Location: Antigua Classics Regatta

Wakeups were delayed this morning to afford our sailors some precious extra rest. Anticipation is mounting as we get ourselves and our minds prepped for three days of sailing fast. Ryan, Anna, Tolo, and Alyssa set the tone for the day before breakfast had even begun by filling the boat with the fantastic scents of their French toast brekkie. I went for a run over the famed Goat Track trail, which offered a lofty view of the racecourse, stretching off the southern coast towards Guadeloupe. Of course, nobody was out practicing at that early hour, but no doubt tomorrow, the waters off this coast will be crowded by scores of white sails, silent to a distant observer, the tension mounted in the wind and the water that separates each of the race marks. Tomorrows race will be triangular in shape; two laps, just tacks and jibs. And weve been placed in the schooner class with some daunting competitors, including Ocean Star and the esteemed Columbia.

Marine bio midterm exam was smashed out after breakfast, and then we were boarded by judges for the Concourse de Elegance competition for which Tom had signed us up. Tom was away on official business for most of the morning, and none of us knew what we were being judged on! So when we watched the judges disappear below decks on the vessel adjacent, we went into panic mode, realizing that our living space was not up to scratch in its current condition. But did we hustle! In two minutes, our bunks were squared away, and so were those undies which had hung drying and unclaimed on the lifelines for nearly two weeks. So the judges perused around for about fifteen minutes, asking me (in Toms absence) some very technical questions about the boat while the crew verbally walked through maneuvers on deck. Finally, the judges left, having remarked on our whiteness and functionality. Indeed, we are a working boat Still, though, by the time they had left, none of us knew what we were being judged on!

The rest of the day was given to free time, shore lunches, and walking the docks to pore over the magnificent vessels taking part in the Antigua Classics Regatta. Our friends, Ocean Star, are now moored alongside us, and weve just enjoyed Rotis for dinner with them, indeed keeping our friends close and our enemies closer Ellie.

And finally, Tom returned from the skippers briefing with wonderful news; we had won not one but two medals in the Concours de Elegance! The awards were gold for SEAWORTHINESS and silver for PROFESSIONALLY MAINTAINED CLASSIC YACHT. So clear a space on the trophy shelf!!

So, wish us luck as we take on the course, pushing ourselves and Vela in ways we hadnt imagined. They say the sailor of old has sung his last shanty, but no say we!