Saturday, April 30, 2011

MD Overseas: Day 114: Adventure Antigua Eco Tour

MD Overseas: Day 114: Adventure Antigua Eco Tour: "Sunday started out a little overcast, and had us a bit worried. However, by the time the day started, it was blue skies with a few clouds. ..."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta summary 2011

Well after getting our boat Zemi ready to race the day before the regatta started, we didn't have much time to do much training. We had spent a month on the dock sanding and painting, making a new rudder, making new spreaders and modifying the mast. We also had to melt up lead and add internal ballast.

We put new winches on the boat as well as a bunch of lines and blocks. Our crew was one of the best i have sailed with though and we got out on the course every day before any of the other yachts had left the dock.
Here you see us wearing some t-shirts which were a gift from a lovely clothing shop in St. Johns called  Rasta Pasta. The hats and later the red shirts were a gift from Mount Gay rum. Thanks guys!
Leaving the dock early each day helped us fine tune the equipment and get a feel for the boat in the light air. The winds were unusually light and shifty which helped us as we were don't have enough internal lead ballast and the wooden boat is still fairly "dry". It will take a while before the wood has soaked up all the water it can. Anyway, before the first race we made a big mistake before the start by getting ourselves nearly into a penalty position between the start boat and the shore just before the start.

To avoid this we had to sail to the opposite end of the start line which caused us to start slightly later than the rest of the class.

There were seven Carriacou Sloops in our class with New Moon being the newest one straight up from Carriacou. Our boat was the largest but with a solid wooden mast and boom, we didn't have the worst penalty "rating". The worst rating went to Summer Cloud who with aluminum mast and boom and a bunch of other race modifications which made her quite unique in the class. Anyway, as expected, Summer Cloud raced ahead with Genesis behind. It took us a while to slowly pass other boats and move into second. In the end we finished over the line in second and after the penalty had been calculated (also known as corrected time) we ended up in second by just ten seconds. This race had taken over three hours and to be beaten by just ten seconds was a wake up call to all of Zemi's crew that the regatta could easily be ours. We enjoyed a swim before getting to the dock. That's the beauty about sailing in the Caribbean. Imagine trying to do that at the famous Cows Regatta!

There were three more races scheduled and we finished first on corrected time in the next two putting us in the lead.

We needed to make sure we won the last one and from the start we lead the race and the fleet until we got to the down wind mark where a massive "hole" enveloped us all. There was no wind at all and we drifted around until a gust of about one mile per hour appeared. Summer Cloud got it first and managed to slowly move around the mark while we watched our lead vanish. If she won this race the overall result would be a draw. It was a long race and they would need to beat us by about 8 minutes. When we got to the windward make we were three minutes behind them and possibly gaining in the fresh breeze. Way down behind us the majority of the fleet now sat motionless in the big hole we had sailed through. On the way to the last mark we heard the race committee over the radio say that sadly they were abandoning the race due to the lack of wind on the course. Our crew cheered knowing that there wouldn't need to have a result of the last race to make us winners.

Summer Cloud who said they heard our cheer wasn't happy at all. Of course, we will never know how far they would have finished ahead of us, but everyone on our boat knew that we would have beat them on corrected time. I know our competition all thought the opposite, but that's racing and it wasn't the first time i have seen a deciding race abandoned. So as you can imagine we were all very proud of our boat and crew. Zemi is a fast boat and may get faster when we have more ballast on board. We are looking for lead and have so far collected four hundred pounds of used wheel alignment lead.

Before the regatta we melted up the same. There is a big regatta this weekend in St. Barth (St. Barts), but sadly we won't be able to make it. Our other boat will be racing in the regatta without us and hopefully will do well in this one.  

Photos were taken by many of our crew as well as by some of the Adventure Antigua crew who came out to watch us one day. A special thanks to our crew seen here collecting our prizes.
Zemi was helped to her win by: Eli, Serge, Guilli, Nikolai, Kat, Hugo, Olly, Justin, Josh, Tom, Alan, Peter, Big John. As you can see we had plenty and they were all needed and appreciated! We also had some help getting in and out of the port from some firendly cruising yacht crew as our engine isn't here yet.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

good friday barbuda trip

This trip to Barbuda was a private family charter with friends. The whales were an almost sure thing at this time of year and with these conditions. Snorkeling with them was amazing!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta is starting today

The racing starts on Friday but today and tomorrow are registration days. In fact, tonight is the official crew party at the Antigua Yacht Club.
A few of the Adventure Antigua crew and I have been putting in 12 hour days for weeks trying to get Zemi ready for this regatta. In what seems like dejavu from 2008 when we were slapping paint on the sides of Ocean Nomad hours before the first race, it's been a mad rush to get Zemi finished. This photo was taken yesterday when we rigged her with all the modifications and the new paint job.
The cabin roof will eventually be the same colour and the deck. There is still plenty of painting to be done but she's ready to sail, race and hopefully do well in the regatta. There's a crew party put on by Mount Gay later today at the Antigua Yacht Club so if we make it there, we will have a few very deserved drinks! This has been over two months of solid work. I wish we would have had another two weeks to sail her and figure her out, but at the end of the day we will be very happy to have made it to the regatta. This little video was taken back in 2009 when we actually won our class while racing on Zemi's sister, Ocean Nomad. She is taking time off from our day tours and charters and will also be racing in this years regatta.   

Sunday, April 10, 2011

a little kitesurfing action from Jabbawock Beach in Antigua

A cool video shot at a place I used to kitesurf almost every day. Those days are done for me but Jake and others are still ripping. Enjoy the little video, but put it on mute if you have kids around. The music is "PG 13".

Saturday, April 09, 2011

more progress and a re-launch of Zemi just in time for Antigua Classics

We have just relaunched a very very dry Zemi yesterday afternoon. Her planks had contracted so much that she was taking on plenty of water after the launch. Anyway, the wood is slowly swelling and within a few days she should be well on her way. Today we plan to do some painting of the deck and by monday we will be sailing. Racing starts on Friday in the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A lovely new review of the Eco Tour on Tripadvisor

big belly party

This review is another great review of a five star trip thay you can take while you are in Antigua. Tripadvisor users have given our company 5 stars for a reason. There was a short time when our ratings went down, but over the past year we have tried exceptionally hard to improve all aspects of our trips. We are very happy to repost this trip report. Enjoy!

I am a regular visitor to Antigua as I work for a major airline that flies there. I thought as I had a long layover that I would do something different and this was something different. The boat is very spacious and gives you the chance to sunbathe but also stay in the shade if you prefer. There is a toilet, which has a 'boat' style flush system but is completely adequate. There is plenty of space to store your bags etc too, I would recommend this as when the boat gets up some speed it really does go fast, a lady lost her hat to the wind, so be careful.
We had very informative guides giving fantastic facts on the local animals and flora, conservation efforts and the general history of Antigua. The food served was great, typical Caribbean food and plenty of it, drinks were available throughout the day.
The best part was what we saw, swimming to the Devils Bridge (hell's gate) and climbing through a small cave system in the island was fantastic! Then we saw Bird Island and the different birds and snakes found there, they are harmless don't worry, but very interesting to see them all!
The snorkeling was a highlight, I couldn't get the hang of the mouthpiece and struggled with it, even though the guides were very helpful I just couldn't do it, but I was able to use the mask and just hold my breath and I saw a lot of fish and amazing things all over the reef!
Overall it's a fabulous day, I would highly recommend it, please take plenty of sunscreen or keep your shirt on most of the day as it's very hot out on the water, staff are very friendly and attentive and the value for money is will have a fantastic day and see a lot...enjoy!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Blog news and boat news... getting ready for Antigua Classics

First, some blog news:
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There is also a feedback link for each view.
In other news today we are painting exterior of Zemi to get her ready for the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. IT will be the first time she is racing in the regatta. I will post some photos tomorrow.