This was not the type of regatta to which I'd grown accustomed in the States—short, windward-leeward races, serious teams, strict adherance to the Racing Rules of Sailing, Jimmy Buffet cover band in the tent—and it took me a few days to get in stride with the pace. The event features three-days of buoy-racing for everything from windsurfers and beach cats to sportboats and racer/cruisers, mostly well-worn varieties of the latter and all, excluding a container of F18 catamarans shipped from the Netherlands, sailed by local crews. We weren't going to be engaging in any tacking duels. In fact, given the length of the course and the speed differentials in our division, we weren't going to be seeing much of the competition at all. But as I learned to let go of my expectations and witnessed the supreme level of fun, and competitive fulfillment, racers were experiencing on this odd, trapezoidal racecourse off this unheralded Caribbean island, I had a realization: the style fit the scene perfectly.
As Queen of Hearts left Annabai for the afternoon race, a high-pitched voice rang out from the crowd on shore. A teenage girl waved her arms, yelling, "Louis! Good luck, Louis!"