"To all cruisers, the 4th Annual Coconut Telegraph Meet and Greet will be held tonight at 4pm at the Mad Mongoose. This is English Harbour Radio, signing off”.
|Mega-yachts, classics, and a local man exercising his horse, Falmouth Harbour|
|See the tiny man on the giant mast?|
|Flawless varnish, acres of teak...|
|There's always work to be done.|
Randy volunteered last year to assist the Antigua Yacht Club, host sponsors of the event, and this year we wanted to do it again. They remembered Randy and his comprehensive skill set. We were issued official volunteer t-shirts and assigned to set up the food tents and move picnic tables on Wednesday, in preparation for opening night. Come evening, we headed in to the Mongoose for the first Red Hat Party. For buying Mount Gay rum drinks, you can collect tickets to get Mount Gay Regatta shirts or the coveted Red Hats, worn as a status symbol by sailors everywhere.
|Not from Antigua.... but these sell for crazy money on EBay!|
|English Harbour and the Dockyard from Fort Charlotte|
|The sea cliffs at Cape Shirley|
|Not pixilated...it really looks like that.|
Along the trail eastward are the majestic sea cliffs of Cape Shirley. Because this was a short hike, Randy agreed to go further, up Desmond’s Trail to the overlook at Shirley Heights. It was a good scramble, with cool refreshments in the Georgian-era Inn at the top.
|On Desmond's Trail to the Overlook at Shirley Heights|
|The Dockyard from Shirley Heights|
|On the trail, headed down.|
Up and up we went, from road to two-track to trail. The path wound uphill through dense prickly acacia, along a steep escarpment. We took a wrong turn and ended up at a dead end in the thorny tangled bush. We bushwacked on with the cutlass, following the ridge until a higher escarpment and at last the fort walls came into view. Scrambling over a massive collapsed wall, we hacked on until we reached the road and the fort’s arched gate.
|Jeremiah starting down the path, leaving the road. Not!|
|Bushwhacking along the fort wall|
|The old munitions building|
|The massive stone gate to Fort George on Monk's Hill.|
The next day at 0830 we tied up to Nirvana and joined our cruising friends for a race-viewing party. Bob and Debbie from Chamoya, Janice and Steve from Sailacious, Anne and Jim the Brits from Impressionist , Darnelle aboard Island Dream (we met a year ago in Virgin Gorda), South African John from Out of Africa, Steve the Brit photographer, Jackie from Compass Rose, Mark and Winnie from Liahona. Lovely people.
Morgan skippered us right into the race action. I’ve never experienced the excitement of yacht racing ‘til we were at the starting mark when the canon fired “start!”. It was thrilling.
On the second day of racing, the wind was fierce; three boats were dismasted and several others sustained damages and had to retire from the racing. Thankfully no one was hurt. The carpenters were busy that night.
|Blue Peter with her mast in splinters...|
due to a failed chainplate.
Race week continued like this, with hiking or resting by day, parties by night, and another trip out among the racers, thanks to Morgan. We got some great photos (they might have been better but Di’s camera is dying). We gathered with friends in the Dockyard to watch the Parade of Yachts through English Harbour on Sunday.
|This parade can be a very fancy social event! Di forgot to wear her pink frock.|
|The Pride of Antigua|
At last we had to say farewell, for it was time to move the boat to Jolly Harbour for water and fuel in preparation for moving south. The weather window is Open!
MORE PHOTOS FROM THE ANTIGUA CLASSIC REGATTA