Oh, to be born a classic…

Anyone who follows this blog knows that I am a sucker for beautiful yachts and to spend the winters in the Caribbean, especially in Antigua, puts me right in the heart of “classic yacht spotting” as many of the most fabulous sailing yachts in the world spend their winters there.

It’s great that  so many owners still gravitate toward the classic look in spite of an endless number of modern designs available to them.  And, let’s face it, if you have endless funding, you can get just about anything that you might want.

There is just nothing quite as beautiful as a classic schooner with a sweeping deck and towering masts.  My good friend Christopher Blossom has painted images of many schooners over the years and while the age of fishing under sail is all but gone, images of these iconic yachts endure.  This is one of many pieces that Chris has done, the fishing schooner Monitor. While there are a good number of modern interpretations of the classic schooners being built today, few are as close to their historic counterparts as the Columbia.  While she’s built of steel and her interior is thoroughly modern, (no smelly fish holds on her) from the outside she’s a faithful replica of her namesake, built in Massachusetts in the early 20th century.  I have written about Columbia before and spent time aboard her in English Harbor Antigua this spring.  Follow this link to my post about that visit if you missed it.

I love learning the history of special yachts and it’s unusual to find a video of their construction.   As Columbia was built in a commercial ship yard and, in this case, for the owner of that yard, this video is particularly personal.    It’s worth watching.

To see a classic design built using modern modular construction techniques is fascinating.  No doubt, those who built the original “classics” would have employed these same techniques if they could. It’s fascinating to see a classic yacht that looks like she’s might have been launched 100 years ago and yet is nearly new.   Adix was already a classic when she was launched in 1984.  I have seen her in Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbor for the last two seasons.  She’s a remarkable yacht at over 200′ long, sporting three masts.  These yachts are big in every way.  I watched as several crew worked to get one of her sails on deck.  The process was very carefully choreographed.   Pandora’s mainsail is a bit much for me to manage and it’s nothing like the sails on a boat like Adix. Actually, not everything aboard is huge.  Her charming sailing gig is delicate and beautiful.  I’d love to get aboard someday.  Unfortunately, I haven’t found a way, yet…

This video, about Adix, is worth looking at.  While she has classic beauty above the waterline, she’s a modern yacht below.   Interestingly, in 1995 she was cut in two and an additional 15′ was grafted to her midsection.  Sounds complicated. The video also includes a plug for bottom paint but it’s worth watching as it tells the story of a very unique yacht. While it’s months away, I am already getting excited about heading back south for next winter.  I’ll admit that I don’t particularly enjoy the long passages but once I am there and Pandora’s anchored in Falmouth harbor, amid all those beautiful classics, the discomfort of the run south fades away.

There’s lots to do between now and then including the remodeling of our guest bathroom.  I wonder if the owners of Adix or Columbia concern themselves with such mundane stuff?  Probably not.

Knowing how much work goes into keeping Pandora looking her best I can only imagine what it takes when you own a yacht that was already a classic when she hit the water for the very first time.

Oh, to be born a classic…  If you don’t know what it’s like, you can’t afford it.


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