Six traditional Carriacou sloops – Ocean Nomad, Genesis, Tradition, Sweetheart, Good Expectations and Summer Cloud – plus the Nevis schooner Alexander Hamilton – enjoyed great weather and ideal sailing conditions on May 1 and 2 for the second annual edition of the West Indies Regatta, an informal race for small wooden sailing ships. The boats are reminders of the days when others like these sailed in and out of the Port of Gustavia carrying rum and fish to trade for cigarettes and alcohol.
“The goal of the event is to promote and encourage traditional West Indian boat building,” says Alexis Andrews, a photographer from Antigua and a champion of the Carriacou sloops. “We hope people will like these boats and want to build new ones or rescue some of the old ones you see on a beach someplace. There are a few old ones in the Grenadines but it takes a lot to resurrect an old wooden boat.”
“This is as authentic as you can get,” says Lee Davidson, an American resident of Saint Barth, who served as crew aboard Alexander Hamilton. “It’s sailing without any embellishment. These boats are the essence of what everyone did down here 50 years ago. In Antigua, we were racing on the open water with large swells. Here it is much calmer, and this event is perfect for anyone who likes the water and West Indian heritage.”