While giant multihulls and monster monohulls flew around the Atlantic and Caribbean setting records this summer, a group of sailors from Trinidad and Tobago quietly broke a sailing record of their own, one that has stood for 55 years. When Legacy, a Soveral 43, built by Formula III Marine, in Chaguaramas, left Antigua for the Azores, Captain Reginald Williams and his crew of Nicole Williams, Leonard Chan Chow and Martin Subero had one thing in mind. They were determined to become the fastest Trinidad and Tobago nationals, sailing a local built boat, to make the Atlantic crossing. They achieved their goal, making landfall in 16 days and 23 hours.
The previous record of 36 days was set in 1960 by Trinidad and Tobago nationals Harold and Kwailan LaBorde and their friend Kelvin ‘Buck’ Wong Chong, sailing the locally built 26ft yacht Hummingbird.
Having followed Hummingbird’s course, and having cut just over 17 days of the elapsed time for the crossing, the first thing Captain Williams did on stepping ashore was call Harold La Borde with the news. La Borde happily agreed that a new record had been set and sent his congratulations to boat and crew.
Speaking of Hummingbird’s 1960 crossing, an elated Captain Williams said: “It has been an honor to sail in their wake. May God bless and watch over all those who have wished us well, or prayed for our safe arrival and may God watch over all those who go down to the sea in ships.”
Legacy’s arrival in the Azores marked the first part of the adventure. Having set a new record their next goal was to sail to England and compete in Cowes Week in August. The famous eight-day regatta, started in 1826, is the largest sailing event in the U.K. Featuring forty different classes; the event attracts more than 8000 professional and amateur sailors from around the world. This will be the first time ever that a locally built boat from Trinidad and Tobago will participate.
Before leaving for England, Captain Williams thanked Caribbean Airlines for supporting their voyage and noted it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of family and friends. “Legacy now continues northward under sail non-stop to the United Kingdom. It’s a great day to be a sailor!” he said.
After competing in Cowes Week, Legacy, which was built in 1984, will set sail for Trinidad and complete their historic circle of the Atlantic.
For more information, visit: www.operationsouthman.com/what-is-operation-southman-.html
Report by Sharon Chan Chow with additional reporting by Gary E. Brown.