destinations-caribbean-grog-largeFrom the ubiquitous red shirts and baseball hats with the yellow map of Barbados emblazoned on them – the secret code of serious sailboat racers worldwide – to the Royal Navy tradition of serving up a thick, syrupy and brain-befuddling concoction daily to her sailors, it seems like rum and boating are synonymous.

For what sailor worth his salt doesn't savour a ration of grog? Almost a moral imperative.

Since one of rum's first names was Barbados Water, it seems like the perfect starting point for our voyage of discovery.

A moss-covered stone mill built for extracting cane juice crouches beside the ruins of a plantation house. From here you can look north and almost see the plantation where they distill Mount Gay Rum.

Guests of the Mount Gay Visitor Centre are welcomed at a Bajan chattel house nestled beneath a brace of palms. The forty-five minute tour includes an audio-visual presentation inside a replica rum shop and a sample tasting.

They have been making rum since before 1703 and have garnered more than thirty international tasting awards in the process.

Soon after Columbus introduced sugar cane to the West Indies, Europe acquired a near-addictive taste for the substance. Somewhere in the process, quite by accident, a plantation owner discovered that the leftover juice fermented quite nicely when mixed with water and left in the sun.

Enter rum, though it's good to remember that all rums are not created equal.

"Premium aged rums are complex spirits," says Appleton's PR director Catherine McDonald. "Check the colour and clarity. Then the aroma. And you can tell the best rums by the finish – a sort of explosion on the palate that lasts for several seconds."

Appleton is the oldest sugar estate and distillery in Jamaica. Rum production here has been authenticated to 1749 but the estate dates back to 1655.

By 1657, rum had become popular throughout the New World. It was known as rumbullion, rumskullion or kill-devil. By the end of the seventeenth century it was a staple of the Royal British Navy.

That's where Pusser's, official purveyor of the fiery libation to the Royal Navy until 1971, takes centre stage. In Tortola they've turned Pusser's – a corruption of the term 'purser' (shipboard guardian of said ration) – into a cottage industry.

And you can't call yourself a true member of the yachting fraternity until you've imbibed a Painkiller (think Pusser's et. al.) at Soggy Dollar bar on nearby Jost Van Dyke.

Unless you survive instead a ration of River Antoine Rum in Grenada. Called euphemistically 'overproof', you can use this stuff to clean paint brushes, but the distillery itself offers up a fascinating tour of traditional rum-making.

And in the event you don't survive, there's always one more nautical tradition you can share. According to legend, when Lord Nelson died they shipped his body home to England in a cask of rum to preserve it. When the ship made landfall Nelson's remains remained. The rum was gone.

Some still call rum "Nelson's Blood." Ration of blood, anyone?

Lifestyle

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DIY & How to

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Diesel Fuel MaintenanceSince the late 19th century, a debate has raged on the relative merits of diesel fuel over gasoline. In more recent decades, that argument has included boat manufacturers, and increasingly, individual boaters. As I pass through boat yards in the spring or fall, I’m sure to hear a comment or two (sometimes ruefully, other times with great joy) of the merit of a particular engine or fuel source.

Increasingly, diesel engines are praised for their long-life, ease of maintenance, compact design, reliability and safety, and rate of combustion. As well as cruisers and trawlers, many sailboat manufacturers in particular have chosen to install diesel engines. 

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Boat Reviews

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Beneteau Flyer 32By Andy Adams

Summer sun boat! The handsome new Beneteau Flyer 32 is all about entertaining and the bow area is one of the main attractions. It's a wide shape forward with a huge anchor locker and opening centre section in the railing that invites you to beach the boat and go swimming. The bow is really one giant sun bed area with armrests that fold down and head rests too, for fall-asleep comfort. 

 

 

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Dufour 460By Katherine Stone

When one does an October yacht review on the Great Lakes you can never be sure of what kind of weather you will get…. and did we ever luck out! A beautiful sunny day with a high of 31 degrees and a perfect 8-10 knot breeze with light chop made for a champagne sailing day. Lucky for me we were at Swans Yacht Sales located in the Whitby Marina on Lake Ontario, trying out the Dufour 460 Grand Large, a flag ship for the midrange Dufour boats. With an overall length of 46’5” and a hull length of 44 ‘, this boat is majestic, not only in size, but also in elegance with timeless and contemporary style. 

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Moorings In BrazilWith an increasing amount of interest in South America as a charter destination, The Moorings has responded with a new base in Paraty, Brazil. Surrounded by towering jungles plummeting into the waters of Baia Carioca, this charter cruising region features bays peppered with islands and world-famous beaches.

Centrally located between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Paraty (pronounced “Para-chee”) holds the key to many natural wonders you can only discover by boat.

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Marine Products

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