Saturday 3rd February saw some 45 Solent Gaffers gather at Lover Village Hall in the New Forest to enjoy a private viewing of the film ‘Vanishing Sail’ shown by its producer and native of Carriacou, Justin Sihera.
Tom Cunliffe kindly offered to introduce the film and also bought along 20 or so villagers to the event making it a full house.
Preceding the film we enjoyed some excellent fish and chips courtesy of Tony’ Frying machine who managed to feed all 65 of us within an hour from his chip van. We supplied our own beverages.
Vanishing Sail is an excellent film documenting the building of a traditional sailing sloop on the beach of Carriacou in the Lesser Antilles by Alwyn Enoe and his sons. These vessels were traditionally built by the islanders to enable trading, and smuggling , amongst the islands before being replaced by motor vessels. Not only does it show the skill of the islanders, using traditional methods handed down from Scottish settlers, in building these vessels by eye with only rudimentary tools it also provides an insight into the social conditions the islanders face from day-to-day.
The film necessarily does not cover everything, but we saw trees being felled and sawn into planks, and the various stages of construction. Then there was the final rush to create the mast in short order, the vessel being laid over to be launched on rollers, and rigged. The boat was finally completed days before entering the Antigua Classics alongside several of her sister boats for some competitive racing. The film shows some brilliant footage of these boats racing along to a soundtrack written by Eric Clapton in support of the film and the islanders.
Justin kindly hosted a lively question and answer session after the film and the feedback received from those attending was excellent. Several of our members have sailed amongst these islands and know the Carriacou boats.
This is the third time we’ve hosted a winter event at this venue and one we hope to continue to organise in the future.
Should any Area Secretaries be interested in organising a showing of this film I can thoroughly recommend it and will be happy to put you in touch with Justin.