Monthly Archives: April 2024

The Antigua Classics aboard Eros. Amazing!

First of all, forgive me for having such a gap in my posting as it’s been crazy busy since I returned home on April 1st to get the house open for the summer and to visit family. What a whirlwind. A short two weeks later, on Tax Day to be specific, I returned to Antigua and remarkable week of sailing on some amazing beautiful yachts for the Classic Yacht Regatta.

As luck would have it, I was able to get aboard Eros with two other Salty Dawg members, my crew Steve and friend Mark, for the full series, four days sailing on this amazing schooner. I wrote about her in my last post so I won’t repeat it here.

The series, with more boats than any year since 2017 saw more than 60 boats competing. Their size ranged from lengths in the teens up to those well over 100′, with Eros one of the largest.

This short regatta summary video gives a feel for the range of boats in the regatta. It was a wonderful experience to be aboard such a magnificent yacht.

Eros has huge sails and fortunately, we had light wind for the first two days so we were able to learn more about sailing her when the loads were less. The most challenging part of sailing Eros is setting the “fish”, or what the fisherman sail is referred to, a large sail that is hoisted between the two masts. It is quite a handful and to get it hoisted smartly, takes 6-10 crew all working together. To watch Colin, the skipper, call out orders along with waving arms, reminded me of a conductor in an orchestra. I had sailed with him two years ago aboard Columbia when he was #2 on that boat.

What a beautiful yacht. This photo, taken a few years ago by Beverly Factor, a professional photographer, is, I am told, owner Cameron’s favorite shot and the graphics on crew shirts are based on this photo.

She is a remarkable boat with a caring owner. Cameron, told me that he has a partner in the boat and that it actively chartered. I was struck by how warmly he welcomed those who had volunteered to race her. Colin, the skipper interviewed most if not all to be sure that they would perform well and be fun to have on board.

Colin greeted the crew each day to be sure that everyone knew what was expected and the importance of staying safe. It was clearly a caring family environment. This photo of the briefing doesn’t show how many were on board, upwards of 30+ each day. Busy boat but the loads were tremendous and timing for adjusting lines had to be done in a carefully orchestrated way to keep from breaking stuff, including body parts. And, speaking of “body damage” on that first day I didn’t manage a line quite properly and it slipped through my fingers, taking some skin along with it. It could have been a lot worse and I never made that same mistake again. Of course, as always, my “guardian angel” kept watch over me. All better now…

The crew…

Some of the younger crew for Eros came from Alvei, an old steel ship. Their only way to get aboard was to walk up one of the dock lines. Looks precarious, and it was, with at least one member ending up in the water. They were amazingly hard working and great to have aboard.

The “boss” of Eros, Cameron, on the left, took turns with Colin for time at the helm but most of the time Colin was more than occupied keeping the crew in line. Photo by Anna Boulton.

When it came time to back into the dock, it was always Colin at the helm and to watch him call out commands to the crew and “boat wranglers”, dinks that volunteered to push the bow as needed to line things up, was a sight to behold. And, if Colin was freaking out inside, it never showed.

With the exception of a small permanent crew, all of us were new to the boat and it was a big boat with huge loads. A lot could have gone wrong in a moment so careful oversight was vital. By the fourth day we pretty well knew our jobs or at least tried hard to do things right.

There were a number of photographers aboard for the trip and at least one chartered a chopper to take aerial photos.

This young lady was a lot of fun. Her socks “for (fox) sake” brought a smile to us all. She was relentlessly cheerful and a lot of fun to have on board. My jib partner and marine artist, Anna Boulton took this great photo.

The youngest crew during a quiet moment. Her dad is a regular on the big boat racing circuit.

Cameron is clearly passionate about Eros and the community of sailors that she fosters. At the end of the series he called out a number of crew for their dedication and hard work in a way that made it clear that he really cares about the boat and the experiences that it offers those who sail on her.

Read about Cameron’s family history and what lead to his choosing Eros nearly a decade ago. Eros has a busy charter season coming up summer in New England. Check out her site for some great background.

After the last day or racing, there was an awards ceremony in Nelson’s Dockyard, a spectacular venue. Big crowds.

It was fun to be up on the stage with the crew. Thanks to Tony, fellow crew member, for taking this shot.

The prize to Eros, second in her class, was a “keg” of rum. Colin was quick to share it with the crew. Me too… As you can imagine, it got a bit rowdy but in a good way. Rum tends to do that to people. My apologies as I don’t know who took this photo. Perhaps it was the rum…

It was an amazing few days and perhaps down the road I’ll be able to crew again. You never know. She is home-based in Newport this summer. Hmm…

Before I break, this shot of Bolero. What a gem. I did sail on her for a very memorable practice day before the Classics began but that’s a post for another day.

So, here I sit in Bequia, near St Vincent, for a few days before doing an overnight to Trinidad with Steve. We expect to arrive there on May 1st and then I will be crazy busy getting Pandora ready to haul for the summer. Lots of work needed before I head north to Antigua in early November. I have to say that after more than a decade of north and south each season, it will be nice to avoid the 3,000 mile round trip run.

After an overnight run from Guadeloupe, we arrived here yesterday. We had some really good fish tacos before a much needed good night sleep. The view of the sunset from dinner. What a spot.

It has indeed been a remarkable few weeks. Next stop, Trinidad.