St. George’s is a lovely quaint town which used to be the capital of Bermuda. It has lots of history and it’s great to wonder around and read the information plagues and follow the trails.
The main square has free wifi and most sailors seem to gather with computers, iPads or phones to connect to the outside world. We exchanged wifi codes with others and compared where the best speeds could be found. One girl who was boat hopping her way back home and about to leave for the Azores happily shared the local knowledge she had gained while she had been on the island. There was an immediate sense of community not just within the visiting sailors but the locals have been fantastically welcoming and helpful here.
Bermuda is made up of lots of islands joined together by roads and an old railway track. It is divided into nine parishes. Everyone is happy, perhaps because they have the highest per capita income in the world!
We walked across the tip, to gorgeous beaches and views. We snorkeled, picnicked and came back for ice cream!
The next day we ventured into Hamilton on the bus. A system where the price is calculated on the number of zones you go through to your destination. You purchase a token at a participating shop for the fare which is cheaper than paying on the bus. Alternatively you need the exact money if paying on the bus.
It was great to see more of the islands during the journey and arriving in the busy bustling city of Hamilton felt like we could have been in England with red pillar boxes etc. We collected our Americas Cup spectator boat flags and checked out facilities ahead of arriving here by boat later. Sampling a ‘Dark and Stormy’ in a bar with Goslings rum, as Bermuda is the home of the cocktail, felt like a must do!
After a few days in St. George’s resting, washing and exploring the East end of the island we did a last shop in the supermarket in St. George’s called Sommers, which offers us a 5% discount on our groceries as a visiting yacht. Worth asking for if we visit again. Then we sailed around to Hamilton so that we were ready for the start of the racing. We also wanted to find a sheltered anchorage before some forecast windy weather was due to come through the next day.
We chose a likely spot in the designated anchorage but before we could settle in, a local launched his rib and came to see us, not to say that we could not anchor in front of his house, but to welcome us and impart local knowledge about the forecast, and the best sheltered place to be in the harbour. After exchanging telephone numbers and with the invitation for a beer later in the week we moved to Hinson’s Island, or ‘Cat Alley’ as we got to know it as, since it was the designated anchorage for the charter cats, which was a lovely spot to hide from the wind.
We were with friends on Nisida, and decided to leave one boat anchored and take the other out for the racing each day. We soon fell into a pattern leaving the anchorage at midday, sussing out the race area for the best place to view from and having lunch on board before the racing started.
Although not competing in the racing , no guess as to who started the sweepstake for the challenger series then the finals picking the results each day and culminating in prizes of Rum and Wine!
Whilst we watched from the boats most days, on Friday 2nd June we headed for the AC village to sample the racing from ashore and to get a close up of the boats. It provided a great atmosphere and well worth doing but not the same as being alongside the race course on the water.
The event was amazing, the locals incredibly friendly and we had a ball. We got to know the locals at Sandy Boat Club and met people who were supporting the race teams or involved with running the event such as the super yacht course marshal who invited us to the race area with the other ‘super’ yachts the following morning. Basically it was a six week party and one that will always be very close to our hearts. The 36th America’s Cup will be held in the southern hemisphere in the AC75, a fully foiling monohull in March 2021. The organisers will have to do something very special to match Bermuda.
We went to the top of the lighthouse, walked part of the disused railway, swam and snorkeled off the external reef, went underground to see the crystal caves, learnt about the rain water capture from the roofs, climbed and explored several old forts, danced in the streets with the Gombeys. We had visitors on board for short trips and meet and made some great friends. We also learnt to paddleboard, so now we need to buy our own! And tried to kitesurf but had more success with the board as a wakeboard!
All too soon it came to an end. We wished friends a safe trip as we all headed off in different directions. Many back to Europe and ourselves and others, North to the USA for the summer.