Sunday, April 24th, 2011
The Picton Castle spent an entire week in Antigua and even as we sailed away from this beautiful island the crew was still buzzing with enthusiasm and brimming with tales of victory, or of racing anyway.
The Classic Regatta was a complete success, from the point of view of the organizers, the participating Classic boats and our crew. Whoever of our crew who wanted all found spots on boats and most went out racing at least twice – revelling in a different sort of sailing experience and walking away richer because of it. Some of our crew sailed on the Rosa. The Rosa is a beautiful, old gaff-rigged wooden fishing smack where the sailors play music even in the heat of the races and everybody has a good time. Some of the crew sailed on the Ocean Star – the sister schooner to the Argo (both sail training ships) where Abbey knew some of the crew from her days in the SeaMester program on the Argo. Some sailed on the Pipe Dream with Deb (who sailed on the Atlantic Voyage) and her partner Laurie. Pipe Dream is a lovely Carriacou sloop which they just purchased and the races enabled them to test her ability on the water. She did very well and all had a good time. Others got out on Genesis –another handsome Carriacou sloop owned by Alexis who happens to be a good friend of the Captain and of our very own Ollie Campbell.
I went out sailing on the Farfarer with fellow Lunenburgers Peter and Martha Kinley and John and Maddie Steele – John and Peter are key members of the Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance currently reconstructing the magnificent schooner Bluenose II. On her maiden voyage, Farfarer is a brand new classic fusion schooner built by Lunenburg’s own Covey Island Boatworks. Captain Frank Blair and his crew showed me a great time and we sailed one fast race in his thrillingly remarkable vessel!
And then of course there was our very own dory Sea Never Dry and longboat. The longboat was kitted out with a new jackyard topsail, a bowsprit and a new jib. Sea Never Dry got a new paint job and with bright Pan-African colours of red, yellow, blue and green and designs based upon both Zulu and Senegal motifs and her ever-colourful mainsail was quite a sight to see. Despite the fact that we did not race with the boats, we still took them out every day and our crew took turns sailing and rowing them around Falmouth and English Harbours for a good view of the races. And pretty wild to be sailing our dory next to a 140′ J-class sloop. While I was out on the Farfarer I could see Sea Never Dry sailing in the distance. Two hours later we passed her starboard side as we were running downwind going at least 9 knots. Mike, Dave, Davey and Dan shouted their approval and we congratulated them on their hutzspa as we raced toward our marker.
At the end of second day of races the boats participated in a parade of sail around English Harbour. It seemed as though thousands of people were chanting our names and applauding. The blaring of boat horns and noise-makers was almost deafening as each boat rounded the bend and motored into the delicate harbour. Passing other Picton Castle crew we all waved to one another. Although on separate boats we shared a communal experience and we were giddy with excitement. With the sun just edging down the western sky and plenty of light, the evening lay out before us and so did the celebrations!!
*Thank you to Dan Eden for the use of some of his pictures for this log.