Antiguan Traditions

“The British attitude toward Antigua was ‘defend at all costs,’” says Randy, our tour guide to Antigua’s legendary English Harbour, a portion of which is now protected as Nelson’s Dockyard National Park. “This especially applied to English Harbour.”Standing in the center of the park, I take in the naturally protected harbor that the British used as their base of operations in the Caribbean
Author:
Publish date:
nelson.int

“The British attitude toward Antigua was ‘defend at all costs,’” says Randy, our tour guide to Antigua’s legendary English Harbour, a portion of which is now protected as Nelson’s Dockyard National Park. “This especially applied to English Harbour.”

Standing in the center of the park, I take in the naturally protected harbor that the British used as their base of operations in the Caribbean from 1725 to 1889. To the south, via a short channel, is the open ocean. To the north is Deep Bay. Across the harbor is Shirley Heights, a prominent hill where the British placed their artillery. From this lofty perch they could see—and fire upon—not just English Harbour, but any marauding ship plying the waters of Antigua’s southern coastline.

Around Nelson’s Dockyard I see numerous vestiges of yesteryear: stone buildings used for a seaman’s galley, sail lofts, a copper and lumber store, a cordage and canvas store, a pitch and tar store, a joiner’s loft and other buildings that once housed seafaring trades. Interestingly, this legacy still thrives today, albeit with a modern twist. Nelson’s Dockyard might be a national park, but the rest of the harbor is abuzz with sail lofts, chandleries, woodworking shops, welders, painters and diesel mechanics. Antiguans have long enjoyed the reputation of being some of the world’s best varnish workers, and many superyachts visit the island to have their brightwork rejuvenated.

Directly across from Nelson’s Dockyard is Antigua Slipways, where numerous boats are perched on the hard in various states of repair. In other yards, boats are undergoing everything from AwlGrip work to bottom jobs. I smile as I reflect on what Admiral Horatio Nelson might think if he saw a 100-foot megayacht being worked on near his namesake dockyard. Certainly the types of ships—and their intended purposes—have changed. But 120 years after the British navy sailed away, English Harbour continues to cater to sailors bound over the horizon.

Related

dometicadler-700x

How to: Upgrading Your Icebox

The time has come when the prospect of cold drinks and long-term food storage has you thinking about upgrading your icebox to DC-powered refrigeration. Duncan Kent has been there and done that, and has some adviceFresh food must be kept at a refrigerated temperature of 40 degrees ...read more

Jet-in-Belize

Cruising: Evolution of a Dream

There’s a time to go cruising and a time to stop. As Chris DiCroce found, you don’t always get to choose those timesAlbert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, ...read more

01a-rosemary-anchored-at-Qooqqut,-inland-from-Nuuk

Cruising: A Passage to Greenland

When a former winner of the Whitbread Round the World Race invites you to sail the Northwest Passage, there is only one sensible answer. No.More adventurous types might disagree, but they weren’t the ones facing frostbite of the lungs or the possibility of having the yacht’s hull ...read more

Allures-459-2018

Boat Review: Allures 45.9

Allures is not a name on the tip of many American sailors’ tongues, but it should be. After the debut of its 39-footer last year, the French company has made another significant entry into the U.S. midrange market with the Allures 45.9, an aluminum-hulled cruiser-voyager with ...read more

ZP-Sail-Away-pic-No

Jury-Rigging on Charter

A little know-how goes a long way on vacationThey say cruising is just fixing your boat in exotic places. Maybe that’s why so many people prefer to charter. After a week of sailing you pack your bags and step off your charter boat without another care in the world, leaving the ...read more

shutterstock_673678240

Chartering in Cuba, A Study in Contrasts

It was a bit of an unexpected flashback. After all, it had been decades since I lived in the old Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) and yet the feeling that bubbled up was the same. I stuck my camera out the bus window to capture yet another of a dozen billboards dotting the ...read more

TRINKA-OVERTURNED_final

Experience: Misadventures in the Med

After crossing the Atlantic in 2011 and spending two leisurely years crossing the Med, I found a homeport for my Crealock 34, Panope, in Cyprus. In 2000, we had completed a villa in Tala and the little pleasure/fishing port in Latsi was a scenic 40-minute drive away.The ...read more