ACYR - LOAD THAT CANNONMonday 24th April 2017
The infamous Carriacou sloops - photo by Alexis Andrew
Thirty years ago, the founders of the Antigua Classics planned a magnificent Regatta, including a boat show element with the addition of the Cannon Course. Twenty-four miles of reaching between two well-set marks allows vessels from every class to pass repeatedly, and often dramatically, close. Some consider it the easiest of the four races but this Sunday, weather and seas turned it into more of a high test challenge: steady winds of 20 knots from the east agitated the water which flew anywhere and everywhere. Today the Kenny Coombs Memorial Cannon Race was a lively salute to his genius.
Guiding Light, a 37’ Gauntlet was built for the Earl of Normanton in 1934
Like a history book with the pages turned by the wind, amazing stories passed by: Guiding Light, a 37’ Gauntlet was built for the Earl of Normanton in 1934; the 59’ Henry Gruber yawl, Peter von Seestermuehe sailed in the first Whitbread Race in 1973-74; Mariella, the 79’ Alfred Mylne Yawl served as a British Admiralty coastal patrol boat at the start of WWII; 52’ Samsara, built in 1924 for North Sea fishing, also served in WWII; Tilly XV, 39’ Sonderklasse Gaff Sloop was built in 1912 for Prince Heinrich Von Preussen; and the Carriacou sloops, Zemi, Sweetheart, Genesis and Free in St. Barths each hold rich stories from the beach where they were all built.
Joel White’s 76’ design, Wild Horses
In contrast are the newer builds, among them Sean MacMillan’s Spirit Yachts that will carry tradition forward. This year’s fleet includes his latest, the 65’Chloe Giselle, built in 2015; Joel White’s 76’ design, Wild Horses; and Faiaoahe, a 66’ Spirit of Tradition sloop sailing hard from the Pacific to join the action and Chronos, a 157’ Staysail ketch built in 2012 races this year in the newly created Tall Ship Class.
There was plenty of onboard chat about ratings and times because the third race can make or break a lead. And it did. Full results are available at www.antiguaclassics.com
The schooners Columbia and Spirit of Bermuda
Following the race, vessels dropped sail and queued up for the Parade of the Classics or Sail-by past rum-fuelled spectators on the docks of English Harbour, with George Bridger admirably performing his role as MC and announcing each vessel as it arrived. The schooners Columbia and Spirit of Bermuda spent their time in line engaged in a flag war: Panerai banners went up, Mount Gay flags and masthead pennants. Then, it was game over when Spirit of Bermuda hoisted a whopper announcing their country’s role as host for the America’s Cup. With nothing but salty laundry to fly, they pulled out the black powder and ear plugs.
Back at the dock
Back at the dock, crews rolled ashore for a Sunday scene at Nelson’s Dockyard with vintage vehicles, music, and the infamous ACYR camaraderie that lured them to the island in the first place and will bring them back again.
Tomorrow, Monday April 24th will be the final race, more beer, more rum and the eagerly anticipated Trophy Presentation and Party on the lawn of Nelson’s Dockyard; Prize-giving is at 8:00 pm so be sure to be there!
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