compass rose

 Accidental Cruiser in the West Indies

Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta
For the official website of the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta click here.

Falmouth Harbor, Antigua April 25, 2006

Lattitude 38 likes our picture!
Click here for your hirez copy

Victoria of Duxbury with Eleonora in the background

Victoria of Duxbury with Eleonora in the background (Notice the full size human on Eleonora's bow for scale)


We have come here for the Classic Yacht Regatta so we could join the dock walkers drooling over the acres of polished brass and fresh bright work. Preparations for the Concours d'Elegance is the subject of our first set of pictures. Original boats from as old as 1898 to recent boats "in the tradition" of the classic yachts. The gleaming boats are lined up at the Antigua Yacht Club dock for viewing and judging. These are spectacular works of art and a thrill just to see. Some of the finer boats are pictured here.


The elegant round cockpit of Ticonderoga I actually handled her lines!

The Concours event is followed by three races off Antigua on each of the following three days. We ran into Skip Eaton at the Antigua Yacht Club who said we could come crew on his boat if we got there early in the morning.

He didn't have to ask twice.

Even the Dinghies are beautiful!

It turns out the best fun to be had is not viewing the event from up on Shirley Heights but participating in the race! We joined Skip and Barbara Eaton of Ragnar, a 44' French pilot boat Gaff Schooner built and flagged in Germany in 2002 from a 1910 design.

This 25 ton wooden craft was designed for heavy winds and seas and so we were not very competitive in the light winds of the first race. It took nearly an hour to get over the start line while the Committee boat started the faster classes at 15 minute intervals. We all ended up milling around chatting until the lighter boats started responding the freshening breezes and moved slowly down the triangular course. Ragnar just made it in 10 minutes before the 6 hour deadline and her exhausted crew collapsed shortly after sunset missing all the partying sponsored by Mount Gay Rum. This probably gave us the advantage on race 2 where crews sporting the red caps purchased at the cost of 3 rums consumed were looking a little grey. The best day was the 3rd and last race, the "Cannonball" which was due south to a mark placed 6 miles out - a reach on the prevailing easterly trades. It was a staggered start so every boat got to see each other coming and going. It is a real thrill seeing some well matched J- Class Yachts charging down on you with huge crew in matching uniforms hiked out under massive clouds of sail. When you've had your wind stolen by Eleonora, a 136' Nat Herreshoff Gaff Schooner, you are becalmed. The big boats such as Ranger, Eleonora, Altair, Aschanti IV and Ticonderoga have big professional crews and take the racing very seriously. The rest of us can relax after the races and enjoy the plummy British spit and polish at a distance. There is a charming graciousness about the race committee and the stately parade through Nelson's Dockyard in English Harbor. But seeing (and feeling) the spray flying from these grand old ladies pressed under all possible sail in the indigo seas under brilliant blue skies is a thrill of a lifetime. click for next column>>


View of Eleonora from Ragnar

Viewing Eleonora from Ragnar

Ranger passing by

Ranger passing by with adequate crew

Back to top of entry
©2002-6 Accidental Cruiser Home Islands Photo Journal • Cruising LogSailing Info Viewer's Comments Comment