Sometime in late 1983 the Soverel 30 was sold. The owner needed to concentrate on finishing his new boat. This was another Mark Soverel design based on his 41′ Locura. There were to be 2 boats built and the first one was nearing completion. I was actually working for the boat builder for the last few months before launching.
Soverel 42 Legacy
The first of the 2 boats to be built was named Legacy. As mentioned above, I was actually employed by the owner in the last few months to help get her ready to launch. I was hired because I was sort of “between jobs” at that time. Work was getting in the way of sailing for me in those days. When Legacy was launched in 1983 she was state of the art for those times. I think she may have been the first modern race boat built in the Caribbean in Trinidad by a local boat builder for a local owner.
Lots of firsts for me with this boat. First time I had seen a 3 spreader rig; Also, was the first time I’d seen Kevlar sails as well. Even had delivery sails! All boats that I’d sailed on up to this point had one set of Dacron sails that served for both racing and cruising. More steep learning curve for the crew again.
Straight out of the Box
I remember that we were rushing to get everything ready for our first regatta in Grenada over the Easter weekend. We had moved the boat out of the factory and over to the sailing club on a truck. There the keel was put on and the mast steeped. When it was launched there was only 2″ clearance on either side in the Travelift pen. Had to pick a really calm, early morning and used carpet as fenders.
I don’t remember the first time she went sailing. I had left that job and was delivering and racing another Soverel 30 in Martinique. They were late so there wasn’t much shakedown sailing in Trinidad. The next time I saw the boat was when I met her in Grenada and had our first practice sail on the day before the regatta start.
I vaguely remember anything about that regatta. We were the newest boat there and everyone wanted to sail with us. Didn’t help that the owner was really popular as well. We sailed with extra crew every day and it was a major learning experience. Trying to figure out the tuning and everyone’s jobs. We had 13 crew and only 5 of us had sailed together before. This was supposed to be our shake down and practice for Antigua Sail Week. We did not know what we did not know.
I was “promoted” from sail trimmer on the Soverel 30 to mast man on the 42. I knew the bowman in passing but we had never sailed together until now. Needless to say we became great friends and sail together to this day. All the other crew were from different boats in the sailing club as well. We managed to get through the regatta without breaking anything so thought that this was a major achievement. No problem. We got this. On to Antigua.
Delivery Grenada to St Lucia
We left Grenada to go to Antigua. No rush, we had a week to get there. After the last few stressful months getting the boat ready, we were taking it easy. First stop Bequia and spend the night. Nice run ashore. Lovely cocktails at the Harpooner Saloon. Back to the boat without mishap.
Next day while debating whether or not to stop in St Lucia, we get news that the beers have run out. Owner apoplectic. Cannot understand how that is possible. Foredeck crew blamed (the beginning of a pattern starting to emerge). Plans made to stop in Marigot Bay in St Lucia to re supply.
On anchoring, fore deck crew informed that they will be in charge of the shore party consisting of themselves. No dinghy will be inflated so find your way ashore, get beers and bring back to the boat. No problem. Tee shirts and money in an ice bag and swim ashore. This is how adventures in the Caribbean start. Just so, from out of the blue…
Ashore in St Lucia
After landing, the shore party interrogate a local bar maid and get to find out that the cheapest and best grocery is at the top of the “hill”. So, we fortify with some cold beers and set off to climb the hill. About half-way up the hill we meet a Rasta man sitting under a tree with 3 goats. We join him to take a rest, smoke some “local” cigarettes and get some updated directions to the grocery. He informs us that he knows an even better grocery named Super Freak and furthermore we cannot miss it. Won’t need directions, you will know it when you hear it.
Continuing up the hill we soon hear music and the words “Super Freak” over and over again. This seems to be a sign so we follow and soon come upon a brightly painted yellow building. On entering, we see that it is indeed a grocery but all the customers appear to be break dancing in the aisles! Not to be left out, we immediately join in the festivities.
Seems there was a time warp but next thing I remember is sitting under a tree with a rastaman and some goats. Only this time we have 6 cases of beer, a watermelon and a bottle of Sunset strong rum. It appears the Rasta has a friend that will drop us back down the hill with our cargo. Next thing a guy pulls up in a panel van and we load up our cargo plus ourselves and the Rasta and his goats and set off. When we get to the top of the steepest part of the hill, the driver pulls out a tin of brake fluid and pours it into a funnel in the dashboard! “Brakes need a turbo boost Mon!” And down the hill we go! 2 Rastas, 2 bowmen and 3 goats! Arrive at the dock in a cloud of dust and meet another friend of the Rasta who drops us back out to the boat. All in all a most successful venture.
St Lucia to Antigua
On returning aboard it seems that the time warp’s effects have become noticeable. It appears that we were gone for hours and not the one hour that we thought. Pull anchor, set sail and off we go again. Next night we are anchored in Portsmouth in Dominica. The purpose for the watermelon now becomes clear. Bowman decides we will cut a hole in the melon and pour the Sunset strong rum into it to make a nice desert for when we get to Antigua. So said, so done and into the cooler to chill down.
Finally we arrive in Antigua and are sitting at a mooring waiting on Customs and Immigration to come out to the boat. Lots of boats arriving for Race Week so it’s taking some time. Eventually the officials arrive. Grumpy as to be expected. We are working on the bow and do not see. But the owner cuts the watermelon and is giving the officials the “refreshing” melon to eat. When we get down below and realize it’s too late. The guys have transformed and are as happy as can be! What a time getting them back into their boat! Again, all’s well that ends well.
And that’s how we got to the first of many Antigua Race Weeks. Next time I’ll go into the actual racing. That was another adventure in itself!