Jim Nealon… St. Croix and Sailing

My wife and I sailed into St Croix in December of 2002. We were leaving the uncertainty of the general strike in Venezuela against Mr Chavez.  After three years of cruising the east coast of the US , Bahamas, and eastern Caribbean we had never experienced any episodes of piracy or even petty theft we preferred not to tempt fate, so we split. St Croix was only a 2 ½ day ( and night ) sail in our faithful  44 ft slop , Endymion.

We ultimately settled here (another story), moved ashore and kept Endymon on a mooring in Christiansted Harbor. Weekend trips to Buck I. and the occasional trip to the BVI’s were the extent of our  sailing exercise. I soon became aware that I was making more trips to the boat to fix things than to sail her. Then there was the annual storm season dilemma on where to stash her safely.

Fortunately, over many conversations with a friend at a west end beach bar (known to a few of us as the Sprat Hall Yacht Club, SHYC) and a few strategic recreational day sails, my friend  decided to buy Endymion from me to fulfill his dream of sailing around the world. Coincidentally, this fellow had an abandoned sailboat on a rusty trailer in his back yard which he had no use for , so he donated it to the crew of the SHYC with the proviso that it be quickly removed. The crew and I put the trailer together, evicted the critters living on the boat , and the trees growing in it. Cleaning and repairing followed. Ultimately we had a gleaming white trailerable sailboat ready for launch.  We sailed this 26 ft Igloo cooler with a mast from it the ramp at Frederiksted’s fishermens’ pier to her mooring in front of the Sunset Grill.

Now, a year later the happy little yacht can be seen sailing in the smooth water protected from the tradewind generated seas on the west end of St Croix. It is skippered and crewed by a variety of west end suspects all out for a gentle sailing adventure between Butler Bay and Sandy Point.  For at least a few hours they dream of horizons beyond those sunsets, but they all know that this little yacht stays close to home.