not to be missed.
The Round Virgin Gorda race on the final day was a highly competitive affair. Colin Buffin’s Swan 62, Uxorious, claimed line honours and the Dockwise Yacht Transport Trophy while a Swan 53, Merel Four (chartered for the week by Jonty and Vicki Layfield), won the race on corrected time. At the final dinner and awards ceremony at the Bitter End Yacht Club, the participants enjoyed a lavish seafood buffet.
The Swan Owners Association including Steve De Voe, Dave Fraiser, and President Hank Schmitt gave the Best Maintained Swan Award to Twanette Tharp’s Swan 62, Glisse from the USA.
Jonty Layfield, a Swan owner who chartered for the event, will be back. “Once again we had a great time doing the Rendezvous on the Swan 53. This was our second time and it was nice to meet up with old friends from last year. We will be looking forward to next year’s event.”
Organizer Ettore Mattiello of Nautor’s Swan was equally happy. “The 2012 ClubSwan Caribbean Rendezvous was another successful event for Nautor’s Swan with a complete commitment to enjoyment by both participants and organisers. A full mix of fun racing and socialising with old and new Swan family friends in the warmth of the Caribbean sun and sea made 2012 a great Caribbean Rendezvous year.”
For more information about future ClubSwan events, visit the Fast Track Agency.
ClubSwan 2012 Rendezvous
Photos from the British Virgin Islands and Nautor Swan's ClubSwan Cruising Rendezvous 2012
Sailing conditions in the BVI were delightful for the group of Swan owners who came to the 2012 Rendezvous. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_13-mar-12-j-4767.jpg]370Avocation
Avocation reaches alongside an island during one of the informal port to port races. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_13-mar-12-j-4792.jpg]310Swan bow
Fresh breeze, clear water, sunshine—classic Caribbean sailing. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_14-march-12-g-6636.jpg]230teamwork
Smiles all around from this crew, working together to keep the boat moving well. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_14-march-12-g-6724.jpg]220Affinity and Avocation
Affinity chases Avocation into the shore. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_14-march-12-g-6902.jpg]200fleet at anchor
Each harbor brought a fresh view, but traveling together meant always being with friends. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_16-mar-12-m-7585.jpg]130seafood buffet
The seafood buffet at Bitter End Yacht Club made a fitting end to the five day event. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_17-mar-12-m-7758.jpg]160leeward view
Light air on a few days allowed for more leisurely sailing between islands. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_17-mar-12-m-7825.jpg]180clear water
With clear water and many rocky points to avoid, eyeball navigation was very important. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_17-march-12-g-7281.jpg]140Bitter end overview
Bitter End Yacht Club offered hospitality at the beginning and end of the rendezvous. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_17-march-12-g-7296.jpg]150docking
This crew prepares to tie up for a social event ashore. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_17-march-12-g-8169.jpg]160winning team
The winning team! [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_catch-22-swan-48.jpg]151Catch 22
Catch 22 is a Swan 48 that hails from Marblehead, Massachusetts. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_clover-iii-swan-56-nautor-swan-2012.jpg]140Clover III
Clover III is a Swan 56 with a brilliant red hull. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_clover-iii-swan-56-with-catch-22-swan-48-behind-nautor-swan-2012.jpg]140informal racing
Catch 22 tries to catch Clover III on one of the informal races between islands. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_cocktails-on-the-dock-at-the-beyc.jpg]110BEYC dock cocktails
The Bitter End Yacht Club dock was a fine place to enjoy cocktails and boat gawking. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_crew-at-work-on-catch-22-swan-48.jpg]120Catch 22 crew
The crew on Catch 22 [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_cruising-on-eclipse-swan-46.jpg]110Eclipse Swan 46
Eclipse, a Swan 46, enjoyed the fresh breeze and sunshine. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_shoreside-at-the-bitter-end-yacht-club.jpg]100Bitter End YC
The Bitter End Yacht Club offers countless water toys. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_social-time-with-nautors-swan.jpg]80social
Lots of time was allotted to socializing in each harbor. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_steve-de-voe-pro-leading-the-skippers-briefing.jpg]90Steve De Voe
Steve De Voe was the principal race officer and led the skipper's briefing. [img src=http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/wp-content/flagallery/clubswan-2012-rendezvous/thumbs/thumbs_swan-rendezvous-fleet-leaving-north-sound.jpg]90Rendezvous leaves North Sound
The rendezvous left North Sound on day two.