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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dwarfed by MegaYachts


A few of the early show megayachts, taken from our loaner
dinghy in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua.

From Journey’s cockpit in Antigua’s Falmouth Harbour, we watched the megayachts (click here Wikipedia for megayacht definition) gliding in, sleek, spotless, twinkling with lights and the latest electronics.  It’s impossible not to ogle; they’re really, really big.  Starting at a minimum of 24 meters (79 feet) in length, YachtingCrew.com emphasizes, “Some people think they are simply big yachts but no different from any other yacht apart from size. They're wrong.  Superyachts are in a different world.”

Antigua ‘s economy is fueled by tourism and megayachts ostentatiously add their contribution Wikipedia notes “Antigua is one of the main ports in the Windward Islands of the Caribbean] and hosts a Charter Show at the beginning of the winter season.” The Charter Show is starting here this Sunday, December 2nd.  While only about 100 many of the estimated 10,000 mega yachts worldwide converge for the show, it’s certainly a far cry from many places where ours is the sole boat at anchorage in a wilderness, or even, often, just outside capital cities, like Fort Du France, Martinique.

Megayachts' electric night lights under
a nimbus moon.  Please pardon my camera's
slow shutter speed and the swell....
We estimate the bigger mega yachts here are about 150 feet long.  That may not seem like that big a deal until you get how much exponentially a boat’s mass typically increases with its length. Comparatively, we’re flies on their windshield, shacks encroaching on an emerald city.  Snapping photos of these behemoths from our little 36.5 foot sailboat, or from the 12 foot dinghy we’re borrowing, just doesn’t do them justice, or adequately capture their grandeur.

Journey, our sailboat is the little boat
in the foreground as seen from the
hiking trail between  Fort Berkeley an
Pigeon Beach.
We have no regrets in choosing to go small and simple for a long sail, rather than a tease well beyond our means (megayachts can be charted for up to 1 million Euros a week).  Yet, we’d love to sneak a closer peak at how the rich and famous live.  With a $350 entrance fee effectively keeping riff-raff like us out, we’ll just enjoy the evening mini-Vegas light show shining from the megayacht masts. Then, we’ll push off into a quiet shallow anchorage they’d never be able to approach.

Jolly Harbour sunset a few days before the Charter Show.
We anchored in 9 feet, next to fellow cruiser friends
Scott & Kim Dickenson's sailboat (in silhouette).
Meanwhile, we still share the same glorious sunrises and sunsets, and they’re pretty awesome no matter what cockpit you’re watching from.