Allan & Ursula Ward: Port Owen, Cape West Coast, South Africa.

Shearwater 39:
- L.O.A. 43ft (13.22m)
- L.O.D. 39ft (12m)
- L.W.L. 34ft (10.3m)
- BEAM 13ft(3.9m)
- DRAFT 6ft(1.8m)



HOW IT ALL BEGAN .

I placed my order on Nebe Boats on the 19/10/1992 for what was initially planned to be a complete factory built yacht that l would sail home to Durban from Capetown once she was completed. Unfortunately due to the demise of Nebe Boats in the early days of her construction it did not turn out that way, so l decided to truck her home to Ramsgate on the KZN South Coast to finish building her in our garden at home.

For many years we could proudly boast that we had the most expensive piece of garden furniture in town, but at the time l had no idea of how massive this project would turn out to be. As anyone who has built a blue water cruiser will tell you, particularly if she is kitted out with all the systems and the equipment that a modern cruiser has onboard these days, it is a daunting task . Looking at the positive aspects of this project, l know the boat intimately in that l designed and installed the systems, so from a repair and maintenance perspective l have no issues carrying out the work that is necessary from time to time.



The big day arrived on the 29/8/2008 when we craned her out of the garden onto a rig to truck her through to Durban for launching . What followed was three months of preparations to ready her for the maiden voyage to our home port in Port Owen on the Cape West Coast.

We had a fast passage down the South African East Coast including a storm off the notorious Wild Coast and arrived in Port Owen in dense fog. Windward had passed her first test with flying colours and since then we have enjoyed some great sailing on the West Coast.


The master plan has always been to go cruising, so our plans are to leave for Brazil via Luderitz and St Helena Island at the end of February 2014. So far everything is on track although the “To Do“ list still grows each day.

The purpose of this blog is to record our adventure for ourselves, family and friends. Although it will probably end up being a brief summary of events while we are cruising, we hope you will enjoy and share some of our experiences with us.

LIVING THE DREAM .

Friday, June 29, 2018

THE FINAL PASSAGE : BARBADOS - TRINIDAD.

THE WONDERS OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY.
WHILE SLOWLY APPROACHING BARBADOS WAITING FOR FIRST LIGHT, MY SON WAS SITTING BACK IN SOUTH AFRICA WATCHING OUR PROGRESS.   
                                             
BEAUTIFUL BARBADOS.
PREPARING TO SET SAIL FOR TRINIDAD.


ONCE CLEAR OF THE WIND SHADOW OF BARBADOS, WE PICKED UP THE EASTERLY TRADE WINDS AND STARTED WHAT TURNED OUT TO BE A FAST PASSAGE TO TRINI. 

HORIZON TO HORIZON, SARGASSUM SEAWEED.
A COMMON SIGHT THESE DAYS.

KEEPING A GOOD LOOKOUT FOR ANY SUSPICIOUS LOOKING BOATS.

DAYBREAK, TIME TO CLEAR THE DECKS OF SARGASSUM SEAWEED AND FLYING FISH FROM THE PREVIOUS NIGHT AT SEA.

GREAT SAILING.
WHAT A NICE WAY TO END THE SEASON.

WITH A DECENT SWELL WE HAD SOME GREAT SURFS.

LINING HER UP TO PLACE THE SLINGS PROPERLY TO AVOID ANY DAMAGE.

PEAKE YACHT SERVICES IMPRESSIVE HAULOUT FACILITY.

LOADED ONTO THE LOWBED AND READY TO BE DRIVEN TO OUR SPOT.

PERFECT SPOT IN THE HIGH SECURITY YARD.

ADJUSTING HER FORE AND AFT TO GET THE DECK DRAINS CENTRALIZED. 

SPOTLESSLY CLEAN AND EVERYTHING PACKED BELOW DECKS OUT OF THE WEATHER.
AFTER VISITING 18 ISLANDS AND ENJOYING A TROUBLE-FREE SEASON CRUISING THE CARIBBEAN, SHE DESERVES A GOOD REST.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

BARBADOS . THE BAJAN EXPERIENCE .

After a rewarding season of island hopping all the way up from Trinidad to as far north as Antigua and visiting all the islands in between , it was time to turn around and start heading back south to Trinidad to haul out at Peakes Yacht Services by mid-May .
Virtually every boat that we met up north was going to follow the normal route of island hopping back south to either Grenada or whichever marina they planned to sit out the hurricane season , but our plan was a little different .

Having almost day-sailed the entire Windward and Southern Leeward islands l was needing a decent passage with a couple of nights at sea thrown in before we hauled out and effectively ended our 2017 season . The thought of having to contend with the vagaries of inter-island sailing all the way back with strong currents and inconsistent wind off the islands didn't appeal to me at all . To put that into perspective imagine the easterly trade winds along with the west flowing current moving unhindered across the Atlantic and all of a sudden being confronted with a chain of islands dead across their path . Billions of litres of water now being squeezed through the gaps between the islands and the trade winds now being forced to climb mountains in order to continue on their journey west . The result is strong currents through the inter-island passages and in most cases either little wind or strong katabatic winds in the lee of the islands .

My thinking was that if we headed east of the island chain into the North Atlantic we would enjoy some steady trade wind sailing and although the current would be forward of our beam , it should be weaker and not reduce our boatspeed that much . The big bonus is that we could visit Barbados and Tobago on our way home which would complete all the islands south of Antigua .

Our boat (not because she is named Windward) sails really well when the wind angle is forward of the beam but the trick was to wait for either a ENE wind or first prize would be a north-easterly for two days solid .
I monitored the weather for a number of days and saw a window developing that would suit this passage of 300nm particularly as we needed to reach my waypoint 4nm east of La Desirade a little island off the eastern tip of Guadeloupe . The only negative regarding the weather forecast was a prediction of nocturnal rain squalls which are squalls that occur usually between the hours of 3.00am and 9.00am in the morning . Our plan was that l would be on watch during those hours in order to reef and reduce sail while they passed over us .
To improve our wind angle we decided to sail to Green Island which lies off the east coast of Antigua and overnight there and then set off the next morning for Barbados . This short passage of 11nm would prove to be the hardest slog of our entire trip but we sailed into the beautiful little anchorage and settled in for the night . Modern weather forecasting is a wonderful thing as the next morning a little north had crept into the easterly trades and we set sail for Barbados . The first leg of 70nm was a little tight but with our new genoa we made good progress and by late afternoon we turned the corner and eased off on course for Barbados . That's when the magic set in with a steady 15/18kns on the beam we took off and had one of the best passages ever close-reaching all the way to Barbados . As for the nocturnal squalls they appeared as predicted and apart from one intense downpour , we either passed slightly ahead or behind them avoiding the strong winds and rain that they produce . With a bright moon both evenings at sea giving us a clear view of their approach we never touched the sails once , the first time being when we dropped the main and furled the genoa off the entrance to Port St Charles Marina . It was an amazing sail knocking off 2/3rds of our passage home in 44 hours at sea as against hopping down via numerous islands .

It was wonderful being offshore again and we had some interesting moments on the way with groups of dolphins , one in particular hanging in with us for over 20 minutes . Another little encounter with nature came during the downpour while a squall was passing over . The moon had disappeared but in the dark while looking ahead over our spray dodger l became aware of something moving alongside me in flight . It was so close l could have reached out and grabbed it . Turning on my headlamp it turned out to be a brown gull of sorts who appeared to be trying to land in our cockpit . He had his landing gear down ( legs hanging vertically ) but with the boat being rather lively in the squally wind and such poor visibility in the pitch black , he seemed to be having a major issue with judging the distance between himself and the boat . I switched off my headlamp to improve his night vision but after half a dozen attempts at landing he threw in the towel and disappeared into the night . Maybe he had plans of sitting out the intense downpour with me in the cockpit .

Another interesting encounter was with the only ship that we came across in the entire passage . It appeared on our chart plotter screen 10nm off our starboard bow but my reliable AIS system calculated that our CPA ( closest distance between us ) would be approx 150 metres ahead of us crossing our bow . I decided to wait until the ship got closer to see if they would alter course and cross our stern but 3nm off they hadn't changed their COG at all . I called up the ship with the radio operator answering immediately and when l asked him if he was aware of our presence he confirmed that they had picked us up on their AIS a long way off and they now had a clear visual on us . When l pointed out that we had a tight CPA he casually replied that all was under control and that l need not worry . I replied stating that l was under sail and would be holding my course . A few minutes later they crossed our bows doing 19kns with lights blazing and for the first time ever at sea , l could smell their burnt fuel being sucked along in their wake . I found it strange that with all this open ocean ahead of them they chose to cut it fine and not cross our stern . I was tempted to remind them about the rule that “ motor gives way to sail “ but at the end of it they relied on the accuracy of their electronics which in my book is taking a fat chance .
Apart from arriving in Barbados with Sargasso weed and a dozen flying fish on our teak decks it was a straight forward passage , a great alternative to hopping down south through all the islands .

Having rambled on and on about our great sail to Barbados l almost forgot that the topic of this post is all about the beautiful island of Barbados . It started with the officials at Port St Charles Marina who were very welcoming and courteous while clearing us into the country . They handed me a pile of maps and tourism info on the island and wished us a pleasant stay . Having not been in a marina for months we thought we would treat ourselves to all the perks of Port St Charles Marina which is part of an ultra luxury waterfront development . Unfortunately it comes at a price and after one week's stay our bill equaled that of our last year's annual berth fees in our homeport of Port Owen Marina . All the same we had a very comfortable stay hobnobbing with all the multi-smultis who hung around the restaurant and pool area all day sipping on cocktails that cost an arm and a leg . We chose to eat at local restaurants where the Bajans dine and discovered local dishes like flying fish amongst others . For years l have thrown dozens of these fish off our decks while at sea never thinking they could be eaten because of their bones . In Barbados they have competitions where people compete to see how many flying fish they can fillet in a set time .

Wanting to see the entire island we were advised that a company called Island Tours was a great way to accomplish this so we booked a day tour for the following day . We should have smelt a rat when our tour guide arrived half an hour late telling us that he had been stopped by traffic cops for reckless driving on route to pick us up . The vehicle was a Toyota Landcruiser 4x4 with two rows of plastic seats fitted with seatbelts . He explained that he still had to collect another four people so he would have to put pedal to the metal to make up for lost time . We took off wheel spinning out of the marina but our thinking was that once he had all his clients strapped firmly in their seats he would slow down to an orderly pace and let us enjoy a proper tour of the island . No chance , we spent the entire day hanging on for dear life with our fellow tourists particularly one American guy praying continually that we would all survive the day and get back in one piece . What made matters worse is that one of his clients , a local Bajan guy thought our guide was an incredible driver and kept on encouraging him to go faster .
The idea of using 4x4's is that a lot of the route is off-road but the only positive is that because of the speed that we traveled at around the island we got to see most of it in one day .

Barbados stands apart both geographically and geologically from the rest of the Caribbean islands in that it lies isolated in the North Atlantic 161kms east of the Lesser Antilles island chain and it sits on top of a submerged mountain of coral and limestone as against the rest of the islands which are the peaks of a volcanic mountain range . Without any volcanoes it is relatively flat unlike the mountains on all the islands we have visited this season . Broad vistas , sweeping seascapes and craggy cliffs that line the windward coast gives the island a totally different feel to its neighbours .
One of its biggest assets are its people . Bajans are warm friendly people who know how to make you feel at home and they are very British in their accents and mannerisms . The reason why Barbados is the “ most British “ of all the Caribbean islands is because unlike its neighbours who had mainly the French and British continually having repeated conflicts for control , the British ruled here uninterrupted for 340 years . The British influence remains strong today not only in their manners , customs and so on but also in their traditions where afternoon tea is a ritual , dressing up for dinner is popular and cricket is a national pastime . We were told by our guide ( Barbados's equivalent to Ayton Senna ) that in Barbados education is free and the kids start school at five years of age . They are well spoken and courteous and when the First Mate and l caught a bus a few days later down to Bridgetown we had a number of fellow passengers point out to us that we had arrived on the outskirts of the city , their concern in case we wanted to jump off early at a specific location . If you stop a Bajan in the street and ask for directions you will be kept for ages while they explain in detail just how to get to where you are wanting to go .

Up on the West Coast where we were based is very upmarket with fashionable , luxurious beach resorts , expensive restaurants and some of the most beautiful beaches we have seen in the Caribbean . In Speightstown we found some well priced eateries where the locals gather which is much more our style .

All in all , Barbados is a sophisticated tropical island with a rich interesting history whether you are British or not and according to my First Mate , if she had to choose a Caribbean island to live on this would be it .



BEAUTIFUL BARBADOS .

GREEN ISLAND FROM WHERE WE SET SAIL FOR BARBADOS GIVING US A TIGHT BUT DOABLE WIND ANGLE FOR OUR WAYPOINT EAST OF LA DESIRADE .

POWERING ALONG WITH ANTIGUA BECOMING A DISTANT MEMORY . 

OUR FIRST LEG OF 70NM WAS A LITTLE BOISTEROUS BUT WE HELD ONE TACK TO OUR WAYPOINT .

BUT ONCE WE TURNED THE CORNER AND AIMED FOR BARBADOS WE HAD AN EXHILARATING SAIL ALL THE WAY SOUTH .

IN A LITTLE CHURCH IN SPEIGHTSTOWN WE FOUND THIS STONE IN REMEMBRANCE OF A YOUNG SOLDIER WHO DIED IN ACTION IN SOUTH AFRICA . 

THIS STONE IS SO UNUSUAL IN THE WORDS USED TO REMEMBER THIS POOR WOMAN .
ZOOM IN AND SEE IF YOU CAN READ IT .

THE EMBANKMENT OF THIS ROAD HAS ANIMALS CARVED OUT OF THE LIMESTONE .
THIS IS ONLY PART OF IT .

COMMON IN BARBADOS IS THE PRACTICE OF BUILDING A HOUSE WHILE LIVING IN A SMALL WOODEN ABODE INSIDE IT . ONCE THE MAIN HOUSE IS COMPLETE YOU SIMPLY DISMANTLE THE WOODEN ONE AND MOVE IN .

A PRETTY EFFECTIVE HOME SECURITY SYSTEM .

CAUGHT IN THE ACT , THIS LITTLE FELLA HAD PLANS OF WEARING MY SHADES .

A WEATHERED ROCK , ONE OF MANY OFF BATHSHEBA BEACH .
NOTE HOW THE WAVE ACTION HAS ERODED IT'S BASE .

BATHSHEBA'S FAMOUS SURF SPOT IN THE DISTANCE KNOWN AS THE " SOUP BOWL ".
NOTHING MUCH WAS HAPPENING WHILE WE WERE THERE WITH ONLY A COUPLE OF SURFERS OUT ON BACKLINE , BUT APPARENTLY IT " COOKS " ON A REGULAR BASIS .

EVEN BARBADOS HAS A WINDMILL WHICH IS NOW A HISTORIC MONUMENT .

WHAT IS INTERESTING ABOUT THIS PIC IS THAT ALTHOUGH THIS ROCK IS APPROXIMATELY ONE MILE FROM THE SEA , IT HAS THE SAME WEAR PATTERN AROUND IT'S BASE CAUSED BY WAVE ACTION AS THOSE CURRENTLY IN THE SURF .
GO BACK MANY MOONS AND THIS COW WOULD BE SWIMMING . 

THE CRAGGY COASTLINE ON THE WINDWARD SIDE OF BARBADOS .

WE SURVIVED OUR ISLAND TOUR WITH LOU (BARBADOS'S OWN AYTON SENNA)AT THE WHEEL.
I HAD NO IDEA THAT A TOYOTA LANDCRUISER WAS SO QUICK. NOTE THE EVIL GRIN ON HIS FACE .

THE ANCHORAGE IN CARLISLE BAY OFF BRIDGETOWN .

THE ROYAL BARBADOS YACHT CLUB IN BRIDGETOWN .

HORSE RACING IS VERY POPULAR IN BARBADOS .

WINDWARD HOBNOBBING WITH THE GIN PALACES IN THE PORT ST CHARLES MARINA .

THE LITTLE BEACH THAT FORMS PART OF THE PORT ST CHARLES MARINA .

TURTLES ALWAYS RETURN TO THE SAME BEACH WHERE THEY WERE HATCHED TO LAY THEIR EGGS .THEIR OFFSPRING REPEAT THAT CYCLE OVER AND OVER AGAIN .
I WOULD PRESUME THAT ONCE UPON A TIME THE BEACH WAS MUCH CLOSER TO THE WATER ALLEVIATING THE PROBLEM OF HAVING TO CROSS THE MAIN ROAD TO LAY YOUR EGGS . 

ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL BARBADOS BEACH ON THE WEST COAST .

Sunday, May 14, 2017

THE 30th ANTIGUA CLASSIC YACHT REGATTA . ANOTHER LARGE TICK OFF THE " BUCKET LIST ".


Last night l had an amazing dream . I dreamt that we had sailed into Antigua on our boat to discover that the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta was underway and all around us were these magnificent classic yachts all under full sail gracefully gliding past us while we watched in awe at their incredible beauty .

Disregard everything you have just read as it is nonsense . Our visit to Antigua to coincide with this amazing event was well planned . Early in our season we picked up a calendar of all the events taking place this year in the Caribbean and amongst all the cultural and music happenings the Classic Week and the Antigua Sailing Week both stood out like a sore thumb . Being the owner of a Shearwater and being totally infatuated with classic boats in general this famous regatta has been on my “ Bucket List “ in bold print forever . A number of years ago a mate of mine entered his Shearwater as a contestant and was accepted by the selection committee , so the two of us set sail from our homeport in South Africa for Antigua to take part in the event . Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances we were forced to turn back and head home . I was deeply disappointed but vowed that one day come hell or high water l would sail my own boat to Antigua and witness this spectacle otherwise upon death l would definitely land up being the grumpiest guy in the cemetery .

Well l have just made a large tick alongside this event on my “ Bucket List “ and to top it all it is the 30th Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta and the organizers are pulling out all the stops to make it a very special celebration as Nelson's Dockyard in English Harbour , the venue for the event has just been declared a World Heritage Site making this years classic a very special occasion .

The Antigua Yacht Club runs the event which attracts classic boats and classic boat enthusiasts from all over the world and for the past week while on anchor and ashore we have watched a steady procession of some of the most famous classic yachts from around the globe arriving including most of the J Class boats . So far we have stood up close to Shamrock , Velsheda , Lionheart , Rainbow and Topaz with Shamrock the original J built out of wood and launched in 1930 to Topaz launched as recently as 2015 . Even if boats aren't your cup of tea these beauties will bring tears to your eyes . Chatting with Shamrock's bosun Sean Thompson , he said that he would love to show me around obviously noticing how interested l was in seeing more of his boat than what was visible from the dock . He also was keen to find out more about cruising the Caribbean as he intends to bring his own boat next season and spend sometime following a similar path that we have cruised . What l thought might be a quick flit around Shamrock turned into a four hour detailed tour with Sean showing and explaining every detail of what makes Shamrock tick . She is a very different boat compared to the one that was built for Sir Thomas Lipton way back in 1930 . Sean introduced us to the Captain and the crew but the one guy l really enjoyed chatting to was the engineer who explained in detail what systems were onboard . Having built our boat it was really interesting crawling around in her engine room and seeing how sophisticated modern computerized systems have become . After a thorough tour from stem to stern with thankfully the first mate enjoying seeing the more genteel side of the boat including the owner's master cabin we left with a whole new appreciation of these awesome J Class boats . Having met the captain and crew you can sense the pride they have in their boat as being selected to crew one of these amazing vessels to them is a huge privilege . Immaculate is not even the right word to describe how well maintained these boats are and my first mate even spotted a crewmember on another classic using a fancy mirror to check if they had properly polished the backside of a shroud that you can't see anyway . These guys and girls who crew on these classics and superyachts in general spend their entire time in port polishing and buffing every surface on their boats and Shamrock in particular with her bronze winches and deck fittings is a site to behold . Being the oldest and the only wooden J in the fleet she is now our favourite and we will be rooting for Sean , Simon and the rest of the crew in their future endeavors .

Getting back to the regatta , it kicked off with the Concours d'Elegance on day1 and I would hate to have been one of the judges who had to decide whose boat ticked all the boxes . It was followed by a single-handed race which was won comfortably by a woman who sailed her boat beautifully . Then for the following four days , races were held culminating with the Prize Giving Ceremony . There are six classes namely the Traditional , Vintage , Classic , Classic GRP , Spirit of Tradition and then finally the Tall Ships .
The courses are different each day and each one is around 24nm . From a spectators point of view an area known as Middle Ground is like standing in the front row at a concert . It is a hill that overlooks the course with the start/finish line right below us . Seeing these classic boats particularly the big boats beating up to the windward mark is a sight to behold . Watching Adix a huge three masted classic powering upwind under full sail doing 17kn is breathtaking . That is certainly something l will never forget .
What really impressed us is how many woman are now professional crew members onboard these boats . The most impressive woman l met and had a long chat to was the Chief Race Officer for the regatta . She captained a square rigger Tenacious and holds the title of having docked the biggest boat to ever enter English Harbour . It is wonderful to see these woman making their mark in a pastime that was predominately male dominated . Good for them .

Although the Classic is meant to be a fun event the racing is fast and furious with a couple of boats losing their masts and others suffering gear damage in the process of trying to claim top honours . Each day after the racing the events and parties begin , carrying on through the night with live bands playing outside on the lawns in front of the impressive Nelson's Dockyard buildings .

The Classic Regatta has wound down and the boats are slowly departing while a different fleet of yachts are streaming in everyday one by one . State of the art race machines from small pocket racers to super-maxis are gearing up for the 50th Antigua Sailing Week and apparently this year is going to be huge with a bumper turnout . The only boat l have recognized is Leopard who sailed out with us when we left Durban on our maiden voyage to Port Owen in 2008 .
Otherwise there are some mean machines including a powerful trimaran that would have my speed freak mate Kevin drooling .
English and Falmouth Harbour are bracing themselves for a solid week of high performance sailing and hard partying every night and not surprisingly Antigua's sailing season officially ends after this event . I doubt that anyone could survive another event after the Classic being followed by the Caribbean's biggest single racing regatta .

The only sad thing is that l wish my mate Robin could have shared this awesome experience with me although he would have probably walked around the entire week with tears in his eyes at the sheer beauty of these classic yachts .
For me l feel privileged to have been in Antigua for the 30th Antigua Classic Week and the 50th Antigua Sailing Week and celebrating the recent listing of Nelson's Dockyard as a World Heritage Site .

What a luck , our timing was perfect .  

THE 30th ANTIGUA CLASSIC YACHT REGATTA .

COSWORTH THE STUFFED BULLDOG .
THE CAPTAIN FOUND HIM IN SOME SHOP AND PURCHASED HIM AS THE BOAT'S MASCOT .
HE EVEN BARKS AT PEOPLE PASSING BY .

J CLASS SHAMROCK V J/K3 .
THE ORIGINAL J BUILT IN 1930 FOR SIR THOMAS LIPTON . SHE IS THE SMALLEST AND ONLY J CLASS BOAT BUILT OUT OF WOOD .
ADMIRING HER BRONZE WINCHES AND DECK GEAR .

J CLASS J/H2 RAINBOW .
ONE OF THE MODERN J's built in 2012 . LOA - 131ft  DISP - 167 tons .
HER CURRENT OWNER CRUISES IN HER WITH NO INTEREST FOR NOW IN RACING HIS BOAT .

THESE CLASSICS ARE IN PRISTINE CONDITION DOWN TO THE FINEST DETAIL .

THIS IS ERICA AN INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL BOAT .

ERICA'S BOW VIEW WITH TWO HIGHLY POLISHED ANCHORS READY TO DROP .

SHE EVEN HAS A MASTLIFT FOR TWO PEOPLE FOR WHEN WORK NEEDS TO BE CARRIED OUT UP IN THE CLOUDS ON TOP OF HER RIG .

THE CARPENTRY AND VARNISHWORK IS OF THE HIGHEST STANDARD .
ONLY PROFESSIONAL BRIGHTWORK SPECIALISTS ARE USED .

ADELA'S IMPRESSIVE BOWSPRIT AND DOLPHIN STRIKER .

ONE OF THE BIGGER CLASSICS , THIS SPECTACULAR SCHOONER DISPLACES 250 tons AND HAS AN OVERALL LENGTH OF 182ft .

SHAMROCK V's BOW .
THESE J CLASS BOATS ARE IN A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN .

J CLASS VELSHEDA J/K7 .
LAUNCHED IN 1933 , SHE SAILED INTO BEQUIA WHILE WE WERE THERE AND RAFTED UP TO BYSTANDER  HER OWNER'S MOTOR YACHT WHERE WE COULD VIEW HER IN ALL HER GLORY . 

ONE OF THE CLASSIC CLASSES ABOUT TO START THEIR RACE .

THE MAGNIFICENT COLUMBIA .

ADIX , SPIRIT OF BERMUDA AND COLUMBIA READY TO DO BATTLE .

SPIRIT OF BERMUDA .
EACH CLASSIC YACHT HAS UNIQUE FEATURES OF THEIR OWN WHICH MAKES IDENTIFYING THEM AT SEA QUITE EASY .

MARIETTE'S BEAUTIFUL TENDER IN THE FOREGROUND .

MARIETTE AND ADIX .
TWO OF THE STARS OF THE SHOW .

EVEN THE SMALLER CLASSIC YACHTS WERE BEAUTIFUL .

THERE WAS A GREAT VIBE THROUGHOUT THE WEEK WITH PARTIES AND EVENTS NON-STOP .
IT TOOK A FOREST OF TREES TO BUILD THESE WOODEN MASTS .

THE TRADITIONAL CARRIACOU SLOOPS .
WE VISITED THE OLD BOATYARD IN WINDWARD , CARRIACOU WHERE THEY ARE STILL BUILT USING THE SAME OLD DESIGNS AND METHODS OF YESTERYEAR .
THEY CARRY A LOT OF SAIL AND NOTHING COULD TOUCH THEM IN THEIR CLASS .

SHAMROCK'S OLD STYLE ALUMINIUM MAST AND NITRONIC ROD RIGGING .
THE NEW J CLASS BOATS ALL SPORT MODERN CARBON RIGS .

UNFORTUNATELY THIS PIC DOES LITTLE TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF HOW TALL THESE RIGS ARE.
ALL ARE FITTED WITH RED LIGHTS ON TOP TO WARN LOW FLYING AIRCRAFT OF THEIR PRESENCE .

BYSTANDER BELONGS TO VELSHEDA'S OWNER WHO FOLLOWS HER TO EACH EVENT IN HIS WATER HOME . THE TWO BOATS ARE INSEPARABLE .

JAMBALAYA , A TRADITIONAL CARRIACOU SCHOONER .

ADIX TAKING PART IN THE SAIL PAST PARADE .
WATCHING THIS CLASSIC BEAUTY CLOCKING 17kn CLOSE-HAULED TO THE WINDWARD MARK WAS A SIGHT TO BEHOLD .

SHAMROCK V STEERING QUADRANT .
SEAN THOMPSON , THE SHIP'S BOSUN INVITED US ONBOARD TO INSPECT OUR FAVOURITE J CLASS BOAT FROM STEM TO STERN .

INSPECTING SHAMROCK'S LAZARETTE .
NOTE THE SIZE OF HER WINCHES WHICH CAN BE SUBJECTED TO PHENOMENAL LOADS OF UP TO 13 TONS .

BEHIND SHAMROCK'S WHEEL IS A LOT OF HISTORY INCLUDING SIR THOMAS LIPTON'S FIVE FAILED ATTEMPTS TO WIN THE AMERICA'S CUP .
SEAN GIVING ME THE RUN-DOWN ON HER STEERING GEAR .

HER ORIGINAL RUDDER ANGLE INDICATOR .
NOTE HOW PORT & STARBOARD ARE REVERSED .

ALL HER DECKGEAR IS IN BRONZE INCLUDING THE PROTECTION BARS ON THE SKYLIGHT .
HER BRIGHTWORK HAS A MIRROR FINISH .

UP IN SHAMROCK'S BOW SECTION .
BEING THE ONLY WOODEN J CLASS BOAT IN THE FLEET , HER HULL IS REGULARLY INSPECTED FOR ISSUES ONLY WOODEN BOATS HAVE TO DEAL WITH . 

SHAMROCK'S CREW QUARTERS .
NOTE THE TACKLE ON HER BUNKS SO THAT HER CREW CAN ADJUST AND LEVEL THEM WHEN SHE IS HEELED OVER .
THE FIRST MATE STARTING TO APPRECIATE OUR HUGE FOREPEAK CABIN .

PART OF HER SALOON .
ALL THE FURNISHINGS AND FLOORS ARE COVERED WHILE THE OWNER AND HIS GUESTS ARE ABSENT . THE LOOK-A-LIKE ENCYCLOPEDIAS IN THE BOOKCASE ARE IN FACT THE SHIP'S MANUALS IN DUMMY FILE COVERS . 

THE OWNER'S BATH AND SHOWER .
I DOUBT THAT THE BATH WOULD BE USED AT SEA .

THE OWNER'S OLD STYLE VANITY IN HIS PRIVATE HEADS .

DOWN IN THE BOWELS OF SHAMROCK V's ENGINE ROOM .
SHE IS THE ONLY TWIN-SCREW J CLASS BOAT WITH TWO 205hp CAT ENGINES .
THIS BOAT WAS ENGINE-LESS AT BIRTH SO HER ENGINE ROOM IS TIGHT TO SAY THE LEAST .
I HAD A LONG DISCUSSION WITH HER AUSSIE ENGINEER AND COMMISERATED WITH HIM ABOUT HAVING TO WORK DOWN HERE IN THE SAUNA WHILE SHE IS UNDERWAY UNDER POWER .  

SEAN THOMPSON , THE SHIP'S BOSUN AND A VITAL MEMBER OF SHAMROCK'S CREW .
A LOVELY GUY WHO GAVE US A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST ICONIC BOATS IN DETAIL AND TO MEET HER CAPTAIN AND CREW .
SHE IS MOST DEFINITELY OUR FAVOURITE J CLASS YACHT .

SEAN IS PLANNING ON BRINGING HIS OWN BOAT TO THE CARIBBEAN NEXT SEASON SO I WILL BE ABLE TO PROVIDE HIM WITH ALL THE INFORMATION HE NEEDS ABOUT THESE CRUISING GROUNDS .