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Jol Byerley’s May 05 Letter from Antigua

It really is nice to have Captain Fatty, his wife Caroline
and their yacht Wild Card back amongst us in the islands after a
circumnavigation that I am sure we will be hearing more about. Incidentally,
can anyone tell me the identity of the Pirate Queen or will I have to ask
Fatty?

At the same time
as welcoming back the Goodlanders, David and Judy Nutt and their four children,
David, Sarah, Jasper and Charlie have arrived back in Antigua after a five-year
circumnavigation on board the Danza, a 60ft steel Robert Clark design. It seems
that they all enjoyed it immensely. Daddy David had nothing but good to say
about all the people they had met. It’s probably true to say that most of us at
the end of a long voyage around the world admit to only really enjoying half of
it.

Never having
actually done a circumnavigation under sail, though, I guess that Judy and I
don’t qualify for this. But we have traveled extensively. For example, although
there were times when we loved Egypt, like the overnight express from Luxor to
Aswan when we were the only people to stay up in the Bar Room, Egypt turned out
to be probably our least favourite place. Anyway, David Nutt said his voyage
was the best education he could ever give his kids.

Alexis Andrews,
our resident photographic wizard, has had his new boat built in Carriacou in
the Grenadines which should be here in time for the Classic Regatta. Her name
is Genisis and she will join the growing fleet of Carriacou sloops which –
believe you me – are no slouches under sail. We are also very glad to welcome
two of the new Spirit Class built in the UK and shipped across the Atlantic on
Geest Line. They too will be racing in the Classic Regatta as they qualify in
the Spirit of Tradition Class.

Just the other day
the Tall Ship Youth Trust Prince William was in both Nelson’s Dockyard and
Falmouth Harbour. Some of her crew were being drilled way up on the yards. They
were practicing taking in sail, and it was quite a sight from our Book Shop as
male and female teenagers for the first time found out what it was like to be a
square rigger crew. Arrh me boys!

The ship’s Public
Relations man is Richard Barnes and he was also the past skipper. Strange to
say, there are five or six vessels of this type in the Caribbean for the winter
these days.

Finally, we were
told just a day or so ago that our old friend Apple, who has for many years run
the water taxi in Nelson’s Dockyard, was sadly suffering from a brain tumor and
had to go to Miami for surgery. Now, this isn’t cheap! But, as at many times in
the past, the yachting community in Falmouth and English Harbour were asked to
contribute what they could afford. In only a few days the response has been
tremendous. Apart from the visiting yachties, many Antiguan Day Workers have
also contributed. For Judy and I, who do the regular 9 o’clock weather forecast
on English Harbour Radio, this has been a bit of a tear-jerker. But don’t let
anyone tell you that the yachtsmen who have sailed to the Caribbean from far away
parts don’t pull their weight!

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