Now we've really done it

Not content with just going to the ball, The old Slapper is now taking part in the Antigua Classics race series.   We are actually going to be racing around the marks in the close, though I hope not too close, company of the likes of Valsheda, Adele and Windrose to mention just a few of the better known names. These boats are true legends of classic boat racing and I'm already starting to feel a slight dryness in the back of my throat as I realise the enormity of what I have just let us in for. You see I now have this mental picture etched in my mind of us arriving at one of the marks we have to go around in this salubrious company, you see they set us off in four groups and we're in the first one. The likes of Valsheda, who is 130 feet long,  are released last and then they come up through the fleet at an awesome pace, with their numerous crew all dressed in their corporate outfits. Well if we just happen to be at a mark when she catches up with us I just hope we don't shame ourselves. But seriously it will be great fun and a huge privilege to be in it and I feel LadyC deserves to have a bit of a treat after looking after us so well. Being in the company of some of the most prestigious classic racing yachts ever built will, I'm sure make her feel very special indeed.  It's still raining, raining, raining here and I really don't think it's ever going to stop. We arrived in Falmouth harbour Antigua yesterday after a fairly lumpy and wet sail from Guadeloupe and we anchored in Freeman's bay. This morning we went to check in through customs and on the way I took a trip up to the back of the marina to dump the rubbish. As I walked up to the bins the wind was howling the rain was pouring down and the leaves were falling off the trees. If it wasn't for the fact that I was in shorts and T shirt and perspiring slightly I could have been back in the UK on a November day.
 
Update Thursday 15th April
 
Gaynor and I spent half a day  in incredible heat getting LadyC ready for the big event and yesterday afternoon we brought her round to Falmouth harbour.  On arrival we were told that we could go either bow or stern to right slap bang in front of the Antigua Yacht Club.  It's a two storey building and everyone sits out on the upstairs  terrace overlooking the Marina.  The space we had to get into was very tight and we choose to drop the anchor and take a long stern line ashore so we could winch ourselves in, stern to, and I'm very pleased to report that it all went well.  Last night was the welcome party which involved a band and barbecue on the lawn in front of the club and for this most prestigious event LadyC was the backdrop, sitting right at the waters edge the first boat to be seen and she didn't disappoint.  Looking every bit a classic yacht she appeared to be so proud and honored to be moored there, lit up,  right in front of everyone and as close to the action as you could possibly get. In spite of being on the same pontoon as Valsheda,Ambrose, Rebecca and Astor she got plenty of attention and lots of very positive comments.  As Gaynor and I have never raced before we had enquired about taking on some crew so, at least half of us would have race experience, and we were told that it wouldn't be any problem to find some.   It's a very small world and as we sat in a bar enjoying a beer and trying to work out what on earth made us commit to this crazy plan, I looked up and saw Mike Frith, the marine artist from Chichester who sails his yacht Blue Eagle from Itchenor.  He is out here with his girlfriend Sandy and together with another couple from the UK we now have a full crew of 6.
 
Newsflash 1800 hrs
 
We have just won 2nd place in the privately maintained Vintage class of the Concours de Elegance and we are over the moon, it's such a huge event and the number and quality of boats is very impressive,  We haven't raced yet but who knows, with a favorable rating watch out Valsheda here comes LadyC.
 
Hasta El final de las corridas
 
LadtC and her crew, with a very nice plaque.