It has been pointed out to me on more than one occasion that there not much about Sailing on this blog. Today is the day I take some small steps to rectify that.
We’re in Antigua and it’s Classics Week. English Harbour, once Nelson’s lair in the 18th century, is stuffed to the gunnels with Classic Boats racing in high spirits over four days and partying over seven. The marina buildings are a pretty picture of living history, many of them restored to their former glory and now housing a sail loft, port authority offices, a museum plus your usual selection of restaurants and bars. It all feels very British. Nice brick work.
We sailed here from Guadaloupe, a 43 mile passage in classic Caribbean sailing conditions. 15 knots, a flatish sea, sun in the sky, full sail and cracking along at over 7 knots for most of the time. Occasional water poured over the gunwales but the sea is warm so the spray is somewhat different to the North Sea. Suntan cream and shades are derigeur. No full waterproofs and mugs of hot chocolate required here. Grace behaved impeccably and ate the miles greedily. She, like her owners, enjoys the warm easy conditions.
We closed the coast as day one of the racing was finishing and managed to cross the fleet without interfering with anyone’s race to the line. I tried to get decent photos but we were just a bit far away. You’ll have to believe me when I say it was mightily impressive to see boats under full sail bowling along, gybing at the windward mark.
We are anchored in Falmouth Harbour and plan to be here for about a week. Dinghy ashore and it’s a short walk to English Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard, now a world heritage site. We spent an hour or so this evening wandering around looking at the boats. There are some massive vessels, dripping cash but also much more modest yachts sitting proudly on the water. The atmosphere is jolly, relaxed and welcoming. Even if you had no interest in sailing, it’s still a great sight. Great varnish, and brickwork.