8 Epic Fails From Our Trip to the BVIs

When celebrity fitness trainer Lalo Fuentes, CSCS, invites you to join him on a trip sailing a luxury yacht around the British Virgin Islands, it doesn’t matter if you’ve sworn off sailing or if your navigational skills don’t extend far beyond your iPhone’s Google Maps. The only answer to his invitation is yes.

So a few days later, when you find yourself stranded just far enough from land that it’s inconvenient to take the dinghy, and you’re trying to catch some much-needed Z’s because it’s going to take hours for the servicemen to come help you but you can’t because the air conditioning froze days ago, you might be wondering why you accepted the trip in the first place.

No sailing adventure is without its FML moments, any sailor can tell you that. Whether it’s finding out that you’re nearly out of drinking water AGAIN or trying not to puke when your body is all sweaty and your brain feels like it’s rattling around inside one of those bouncy houses you see at children’s birthday parties, we’ve all been there. But the thing about those epic fails is that they make great stories (once the sea legs and the wooziness pass).

These are ours…

1. Only half our boat had air conditioning…
…And it wasn’t our half. Typically, in our relationship, Matt runs hot and I run cold, but in the sweltering 90-degree heat of the BVIs, it doesn’t matter what temperature you USUALLY run – you’re just hot All. The. Time. We tried sleeping in our little tin can of a room (which only had one fan and was located directly next to the engine), then when that didn’t work, walked up on deck to sleep outside. But it started raining. We debated sleeping in the one-person Skipper’s room, but that’s where we ended up storing our trash, so we finally resorted to dunking a hand towel in a melting bag of ice and cuddling with it as it soaked the bed.

2. Tangling our mainsail.
For the record, this technically wasn’t our fault. We raised the mainsail on our way to The Baths, but a defective pulley had tangled the line on the mast making it impossible for us to lower the sail and/ or anchor anywhere. At first, we took this as an opportunity to straight chill. Some people went to go try and get some sleep while others read or hung out and talked. Four hours later, when the servicemen finally came, it was another story…

3. Breaking the hatches.
…Which is why those of us who didn’t sleep tried to take advantage of the sail being up and learned to hoist the jib. We were tacking back and forth near The Baths when all of a sudden a line got caught on the hatch above one of the bedrooms near the bow of the ship and snapped it in half. Then the line got caught on the second hatch above the second bedroom and ripped it clean off its hinges, almost throwing it into the water. Everything was all cool while it was sunny, but as soon as the weather turned, it was like a shower in your bedroom.
4. Nearly running out of water.
The thing about being on a boat is that you don’t have the same resources available to you as you do on land. The other thing about being on a boat is that you ration: food, water, toilet paper, everything. But when it’s 90 degrees and you’re out in the sun for roughly eight hours a day and you start experiencing vertigo, water can be pretty important.
5. Docking without knowing what the hell we were doing.
So besides nearly running out of water for ourselves, we completely overdid it on the water inside the boats that we used for washing dishes, showering, flushing the head, etc. Which is why we searched for an island with provisions and a dock, so we could fill up our tanks. Now, while we were hopping from island to island, we were dropping anchors and fastening ourselves to mooring balls – not docking and jumping off to explore land – and we were pretty unprepared when it came time to do so. Our lines weren’t ready and our fenders were on the wrong side. We didn’t know how to tie proper knots. The whole operation was a complete mess. And the serviceman was the first to call us out on it. To make matters worse, those water tanks we came to fill up? Well, we filled up the empty water tank as well as the WASTE tanks (which, coincidentally, also start with a “W”). Talk about an epic fail.

6. Dropping the canopy on a guest’s head.
So, you all remember when I said I suck at sailing, right? Well, this fact was definitely reinforced when I ended up unclipping the wrong clips to our boat canopy and the whole front of the thing toppled over and fell on one of the other guest’s heads, pinning her between the second metal steering wheel and the metal canopy frame. Yup. I cried about how much of a fuck up I was for a good 24 hours.

7. Putting our trust in a dry bag.
I don’t think I’m alone in this: if you use a dry bag, it’s with the intention to keep things dry, amiright? So, it should come as no surprise that Matt and I took our respective dry bags with us when we had to swim from the boat/ dinghy to land. However, when we arrived at The Baths, Matt noticed that the things in his dry bag were wet. “Did you roll the top three times?” I asked. He had. “Did something accidentally spill inside your bag during the swim over?” I said. It hadn’t. As it turns out, there was a small tear in the bottom of his dry bag that allowed the salt water inside. It soaked his shirt. It soaked his money. But perhaps most devastatingly of all, it soaked his Canon 5d Mark III, which he’s had by his side for the last four years and killed it.

8. Forgetting bug spray.
Then using some…after it was too late.


Despite our epic fails, we couldn’t have asked for a better location or a more patient crew. Although no trip is without its problems, its these experiences that make a trip memorable – and, for us, create the best stories. This trip was courtesy of LaloFitness. Opinions, as always, are our own.

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