Each christmas morning the spectacular harbor of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas is filled with the white sails of the Virgin Islands charter-boat fleet, off for its annual Christmas sail. Last year, when these pictures were taken, 14 ocean-going yachts, trailed by three 16-footers, and a hundred happy sailors participated. They left the bustle of Charlotte Amalie with its native steel bands pounding out Christmas carols on oil-drum heads, its cruise-boat tourists in from New York on the Olympia, and its elderly Negro women who charge the tourists a quarter to photograph them with Christmas trees balanced on their heads, and the fleet sailed to the tranquillity of Christmas Cove on the nearby island of St. James. There they rafted up for a sunlit afternoon of swimming and spearfishing in the crystal waters, followed by turkey dinner on deck. When the moon came up, the gang sailed back home, singing carols to the calypso rhythm of guitar, banjo and bongo drum.
Season's greetings in lipstick decorate John Repke's shirt. Many young St. Thomas sailors sport earrings or beards.
Christmas dinner over, the party gathers to watch SI's photographer swaying overhead on his perch in a breeches buoy.
Cha cha hat with madras band shields freckling Dorothy Hyatt from afternoon sun as she photographs friends.
In christmas cove on St. James Island, yachts from Charlotte Amalie raft up for Christmas Day under the brilliant Caribbean sun. The sailors and their guests swim, spearfish and then sail back by moonlight singing Christmas carols with a calypso beat.
Aboard ship on the Fair Winds, Kit Kapp's 50-foot ketch, Skipper Kapp, his wife Lois and guest Henry Fadde eat Christmas turkey St. Thomas fashion. The Kapps live on their yacht, sail it on charter throughout the Caribbean during the winter season.
PHILIP O. STEARNS
PHILIP O. STEARNS
BEARDED SKIPPER RUDY THOMPSON, IN A SOUTH SEAS LAVA-LAVA, CHECKS THE SET OF HIS SAILS