Now we are back in Antigua, the fun is over and the works starts. We had left the boat with a few jobs being done whilst we were back in Blighty and, while most of these were well underway, there were a few things to finish off and our bit to do as well.
Last week it was Classic Week here in Antigua. This is a huge international regatta which brings the most famous classic racing yachts to Falmouth Harbour. As these are classic boats, the first day is spent on the docks with the boats being judged as to which is the best looking. We went for a wander down the docks on Thursday afternoon to check them out. One of the most famous is Rebecca - this is being partly crewed by the boys here at Antigua rigging, and we were lucky enough to get on board for a quick tour.
The tour started at the helm - it is really quite scary when you stand at the helm and realise how little you can see, barely the bow of the boat! It is also quite hairy at the front as well, as in order to fit the new super-duper hydraulic furlers they had to cut back the guard rails. If you are one of the bowmen whilst Rebecca is being raced, the chance of you going overboard is so high they have their very own 'chase boat' to pick you up!! The usual crew is 8, but when racing this increases to 32, it takes four days to change the sails from normal cruising sails to racing sails. They won the race the day we had been on board but with a torn headsail costing around $150k, it was an expensive day out!
Rebecca also has two mascots, pit bull dogs which go everywhere with her, not us they would be much use as guard dogs though!
It's a long way to the bow!!
Rebecca's guard dogs!
Rebecca in full race mode
Although on deck Rebecca is all kitted out for serious racing, down below is a different matter. There are two large living areas, one a fully furnished library, with large sofas and deck level windows, the cabins are also extremely luxurious, you can almost entirely forget you are on a boat. There are paintings on all the wall and 2 very amusing faxes sent by the owners to each other, one stating he had sent 'bucket loads' of cash to fit out the boat, and the response stating that 'bucket loads of cash' seemed a bit light considering the usual cost would be 'truck loads' of cash!
On Sunday, to finish off the week, there is Classics Parade in English Harbour. The wind prevented us travelling there by dinghy, but we had a bird's eye view from the top of Shirley Heights, watching the boats struggle to get in and out of the harbour, the wind was tricky and as some of these boats have no engines, it made for an interesting spectacle.
Classic's Parade viewed from Shirley Heights
Anyway, visit over we headed off for a trip into the centre of Antigua to meet the woman responsible for producing the coal pots for the regatta we are doing up to Maine. This turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, as she was not home and the person we spoke to was not so friendly, shame really, but never mind. After that we went to the chandlers and visited our friends, David & Suzanne, who had just arrived back from a visit home.
Last night we had dinner out on Nelson's Dockyard with David & Suzanne, and today we have knocked off yet more jobs, we are now nearly ready to set off on Tuesday, which is our goal date, so fingers crossed!!