Monday, April 23, 2012


Decadent; definition, Marked by or providing unrestrained gratification; self-indulgent Now on Sunday we dined at the Admirals Inn English Harbour Antigua. The setting looks out on the pillars of old sail loft and the tables are set on the same flagstones that Nelson walked over all those years ago. Starting with asparagus and prosciutto and finishing off with pineaple sorbet for Sandy and lime ginger sorbet for me. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Sounds like it might have been decadent and it definitely was.
Eilean was racing, this lovely old yacht built by William Fife in Fairlie on the Clyde in 1936 and survivor of 36 Transatlantic passages was discovered rotting in the mangroves in English Harbour, transported back to an Italian boatyard and rebuilt with 40,000 hours of loving labor. Now she belongs to Panerai the watchmakers, sponsors of Antigua Classics and boat racers. OH yes she was also used by Duran Duran, captained by teen idol Simon Le Bon, to shoot the video for the song “Rio”, included on the album of the same name, one of the British band's best selling records. Could this be decadent?
We spotted this lovely old boat, another Fifer called Tuiga. She was launched on 20th May 1909 at Fairlie in Scotland, at the yard owned by her architect, William Fife III, one of the most famous yacht designers of all time for the Spanish duke of Medinaceli who really preferred big game hunting, so he gave his new racer the name of one of his African prey, the giraffe, which in Swahili is Tuiga. After a long racing and summer cruising career Tuiga, now old and infirm (she almost sank during her voyage to England in 1990) became the seafaring equivalent of Faust. She was purchased by a benevolent demon who took an interest in her soul. Albert Obrist didn’t like sailing, but admired yachts, especially those designed by Fife. He had just finished the exemplary restoration of Altair. With a historian’s loyalty and perseverance, he decided to bring Tuiga back to her original 1909 condition which he duly did. This includes NO SAIL WINCHES! She is now owned and sailed by the Monaco Yacht Club. Monaco Yacht Club sure sounds decadent to me.
We counted 40 crew on this competitor. 40 crew sounds decadent to me.
If you are sailing a giant schooner and you have your jib staysail yankee, foresail, mainsail, fisherman staysail and jackyard topsail all hoisted and drawing well and the course consists of two reaching legs. That sounds pretty decadent to me.
Someone decided to build an eyeball replica of a J class yacht but with an ultralight carbon fibre hull, dyneema rigging, a torpedo keel and spade rudder. Now this sounds decadent to me. Finally we made our way home to Elephants Child sitting in the safe harbor of Falmouth. Sitting in the cockpit and listening to the sounds of evening jazz coming over the water from the Antigua Yacht Club. This just might have been a truly decadent day.

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