Bermuda Bermuda, she always has a curve ball to throw at the yachts that are visiting here. This morning was a completely different place to the sunny Bermuda that we are used to. There were a lot of arrivals early this morning and by the time Customs was due to open at 0800 we had 12 ARC rally boats on anchor. This was the best place to keep them though as the winds in the harbour started to pick up. Bermuda Radio issued a gale warning and what began as a 15-20 breeze out of the SW soon turned into a steady 30-35 with gusts into the 40's.
For those that had entered the Town Cut and were at anchor they had got in very shortly before the worst of it, Rally Control managed to deliver some cold Dark N' Stormy cans, courtesy of Gosling's Rum, by dinghy (a very wet dinghy!) to all the new arrivals and asked them to standby. It really was a challenging couple of hours as even under blue skies the winds held strong. There were a few boats that dragged anchor, non rally and rally boats, a fouled prop and even Mahe 3 coming in under tow from Bermuda Yacht Services in the height of the winds. Unfortunately a non rally boat dragged anchor and is now heeled over high on the rocks inside the harbour, those close by said they were so concentrating on their own situations onboard that it was hard to see exactly what happened.
There was no sense in moving anyone to the Customs dock and people held tight until just after lunchtime by which point the boats could come alongside to clear in and then proceed to either the Town Docks or the Dinghy Club where the rally boats are.
By the time the evening rolled around the sun was shining, winds had backed around to the North and it was time for some welcome drinks at the Dinghy Club. No sooner had everyone got a Dark N Stormy then the sound of loud drumming and whistling came through and everyone gathered to see what the noise was. In come the traditional Gombey dancers who entertained everyone for a good 20 minutes with their very energetic dance routines. The youngest of the group is just 5 years old and they were full of beans keeping the whole ARC crowd smiling.
There was also a great BBQ on the balcony tonight in aid of a local Bermuda charity, all in all a very fun evening which again makes you appreciate where you are. It's true that you appreciate a place more when you have to work so hard to get there and this is true for sailing to Bermuda. 850 miles, countless night watches, shooting stars, turtles:)