Wednesday, January 26, 2005

"The Flyer" in St. Croix.

This is a boat with a history...

I thought of it because, well, the weather sucks right now. I took this boat on a trip to the Buck Island reefs off the coast of St. Croix. I was sitting on the deck (there's no room below for anything except our bags and the lifejackets) and some other sarcastic passengers from MA (natch) started asking questions about the construction, which looked a bit homegrown. ("What are we doing, like 2 knots?" And that was with the wind behind us.)

The Flyer been hand-built from a DIY kit by a doctor in France. The mast was in the wrong spot and it had difficulty sailing into the wind. Monsieur Le Medecin Bad Boat Builder got transferred to the Caribbean and didn't want to leave his little project behind, so he convinced 10(!) friends(!) of his to sail(!) it across the Atlantic for him(!), without any motor. We blanched at the idea of storing enough food for 10, let alone where they would all have slept and with sailing into the wind being a distinct possibility as you head west from France. Apparently it was a brutal trip, they ran out of food, and took way longer than expected. I don't know if any of them are still friends, or if anyone got eaten on the trip.

A few years later, he was transferred back to France. He left it behind this time. "La Vache" was probably the French name, although that detail is sadly gone from the story. It really would have made it perfect for me.

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