Monday, May 21, 2007

Antigua Classic Race Week April 2007, originally uploaded by S/V Raft.

Pictures: Beautiful Classic Boats at Dock in Falmouth Harbour

We are not racers, and apart from our brief crewing experience in Georgetown Bahamas, have had very little interest in sailboat racing. Although we do recognize that as in most other aspects of life, when two sailboats are traveling side by side, it is a race. But since we were in Antigua, and the Classic Regatta was on, we were going to participate.
We anchored once again in Falmouth Harbour, and each morning we hiked from Pigeon Beach up to the old battery, which offered a great viewpoint (seated on an old wall in the shade) of the start and end and most of what happened in between. There we also met a British couple who followed the different Regattas over the years, and who could identify the competitors and how they were doing in their race. Their input definitely made the races more interesting. There were about 60 classic boats, including many island boats taking part in the regatta.
The old classic and the new replica boats are beautiful, complete with tons of woodwork, expertly maintained, and all their stainless gleamed. (unlike RAFT's). Several friends were crewing on some of the boats, so each evening we would meet up with them for a few drinks and hear their perspective of the race, or how the owners were feeding them.
Pictures: View from Vantage Point above Fort Berkley, High Tea, Fun Racing of Small Boats

The week passed quickly and it was about time we started to make arrangements for our next set of visitors, Kathryn and Ron, Bev's sister and brother in law. They were flying into Antigua on May 5th. We needed to reprovision, finish off some boat chores, and get RAFT watered and fed. We decided to head back to Jolly Harbour, where there was a great grocery store (the Epicurian), Budget Marine, and a marina to get all the projects done. If we had any time to spare we would scope out some of the other anchorages/snorkeling spots until K&R arrived.
But after a couple of days in Jolly Harbour, we changed our minds--sailor's plans are made in jello, right?
1) Budget Marine: very limited selection and very expensive -- didn't have what we needed
2) Epicurian - excellent store, but no bargains
3) Water still turbid, didn't see any snorkeling opportunities (although we didn't look too hard)
4) K&R were flying in on Sat. and we wouldn't be able to check out until Monday
So after we watched about 120 Racing week boats enter Jolly Harbour, we exited early to arrive in English Harbour before they raced back. Just a note about Race week, part 2 (not the classic boats). Again not being racers we were not aware that about a half of the racing boats, were bareboat charter boats that were rented and entered. Obviously racing in Antigua is on someone's "top 100 things to do before I die" list.