Pink Power

Category : Caribbean islands, Racing

As Pink Lady approached the final finish line of the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, skipper Kirsty Morrison announced their arrival on the VHF, “Committee boat, committee boat, Pink Lady. We are about to cross the finish line.”


A chuckling, pleased voice responded, “Girls…girls… girls! Welcome back!” Pink Lady, with a rail of ladies hooting and saluting, crossed the line receiving a one-gun salute for their over the top performance.


The 37 foot Carriacou sloop did not win, didn’t even place but it finished vivaciously with grace and aplomb despite a string of obstacles.

Morrison hatched the pink plan after sailing in the 2007 Classic Regatta where she fell head-over-heels for the Carriacou built boats. Smitten with their color and tradition she set out to buy or build one that would be perfectly painted for an all-female crew.

Some time later she was on charter in the Grenadines she spotted her dreamboat anchored off Palm Island and inquired about it’s availability. It wasn’t for sale, lease or charter but after a relentless email campaign, Morrison wore down the resistance of owner Robert Barrett who agreed to let her sail it to Antigua for the race.

The boat, built in 1975 to fish, had a few major issues which to Kirsty were no problem. She had it hauled in Carriacou for bottom work, snagged some sails in Bequia (retro-fitted with traditional PVC pipe battens) then sailed to St. Vincent where a new engine was installed.

Good to go, Morrison and a small but brave crew set off into fierce weather that battered them all the way to Falmouth Harbor. The next storm threat occurred in the customs office when she was asked to produce the ship’s papers. She had a copy of the owners bill of sale but since the boat had never been registered, there would be a problem completing the official forms. A chief officer was summoned; he did a bit of head shaking then picked up a pen and filled in the registration number…. 00000.

During Morrison’s voyage down the pink path, many invitations were sent to sailing girl-friends but who would actually show remained a mystery until the night before the first race. Team Pink, an international crew of 10, eagerly jumped onboard attired in a uniform of matching bikinis, mini skirts and Pink Lady/Palm Island T’s. Tying the eye-catching ensemble together were hot pink hats that quickly became collector’s items, some fetching impressive sums of money.

On the second day of racing a magenta Sharpie appeared, the tool that would emblazon crew shirts with nicknames like Scary Mary, Psycho Betty, Killer B, Thirsty Kirsty and Typsy Gypsy. The rain that day artistically ran the ink creating a mean, tough font.

On the racecourse the pink-on-pink boat couldn’t help but catch the eye of the curious and every camera lens. What the ladies lacked in clothing was made up for with high spirited enthusiasm that infected the entire fleet. Vessels sailed out of their way to cross paths with Pink Lady, offering shouts of gratitude and whistles of affection. So respected was Pink Lady that several large yachts ducked under the boat rather than steal her air.

Ashore, wearing a Pink Lady hat became a benefit, a key that opened doors to many a party and celebration. A hat produced compliments, beverages, dinners and a constant flow of smiles. Onboard, many discussions centered around the shore side largesse and privileges creating the need for a crew pact. Silence, the ladies realized, would be impossible so they all agreed that, “What Happens on Pink Lady, Stays There!”

As Pink Lady approached the final finish line of the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, skipper Kirsty Morrison announced their arrival on the VHF, “Committee boat, committee boat, Pink Lady. We are about to cross the finish line.”

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