Antigua and Barbuda: Schooner Charm III and Racing Yawl have arrived in Antigua for the upcoming much-awaited 2024 Yacht Classic Regatta. The sailing boats will be featured in the regatta as around 60 yachts compete with each other on four days of the events.
The first yacht for the festival is Richard West’s Anguilla-based schooner Charm III. Fabled naval architect John Alden created the design in 1924 and built Malabar V for his personal use. Using the same design, Charm III was built in Sweden in 1928 for a Chicago businessman for use in the illicit liquor trade during prohibition but never became a rum runner.
West purchased her in 1980 near Plymouth, England and brought her to the Caribbean, where it was soon discovered that a complete rebuild was needed. She was hauled out on Sandy Ground Beach in Anguilla, where she would remain for sixteen years as the rebuild slowly progressed using traditional methods.
She came back to life in 2000 and since then has been a regular at the Antigua Classics, where she’s taken home a lot of hardware. Charm III was the overall winner of the schooner class in 2003 and has multiple class wins to her name, last taking first in 2019 in the Vintage Schooner Class even though she arrived late and missed the first day of racing. She’s also a six-time winner in the Concours d’Elegance.
The second yacht for the festival is the legendary Bolero, Ed Kane and Marty Wallace’s New York-based Sparkman and Stephens designed, racing yawl. Known on both sides of the Atlantic as a superb ocean racer, Bolero was originally launched in 1949 by Henry B.
Nevins Yacht Yard of City Island, New York, for John Nicholas Brown, the then commodore of the New York Yacht Club. She served as the New York Yacht Club’s Flagship vessel in the 1950s and has cruised and raced all over the world. With a 51-foot waterline, the boat was as large as it could be and still qualified for the ocean races of the time.
Bolero was the first to finish in three Bermuda races in the early fifties and held the record for elapsed time in the race until 1974. The 73-foot-long Bolero has long been considered one of Olin Stephens’s finest designs. In his book “Lines” Stephens wrote, “Bolero is an example of the best in practical yacht design using top-grade wood construction.”
She was showing her age in the late 2000s when Rockport Marine shipwright John England led a crew of up to 20 people in a complete restoration of the vessel beginning in 2009, and today, she’s better than ever.