Day 5 – Youth sailing, Duran Duran & Prize Giving

No racing, but at 09.00 we had 10 local children on board and took them for a sail. All had a chance to steer, assist with hoisting the main and staysail, and Jesse(our stewardess) had great delight entertaining with a nautical quiz. I barely touched the helm and the last young Captain steered Eilean safely back alongside in English Harbour.

At 16.00 we took Simon Le Bon, Roger Taylor and Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran out for a sail, and although some were initially quite apprehensive, it was a true reflection of Eilean’s legendary Fife quality that we reluctantly returned just before sunset. Simon Le Bon steered the entire time, and although there was no replica photo shoot of ‘Rio’ on the bow, there were some lovely shots of them at the helm.

Prize Giving commenced around 21.00 and Eilean received ‘The Woodstock Trophy’ for the best restored yacht. The prize giving was finished off with the Duran Duran music video ‘Rio’ playing on the big screen, and Simon Le Bon, Roger Taylor and Nick Rhodes then presented the ‘Panerai Trophy’ to the overall winners, ‘Lone Fox’.

Day 4 – Windward

For the final day’s racing guests on board included owners old and new, John Shearer and Angelo Bonati, and also Jan Rupert and Simon Le Bon. With a 15-17 knot southeasterly breeze we decided on a reef in the main and went for the smaller of the two jib tops. John took the helm after the start and sailed us 4 miles on a port tack fetch out to Mark 1. With the rail in the water and plenty of wet crew I witnessed a content smile from John as we sailed south, and as we rounded the mark we hoisted the mizzen staysail. Too close to the wind for the gennaker we reached down to Mark 2 off Old Road Bluff. We then beat east along the coast to Cape Shirley heading into the shallows, as far as we dared before we either lost our nerve or ‘rock pilot’ Don Street gave the command to tack. At Cape Shirley Simon Le Bon took the helm and after creating the appropriate wind angle we hoisted the gennaker for the last time. The mizzen staysail went up and came down, after a ‘little’ tear! After a successful Drop, Gybe at Mark 4 we headed for home, shaking the main out as we went, and completed a final day’s racing with Eilean ‘biting at the bit’.

Race Day 3 – The Cannon

Today’s course took us 6 miles out to the south mark and back to the start buoy twice, effectively a ‘sausage’. It provides everybody with a chance to see the other yachts in the fleet and one has to be very weary on the bow for vessels coming in the other direction. The 9-14 knot breeze was in the southeast providing a fetch out to the southern mark and then a close reach back. I took the helm for the start and after crossing in clear wind in the middle of the line I handed her straight over to Simon Le Bon. Both he and Yasmin were on board, and for Simon it was the first time he’d sailed her since the ‘Rio’ video 30 years ago. After gybing around the first mark we hoisted the mizzen staysail and reached off at 8 – 10 knots to the start buoy. We had fun sailing with ‘Dorade’ all day and enjoyed the views of all these beautiful yachts, from a 55 Metre Herreshoff Schooner to a local Carriacou Sloop, sailing by with all crews cheering. Simon Le Bon stayed impressively focused all day and it was a pleasure to have him on board.

At the end of the race we all lined up to Parade around English Harbour. It is the first time since her restoration that Eilean passed her previous ‘residence’ in the mangroves.

Race Day 2 – The Butterfly

The breeze remains between 8-12 knots but shifting a little as the day’s race plays out.

We started in the middle of the line after ducking and diving with ‘Stormvogel’ just under us. We had the 3 headsail combination pulling well just about managing to keep up with the incredibly quick Sparkman & Stephens yawl ‘Dorade’, rounding the first mark just behind them. By this stage the breeze had shifted further to the north and the following leg became a close-hauled procession. Finally down at Cape Shirley we had our first downwind leg of the day and carried out a gybe, set. Both the large gennaker and the mizzen staysail were set with haste and we sailed southwest to our gybe point. We gybed successfully and headed towards the start buoy for a gennaker drop and gybe followed by a rounding and a leg out towards the south mark again. The approach was made interesting by ourselves, Nordwind and Charm III having to avoid the Spirit Of Tradition Schooner, Athos, coming down on us all at a rate of knots and making her presence known with blasts on the ship’s whistle. She went for the inside line, even though there was space to maneuver outside and could arguably be seen as the reason for a collision between Nordwind and Charm III, that resulted in a broken bowsprit to the latter. Again we headed south with a few issues of our own and our bow work! Mr Bonati took the helm and we took the other side to the butterfly wing out to the North west under large Gennaker and mizzen staysail for the second time of the day. The beat back home was over in minutes and was our first opportunity for a sandwich after plenty of action and another fine days’ sailing. No Simon Le Bon Yet. Maybe tomorrow!

Race Day 1

The day started with heavy rain as all the crews were in boat preparation mode. Fortunately, the sky’s cleared and we had a lovely 8 – 14 knot ENE Caribbean breeze. Eilean is in the fifth start, with five in our class, including Tuiga, Nordwind and Mariella, and 11 on our start line, ensuring some close competitive sailing. Both John Shearer and Angelo Bonati were on board, owners old and new, happily enjoying Eilean’s return to racing in Antigua. After a fetch to the ‘windward’ mark we gybed and had a lively beam reach down to Carlisle Bay with our gennaker and mizzen staysail pulling handsomely. With Don Street on tactics we kept low, and while everybody were suffering towards the end of the leg as the breeze veered, we kept our 9 knot boat speed going and crept up on the leaders. A beat up the coastline brought us back to the start buoy, followed by a close hauled leg to the penultimate buoy. On the home leg we hoisted the mizzen staysail and reached for home.

A lovely first day’s racing for Eilean’s return with a faultless performance from the crew and another inspiring spectacle of wonderful classic craft.

With Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon possibly coming tomorrow we look forward to much more of the same.

Sailing

Sailing SSE from Sint Maarten with one reef in the main and the ‘trinchetta pesante’ (storm jib) up while the sun sinks below the horizon.

Marine Growth

We have just had Eilean out at Bobby’s Mega Yard in Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten, for a much-needed antifoul job. You can see in the photos the extent of the rapid marine growth, especially considering we had the bottom cleaned in Tenerife before we left for the Atlantic crossing.

 

We were re-launched on Wednesday 11th April and caught the 16.30 bridge out of the lagoon and sailed SSE to Guadeloupe. We have 4 days here before picking up Mr Bonati and sailing to Falmouth Harbour, Antigua, for Eilean’s return ‘home’ and the Panerai Classic Yacht Regatta.