February 9, 2018

Valentine’s Regatta 2018

Today sees the return of the Jolly Harbour Yacht Club Valentine’s Regatta. This popular weekend of racing is in its 24th year, and with winds forecast to be of up to 30 knots, it is sure to be an exhilarating weekend of sailing.

With a practice race being held this afternoon at 3pm, those wishing to participate had better hurry, as registration closes at 6pm tonight. Tomorrow kicks off with a packed schedule of four races, with three races planned for Sunday. With scoring starting from 10 am tomorrow, we look forward to enjoying a fantastic weekend of sailing.


By Laura Barber

February 5, 2018

Antigua Superyacht Challenge 2018

The Antigua Superyacht Challenge is something of an enigma, and this is probably due to the exclusivity of the event where no sponsorship is deemed necessary. This exclusive event has been created especially for the owners of Superyachts that exceed 80 feet, and consists of five days of spirited fun and camaraderie between the competitors, both afloat and ashore. In fact, the coveted Gosnell Trophy is awarded to the worthiest yacht that has competed the fairest, and in the Spirit of Regatta.


Racing, yacht Rebecca

The Antigua Superyacht Challenge is held at the historic Nelson’s Dockyard, providing a stunning background for this special occasion. With seven impressive yachts signed up for this year’s event, it is sure to be a fabulous regatta.


Racing underway

There are events planned for every evening, kick starting with the traditional Welcome Cocktail Party held at the picturesque Gunpowder House Restaurant overlooking Nelson’s Dockyard on the evening of the 31st January. This is followed on Thursday night by the famous Cook Off, with a fancy-dress theme of Diwali, and Friday there is a paddle board competition and beach party. A trip to the Caribbean wouldn’t be complete without a traditional night of cocktails, food, dancers, and entertainers. With racing starting at 11am every day, the competitors had better take care when sampling the local rum!

The list of the yachts taking part is impressive, with six of the seven yachts having competed in last year’s regatta.

In the Corsairs Class-

SPIIP, a 34.2 metre Royal Huisam, was built in 2000. She has a beam of 7.8 metres, and a top speed of 14 knots.


Elfje, is a 46 metre Royal Huisman, built in 2014. She has a beam of 7.1 meters, and a top speed of 12 knots. Her owner is Wendy Schmidt, the wife of Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmit. She founded the 11th Hour Project in 2006 to support the wiser use of our energy, food and water resources in the world. In fact, Wendy played a huge role in the building of her eco-friendly yacht Elfje, which is extremely fuel efficient.


Rebecca is a 42.43 metre, German Frers design reproduction ketch. She has a traditional design, but with all the latest sailing technology which has been subtly blended so as not to spoil her classic looks. She even has a wireless audio system so that the crew can communicate effectively



In the Buccaneers Class-

Acadia is 27.5 metre, a Hoek design, and was built in 2016. She has beam of six metres, and although has all the classic lines, she is fitted out with all the latest technologies.


Acadia in pursuit of the yacht Zig Zag.

Zig Zag is a 25 metre Oyster built in 2007, and has a beam of 6.4 metres.


Marama is a 32 metre aluminium ketch, with Paul Deeth, the owner of Admiral’s Inn, at the helm for the regatta.


Danneskjold is a 32 metre Dixon Yacht design, built in 2009. She has a beam of 7 metres, and a top speed of 12 knots.


Danneskjold with her eye-catching sails


With the fifth and final race held yesterday (Sunday 4th Feb), it was everything to play for in the Corsairs Class. With the wind building throughout the day, the yachts in the Corsairs Class battled it out over the 23 mile course. With Elfje taking first place, Spiip second, and Rebecca third. Spiip still managed to clinch first place overall in the regatta, even though it was only by one point, with Elfje coming second, and Rebecca third.

The yachts in the Buccaneers class completed an 18 mile course, with Acadia securing first place once again. In fact, Acadia accomplished a perfect score line throughout the regatta and were confirmed winners of their class. Danneskjold took second, and with Zig Zag picking up a penalty point, she shared third place with Marama.


Tied back up after a great day of sailing

In an area so seeped with the history of battles and hostility afloat, it is great to see Nelson’s Dockyard engaging in a modern day spirit of a more amenable nature. With no blood shed, just good spirits and camaraderie, they battled it out to win the sought-after barrels rum, and the Gosnell trophy. Congratulations to Spiip, who not only won their class, but also the Gosnell Trophy, showing good sportsmanship and spirit throughout the regatta.  The prize giving was held at the Admiral’s Inn, a fitting setting to conclude this unique and memorable regatta, and we look forward to seeing the battle between the Superyachts re-commence next year.

By Laura Barber

January 21, 2018

Exploring Guadeloupe by Yacht continued…

Continuing south from Pigeon Island, we decided to give Basse-Terre a miss and carry on down to the Isles Des Saintes. We motored around, exploring some of the smaller islands before picking up a mooring at Bourg De Saintes. Venturing ashore after having lunch aboard, we were pleasantly surprised with the range of shops, including a choice of some lovely craft and gifts. We bought a couple of fantastic little watercolours from a resident artist, depicting local scenes. A great little memento to take home. There are numerous bars and restaurants to choose from and we chose Ti Kaz, a popular restaurant overlooking the bay. The outlook was spectacular.

We woke up in the morning to see the mega yacht Maltese Falcon anchored behind us, not something you see every day! This 88 metre luxury sailing mega yacht is available to charter and can accommodate up to 12 guests.

Maltese Falcon

Back to reality on our more affordable yacht, we indulge in freshly baked croissants and other bakery delights that are one of the bonuses of visiting a French island. Continuing round, we picked up mooring at Pain de Sucre. With the water being much clearer, snorkeling was in order. Keeping to the rocky coastline, the collection of multi-coloured fish was amazing, including starfish, rays, eels, turtles, and an array of multi-coloured reef fish.

Reef Guadeloupe 2

With the wind picking up slightly in the afternoon, a spot of windsurfing was in order. With my Kindle in hand, I settled down to read on the fore deck, while my husband kept himself entertained jibing across the bay.

Dan windsurfing Guadeloupe

The following day we lifted the anchor, and headed for the island of Marie Galante. A careful approach is required due to the vast number of fishing buoys that litter the approach to the bay of St Louis. This is a beautiful bay with crystal, clear water. Taking the dingy ashore to find some where for lunch, we were somewhat let down with what was on offer. Returning to the boat for lunch, we decided to continue south and head for Grand Bourg. Described as a ‘picturesque harbour with lots of amenities’, we were disappointed with what we discovered. With no berths, or anchoring available inside the harbour, we turned and headed back up the way we’d come and decided to anchor at Folle Anse, which is positioned between St Louis and Grand Bourg. This is a completely deserted stretch of beach and one could imagine a castaway setting. With the advantage of being self-sufficient, the BBQ was soon lit and our  dinner underway. For all its false starts of Marie Galante, you could not fault the crystal, clear waters that surround you. It would, however, be one stop I would miss out in future.

With Point-a- Pitre our next destination, we raised the anchor with thoughts of French cuisine making our mouths water. Choosing to go into a marina for the first time on our trip, we were not disappointed with the Marina Bas-du- Fort. The place is a hub of bars, restaurants and shops and was quite a sensory overload after our peaceful itinerary so far. But with delicious smells assaulting our senses who were we to complain. We were spoilt for choice, with a large selection of waterside restaurants offering a variety of fare. Satisfyingly full, we spent the afternoon relaxing on the boat, before heading out to enjoy the sunset at one of the many bars on offer. The shops, in traditional French custom, stay open late and offers the opportunity for some evening browsing.

Clearing out of customs after breakfast was a delight, as once again we were presented with a computer terminal. Throwing off the stern lines we headed out of the marina and enjoyed absorbing the stunning coastline from our yacht as we made our way east. We headed for the Petite-Terre islands, two uninhabited islands. The approach is quite hair raising, so check your charts, and you also have the current to contend with. Poking our nose in, it looked an amazing place to spend the night but unfortunately there were no mooring buoys available. With only 14 provided and a couple of boats already queuing we decided to cut our losses, as it is a National Nature Reserve, you are unable to anchor. I think that when the day boats go, the place would be quite magical, with only the smattering of other boats that are moored to share the islands with. Definitely one to add to a future itinerary.

As there are few sheltered places to anchor on the east side of the island we decided to head back towards Antigua and spend the night at Green Island.

Green Island

Green Island is uninhabited, unless of course you count the abundant hermit crabs that have made it their home. The bay is well protected due to the numerous reefs that litter this area, which in turn provides a snorkeling paradise. There are various places to disappear and explore, so you don’t need to concern yourself with an influx of other snorkelers. Swimming alongside rays and puffer fish, turtles, and yellow tailed snappers, it really was a perfect way to end our yacht charter.

By Laura Barber


January 11, 2018

Exploring Guadeloupe by Yacht

With the heating turned up and the curtains closed tight against the driving rain, thoughts can easily turn to escaping it all and soaking up the sun on some island paradise. With sun drenched beaches, turquoise sea and an abundance of marine life to discover, the Caribbean has it all. We decided to explore the French island of Guadeloupe on our own private yacht.

Map Guadeloupe

Positioned south of Antigua and north of Dominica, it is part of the Leeward Islands. When you look on a map, the main islands resemble a butterfly, and although are often referred to as a single island are in fact two. Basse-Terre to the west, and Grande-Terre to the east. They are separated by the Salee’ River, but connected by bridges. Guadeloupe also includes the smaller islands of Marie-Galante, La Desirade and the Iles des Saintes, so there is plenty to explore.

As there are no direct flights from the UK to Guadeloupe, we chose to start our yacht charter from Antigua. With direct daily flights of less than eight hours it was by far the easiest choice for us. Alternatively, you can fly from the UK to Paris and catch a connecting direct fight to Guadeloupe.

Leaving Jolly Harbour, we arrived at Deshaies, north east of Guadeloupe, in less than three and a half hours. Deshaies makes an ideal stop as you can clear customs easily with the welcoming blinking eye of a computer terminal, which is every cruisers dream. Ten minutes and two euros later, we were all done. With a hammock and several other souvenirs later, yes, I think these terminals are strategically placed (!) we went to have a wander round. With a range of shops to explore and a variety of restaurants to choose from, we settled on a bustling restaurant overlooking the bay. Trying to be adventurous we both ordered Ti Punch, a poplar local aperitif. Wow, it was too strong for us! After a delicious lunch of fresh fish and steak, we returned to our vessel for a siesta.  With the afternoon spent swimming and snorkeling we settled for a relaxing BBQ aboard our yacht for the night.

catherine's bar

Catherine’s Bar, aka Death in Paradise, Deshaies.

Raising the anchor after breakfast we headed south, anchoring just off the mainland at Malendure Beach, opposite Pigeon Island. Relaxing on the fore deck you can hardly miss the number of turtles surfacing the water in the bay. Donning our snorkels, in we went. I don’t think that I have ever swum where there have been so many turtles,  it was amazing.

Turtle Guadeloupe

We waited until later in the afternoon before taking the dingy across to Pigeon Island, as it can become very popular with the dive boats and snorkelers. With everyone gone, we had the place to ourselves After tying our dingy to one of the many buoys provided, do not drop your anchor here, we entered the Coral Garden, which is two tiny islets and part of the Guadeloupe National Park. We were amazed by how clear the water was and disappearing beneath the water you enter a truly different world. With a unique concentration of marine life, you will be rewarded with an array of colourful reef fish. It is one of the best places to snorkel in Guadeloupe.

Parrot fish

Pleasantly exhausted from a day of swimming and snorkeling, dining aboard was agreeable by all.

Catch up on my next blog to see where we travel to next…

By Laura Barber



January 1, 2018

Yachting in Antigua continued…..

Raising the anchor at English Harbour, we took the short trip round to Falmouth Harbour and once again anchored, this time just off Pigeon Beach. The water was amazingly clear, and we enjoyed snorkeling off the boat, spotting many turtles. We took the dingy ashore and had an amazing lunch at Catherine’s Café Plage. Relaxing on the sunbeds and hammocks afterwards makes it more than just a lunchtime booking. After prising ourselves from our stupor, we decided to explore Falmouth and continued round on the dingy. Falmouth has the hustle and bustle of lots of restaurants and bars positioned close together and evokes a lively atmosphere. We stopped for dinner at Cloggy’s, a restaurant positioned with amazing views over the marina and a great way to spot which superyachts are in. Falmouth, alongside English Harbour, is the base for the renowned Antigua Yacht Charter Show.  From the 5th-9th December the place literally becomes overrun with superyachts and mega yachts which are all available for private charter.

Continuing round the island will lead you to Carlisle Bay, which is a beautifully protected anchorage with two of the top hotel resorts on the island hugging its coastline. It’s a great place to snorkel and to indulge in a variety of water sports. We lowered the jet ski and had great fun riding the waves, water-skiing, and gripping hold of the Screamer, aptly named. The warm turquoise seas make participating in any water sports a pleasure.

dan monoski

Heading up the east side of the island you come to Cades Reef. This is a horseshoe shaped reef that offers great protection when snorkeling or diving. There are over two miles of reef to explore and an abundance of sea life to discover, this is an unmissable stop. We saw rays, puffer fish, turtles, yellow tailed snappers, barracuda, among a host of other reef fish.

turtle antigua

There are numerous picture-perfect beaches on the return trip to Jolly Harbour, and we chose to anchor off Darkwood Beach to enjoy the last few hours of our charter aboard our yacht. Indulging in one last cocktail, with the sun setting gave an enchanting end to our amazing week.


By Laura Barber