I know i am a bit late and they have had a whole other regatta here since then, but better late than never right?
On the last day of racing in the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta the winds had picked up to stronger conditions than Zemi had ever dailed in. We needed more lead ballast that we had below deck and there were other parts of the vessel that needed to be tested properly in these conditions. We knew that we had to just sail conservatively to win overall in the Traditional Class, so we decided to reef our main sail. This means making it smaller so that we would have less power. As it happens, while bringing the boat back to Jolly Harbour the next day, we broke a critical piece of hardware. If that had happened during the race we would have not been able to win.
We approached the reaching start slightly early and decided to tack. There was a slight mess up on the head sail trim and we stalled into the wind. By the time we got back on track we were late for the start and the fleet had sailed on in front.
With better winds, Genesis which had won this regatta in the Traditional Class more than any other Carriacou Sloop was more competitive. Alexis Andrews had lengthened her from 40 foot to 42 which hurt her rating and didn’t do much for her overall speed in light winds because she kept the same rig. In heavier winds the rig had enough power for the new waterline length and she was way ahead of us from the start.
We slowly pulled back into second place over the next two reaches but on our sail back upwind, we struggled with our tacking and couldn’t manage to catch her. In the end we finished second over the line and second after the handicap had been figured out. This was well enough to win overall in the Traditional Class and the team were elated.
Once again we were looking very sharp. This time thanks to the Mad Mongoose Bar and Restaurant in English Harbour. Harry was staying at their B&B, Reef Gardens, and had convinced them to sponsor us with some lovely long sleeve t-shirts. I had purchased one years ago and was very happy to be wearing one of their fun shirts in the race.
After the regatta it was time for the prize giving. Most of our team decided to go have a last minute meal at the Mad Mongoose right before and the meal was great as usual. I always go for the Steak and Guinness Pie. Lovely! With only seconds to spare we arrived at The Copper and Lumber Store just as they were awarding trophies in our class. Overall in the Class it was Summer Cloud third, Genesis second and our boat Zemi first. One of our prizes was a lovely bottle of aged Rum from Mount Gay and of course the crew managed to polish it off before the ceremony was over.
It was a great regatta and unfortunately it may be my last one on Zemi as I have decided to sell her. She is the newest and largest Carriacou Sloop in Antigua and I just don’t have enough business to keep her and Ocean Nomad on charter. She needs to be finished below deck but apart from that she’s ready to sail. My plans have changed since I commissioned Zemi and a house is the priority for now. Will blog more info about the boat soon. Thanks for reading. Eli