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Tony Maidment – The Skipper’s Skipper

For a sixty-year-old salt, Tony Maidment has done more than your average skipper. His career started in 1968 — in a pub in the UK — when he and a pal were asked to sail to the Caribbean. Despite their lack of training, they both agreed and not long after arrived in Grenada without any mishaps.

There, Tony watched Don Street giving sailing instruction, after which Don taught Tony how to sail. Subsequently, Tony became skipper of the 90′ charter wooden sloop Gitana IV. From there, he progressed to skippering to Martinique in a variety of boats for Caribbean Sailing Yachts (the first charter company in the Caribbean). Those were the days when there were no boats to be seen in the Tobago Keys.

From 1972 until 1979 Tony sailed mostly in the Med as a charter skipper and many of his trips were on the 71′ Ksenija. There were no boats in Dubrovnik at the time, either.

Back in the Caribbean in 1979 (a time when day workers in Grenada were paid $EC3 a day and a maid cost $EC7 a week!) Tony was responsible for building a large dock for CSA from what the locals called “bulletwood” – heavy and hard enough to repel ‘teredos’ and ‘gribbles’. The trees, the size of telegraph poles, were brought down to the shore by many workers and plunged into the water where their own weight drove them into place. Tony saw the dock there recently and reports that it’s still in good shape.

Later in the Seventies, Tony lived in Hollywood, Florida, for seven years where he exported marine equipment to the Eastern Caribbean. Tiring of this, though, he finally settled for good in Antigua in 1987, having also fitted in two single-handed Transatlantic crossings.

In Antigua, Tony ran a fishing boat for five years, using a 25-mile long line (the first of its kind on the island) with 400 hooks. This was a big commercial success and often he was able to sell 3000lbs of fish, mainly swordfish, every week. Up to then, few had known that they even existed in Antiguan waters.

He has been with the Antigua Yacht Club for years and has, several times, been its Commodore. He is well known on the water as the owner of 33′ Tango Mike. These days, his main job, apart from building houses for friends, is that of Chief Measuring Officer at the AYC.

Tony has two children, aged 20 and 24, who are both, as you might expect, seasoned sailors.

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