Are you a boat whacker or a boat caresser? It seems to depend upon your sex and the sex of the boat. If you’re a man, you generally tend to whack male boats and caress female boats; if a woman, you generally caress either sex.
At the 2009 Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta conducted off Falmouth Harbour April 16 to 21, there appear to be more female rather than male entries, perhaps because when most of these boats were built in the last century, the emphasis was on beautiful, curvaceous lines. The two J-boats, Ranger, a male and Velsheda, a female, illustrate the differences in sex according to this author.
Ranger appears to have a more hefty hull with a bulldog protruding lip at the bow which suggests more brute power, while Velsheda has a long, lean, graceful pointed bow and appears daintier.
Racing against them was the Dijkstra staysail schooner Windrose of Amsterdam, a male which exudes power suggested by all her deck gear and her rig, while Eleonora, a Hereschoff gaff schooner of similar size, is one of the most stately, graceful and gorgeous queens ever built. Her array of petticoats is beautiful but not as fast as the J-boat sloop rigs.
A new contender in their class was Rebecca, a 140-foot German Freers ketch. Her simple, uncomplicated rig on a hull with not much sheer or tumblehome suggests a male. With a ketch rig Rebecca showed faster upwind speed than the J’s but was slower on downwind legs, at least in the first two races.
A unique entry this year was Veracity, a 30-foot (male) Penzance Lugger originally built in 1903, sporting a bright lavender coat with her crew adorned in lavender trousers to match. With all red sails she was easy to spot and fun to watch when she was propelled by long oars and rowed into her place at the marina.
This year the 67-foot long, lean Nygren M Class yawl Galetea, a female, celebrated her 110th birthday, seemingly as beautiful today as she was when first built.
Another heart-stopper, built in 2006 in St. Kitts, is the feminine Kate, a 60-foot gaff 12-meter cutter which always puts photographers in a tizzy.
Two other entries have interesting histories: Alexander Hamilton, a (male) 46-foot gaff schooner, originally built by Neil Lewis of St. Thomas, was in the charter trade in the 60s, hit a rock and sunk, raised and sold only to pine away in a boat yard, then resold, resurrected and rebuilt as a hefty workboat today.
When and If, a 64-foot Alden schooner and stout old lady built in 1939, was owned by General Patton. Evidently he became exasperated at the yard’s slow progress of building her. When asked by them what he would name her, he retorted: “When and if you ever get this blankety-blank boat built, then I’ll decide what to name her!”
For more event information www.antiguaclassics.com and for race results: www.yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=248
Regatta winners 2009:
Antigua Dragon Classic Cup Course
Compass Point, Paul Richard/Hoj Jensen
Classic Class A
Juno, Robert Soros
Classic Class B
Stormvogel, Lilith Ltd.
Classic Class C
Isis of Bosham, Jim Child
Classic GRP A
Winsome, Don Ward
Classic GRP B
Calypso, Reg Murphy
Spirit of Tradition Class A
Velsheda, Tarbat Investments
Spirit of Tradition, Class B
Vortex, Brooklin Boat Yard
Traditional Class A
Ocean Nomad, Eli Fuller
Traditional Class B
Traditional Class C
Amanda, Kevin Gray
Vintage Class A
Astor, Richard & Lani Straman
Vintage Class B
Mariella, Carlo Falcone
Vintage Class C
Infanta, Tim & Josephine Blackman