St Barts to Antigua Classics Week

Susie and Adam (both think they are skipper)
Mon 18 Apr 2011 15:37
18:04.11, 17:00.81N 61:46.74W
We spent a second day in St Barts so we could go diving, it is a really friendly place, quite a few of the areas they have designated marine parks and have put buoys down to tie your tender to when you go diving, you have to pay 2 euro's park fee per dive which is fair and they give you a plan of the parks to show where all the dive buoys are. 
 When we were diving we saw one other boat on another dive mooring that left when we arrived - that was it so it isn't busy.  We did a couple of dives in the marine park around a rocky island about a mile out of Gustavia - we saw our first shark of the caribbean! - ok it wasn't much of a shark I'll put up a pic when I get time but it was a 3 foot long nurse shark asleep on the bottom.  The water was really clear though and we saw plenty of fish - quite a few large barracuda patrolling around the reefs and the fish are all pretty unafraid.
After a busy day diving we left Gustavia at 5pm for an overnight sail back to Antigua as we wanted to go there for the Classic Yacht regatta, it was only 90 miles so should have seen us arriving by 9 or 10 in the morning but there was hardly any wind so at about 2pm we finally pulled back into Falmouth Harbour in Antigua. . .
We've been here the last few days, it's been good fun - there is a race just outside of the Harbour every morning which usually takes til about 1, you can go out in your dingy to watch (we couldn't be bothered to take Stargazer out). .  or you can go and sit on the top of one of the 3 old forts with a picnic which quite a few people were doing.  We went out in the dingy yesterday and risked life and limb dodging the boats so we could share some pictures! - luckily the winds have been light so the sea was nice and flat and we floated about for a couple of hours watching the starts of all the different race classes - there are some 'normal' size boats competing here and also some giants with the 130 odd foot J class yachts.
The atmosphere ashore has been great - we've met up with a few people we haven't seen for quite some time (Porto Santo in two cases) and we've met some new people.  The yacht club here has entertainment on every night - it's all very civilised, it has a nice lawn in front of the club bar and they've put out chairs and tables and a stage for the band and tent for drinks - what more could you ask for?  Everyone is welcome there and there are various free food and drink events so it's been good.  Yesterday we spent the afternoon sat on Jim's boat watching the parade of all the classic yachts in the regatta through english harbour (it's quite a squeeze for some of the really big boats).
Some pics of the events!
Watching an evening of strange music and impromptu acts at the Antigua Yacht Club. . .
English Harbour on Jim's boat watching the hilariously commentated 'parade of sail' - the guy doing the commentating was very posh and sounded like he had been doing it for probably the last hundred years, he had to do a lot of ad-libbing as the boats took their time to go past - brilliant
Velsheda - huge and stunning J class boat (1933 not looking bad for her age)- she was sailing back and forth waiting for the race start and we were trying to stay out of the way
The start line of the Spirit of Tradition Class, Valsheda and Ranger - their timing to get those boats over the start line at exactly the right second was amazing - even in light winds our tender couldn't keep up with these at all it was incredible to watch them just take off and disappear
Crew out on the rails of Ranger - another of the J class boats - if they fed the crew up a bit more they would be better ballast
The Old Gaffers Milling about before their race
Elena - too many sails for any boat