SY Marie, (sometime) resident of The Exumas.

It’s Sunday morning and a beautiful day here in Essex and I am not sailing or even on the water.  Not yet anyway as I am planning to do a bit of sailing later with my son Christoper on one of the Essex Yacht Club’s Ideal 12 day sailor boats. As usual, I am thinking about sailing.  Pandora’s coming along and soon I will begin re-caulking all of the port lights with the hope of arresting some of the leaks that have been plaguing me over the last year.  Fortunately, the leaks from what I think are the ports, are behind the scenes and no water shows up in the cabin.  However, I know that the leaks are there and need to be fixed as some water is seeping down into lockers.  Let’s hope that’s where it’s coming from as removing hardware from the cabin top will be a lot more complicated and I’d prefer not to deal with that.  Enough of boat keeping drivel for now.  I’d prefer to think about our next trip to the Bahamas.

Speaking of the Bahamas, when we were there last winter, we visited a really great anchorage in the Exumas chain, called Compass Cay.  This is one island in the chain and is home to a number of privately owned islands including one owned by a guy Ed Borsarge, PhD.  I mention him in particular as I saw a profile about him in a magazine ShowBoats International’s June issue.  Most issues include a profile of someone who owns a massive yacht.  Unfortunately, most are just puff pieces about some gold chain festooned rich guy with more money than taste.  However,  it seems that Dr. Borsarge, while he must have vast wealth, is also a guy who seems to have taste that is proportional to his finances.

For several days I have been trying to find a way to write about one of his yachts, a lovely, huge, ketch Marie but have been struggling on how to make it more than a piece about a big boat.  It seems that the good doctor, who’s actually a PhD in physics and math or some such thing, is involved with a museum out of Texas called the Texas Flying Legends.  This museum, which he supports, has an impressive collection of flyable WWII airplanes that tour the country to put on airshows.  I am particularly interested in this because I grew up with a father that loves the planes of this period.  So, what better way to frame a post than to combine a mix of sailing and flying with a dash of The Bahamas tossed in for good measure.

So, I learned that Dr. B owns the island Over Yonder Cay in the Exumas.  I made the connection because of a reference in the article that he owned an island in the Bahamas that is powered by wind and solar, something that we saw almost no evidence of last winter.  You would think that alternative energy would be very popular where there is nearly unlimited wind and sun and there is plenty of both in the Bahamas.  However, there are no tax incentives to support alternative energy in the Bahamas as there as there are in the US.  I also was told by someone that hurricane damage is not covered by most insurance policies so owners just don’t invest in alternative energy as they fear that their installations will just blow away in the next hurricane.  That’s a shame as the wind is nearly always strong and sunny days are the norm.

Pandora gets all of her house power for charging the batteries and making water from solar so we hardly ever have to run our generator to bring up the batteries.  In any event, his island is totally powered by renewable energy with so much left over that they make something like 20,000 gallons of water per day through reverse osmosis.  The wind turbines he has installed on this island are huge, hundreds of feet tall, the sort that you generally see electric utilities put in place, not individual owners.  The “compound” and an amazing facility it is, is available for “charter”.  The island has it’s own website.  It’s worth checking out. There’s a promotional video that’s interesting as well.  People having fun.  Actually, that would be well heeled people having fun.  You might be wondering what it costs to stay there.  As they say, “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it”.

His biggest yacht, Marie is relatively new and constructed at the Vitters Ship Yard in the Netherlands a few years ago.  Check out the yard’s information about Marie.  She is truly spectacular with her massive red spinnaker.  You can’t miss her in the fleet.  This video was shot in St Barts, in the Caribbean during one of the “Bucket regattas”.  I believe that the “bucket” is a bucket with ice and champagne that is awarded to the winner of the regatta.  Enjoy the tour of Marie.  As Dr. B is so supportive of the flying museum that he was able to arrange for an air show at the 2011 Bucket Regatta.  I can’t imagine what it cost to pay for these four birds just to fly from Huston to the regatta much less for the cost of crew and support.   Oh yeah… If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.  Almost forgot..

The St Barts airport runway is known as having a particularly tough approach and to watch these warbirds dive down over the hill and low to the runway is breathtaking.And, as if that’s not enough, how about some shots from a pilots point of view.  Remember, Marie has her distinctive red spinnaker.   It’s hard to miss. The article also stated that Marie summers in Booth Bay Harbor Maine.  I believe that I have seen her there.  Actually, I don’t recall the boat specifically but do recall a really large sailing yacht in the harbor with huge signal cannons on board, something that you don’t see every day and yet are on Marie.

My hat is off to Dr. Bosarge for putting his money toward things of great beauty.  Perhaps next time we anchor off of Over Yonder Cay we’ll stop by for a Rum Punch.   One can always wish…

Back to reality and the ports still leak on Pandora.   Oh well, it could be worse, way worse…

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