Month: April 2014

Trophies in the sun!

After four superb days  of racing off the south coast of Antigua this week, we have managed to steer Spirit of Callisto to first place in class.  Lying in second place after day 3 we had it all to do, and with the course and conditions in our favour we managed to get the gun and the overall win.

The second day had brought very challenging conditions with winds up to 3o knots and a decent sea running, the heavier boats in our class came into their own with the exquisite gaff cutter Holly Mae, owned and sailed by Joff Rorke, powering around the course under a deluge of white water and deservedly taking the winning gun.

Day 3 was simply one of the best days sailing I have ever had.  We were beaten into second place behind the gaff ketch Old Bob after handicap by 21 seconds, but that did not matter.  The course is called The Cannon, two laps of a simple reach to the first mark 6 miles out to sea and a reach back in which meant the whole fleet were sailing back and fourth past each other all day giving us the most spectacular views.  This was the day for some boats to excel, especially the big 3 mast lugger Grayhound who had been struggling with the windward legs, but with day 3’s long reaches she stretched her legs and proved there is no substitute for massive quantities of canvas!  I will not forget when the big schooner Adventuress came charging past us under full sail a stones throw to windward with water streaming down the decks looking absolute magnificent.  Rainbow, the replica J-Class, was doing her magic and it was such a pleasure to be sailing alongside a boat like that in such perfect conditions.  Everyone I spoke with that evening no matter what boat they sailed with said the same thing, it was simply a pleasure to be out there on a day like that.

So the question is will Spirit of Callisto be back next year to defend her trophy?  I truly hope so!


Antigua Classics 2014 – “Yawl not ketch us!”

One of the benefits of working in this game is being able to mix business with pleasure, and that is exactly what I am doing this week after accepting an invitation to skipper a yacht for friends in the Antigua Classics regatta.

The boat is a gaff yawl designed and built by Spirit Yachts of Ipswich. true to Spirit form she has a spade rudder and fin & bulb keel which I think is a very interesting combination with the more traditional rig.

After a day out practising with our crew on Thursday, we lined up in the first start of the regatta on Friday with high hopes, and we were not disappointed.  It was a long reach to the first mark in a good F5 with typical Atlantic seas.  We found ourselves 3rd round the mark behind a big bermudan cutter built by Luke Bros. around 1905 called Lily Maid and Marcus Rowden’s 3 mast lugger Grayhound which ate up the distance on this free reach with her enormous sail area, flying along at 10 knots with the wind just aft of the beam.

We gained ground after the second mark on a hard beat back towards Falmouth Harbour, by which time the big boats of the fleet were storming through making a superb spectacle with all cameras on deck for a close quarters fly by of Rainbow, the new J-Class as she was close on the wind doing a good 15 knots.



We  were immensely pleased to pick up the gun on the finish line and found out later we were first on handicap as well, so it is all to play for in the next 3 days of racing……and partying.

More photos can be found on the Wooden Ships Facebook page.