Cruising World - - Underway - —Elaine Lembo

By open­ing a base in An­tigua in late 2017, not only has The Moor­ings covered the Caribbean chain from north to south, but it’s also given va­ca­tion sailors an is­land that’s a des­ti­na­tion unto it­self.

With 54 miles of coast­line and a re­puted 365 beaches to choose among, you can spend from seven to 10 days cir­cum­nav­i­gat­ing the is­land and sur­round­ing cays alone. Of course, most char­ter sailors at the very least head north the 30-some­thing nau­ti­cal miles to Bar­buda, whose beaches have re­bounded in the af­ter­math of the 2017 hur­ri­cane sea­son. That’s just one way­point on an itin­er­ary that can in­clude Ne­vis and St. Kitts to the west or Guade­loupe to the south­east.

“An­tigua’s ripe for ex­pan­sion,” ex­plained base man­ager Lovena Bai­ley dur­ing a De­cem­ber 2017 visit at the his­toric An­tigua Naval Dock­yard, also known as Nel­son’s Dock­yard, at English Har­bour. Bai­ley han­dles op­er­a­tions for The Moor­ings as well as for Sun­sail at this lo­ca­tion. The sis­ter char­ter com­pa­nies, owned by Trav­elopia, of­fer a mixed fleet of 20 to 25 mono­hulls and sail and power cata­ma­rans for bare­boat and skip­pered char­ters. One-way char­ters to other Moor­ings Caribbean bases, which in­clude St. Lu­cia, Gre­nada, St. Martin, the BVI and Puerto Rico, are pos­si­ble, for an ex­tra fee.

Restora­tion and im­prove­ments at the dock­yard, which was granted World Her­itage sta­tus in 2016 by the United Na­tions Ed­u­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­ga­ni­za­tion, is on­go­ing. “This dock­yard is locked in the age of sail,” ex­plained Reg Mur­phy, a na­tive An­tiguan and ar­chae­ol­o­gist, as he re­counted the role of the Bri­tish navy in con­struc­tion of the orig­i­nal site as a base in the 1700s.

Mur­phy, direc­tor of Her­itage Re­sources for Na­tional Parks An­tigua, over­sees re­search at the dock­yard for the is­land gov­ern­ment and UN­ESCO. Com­pleted projects in­clude restora­tion of the his­toric of­fi­cers quar­ters, and im­prove­ments at cus­toms and im­mi­gra­tion of­fices and Clarence House, one-time home to the Bri­tishap­pointed gover­nor. On­go­ing projects in­clude re­cov­ery of hu­man re­mains at nearby Galleon Beach, hy­dro­graphic sur­veys of ship­wrecks in English Har­bour, and a dig at a pre­his­toric Amerindian site in the area.

Be­sides sail­ing char­ters, The Moor­ings is also plan­ning to cre­ate a land itin­er­ary so vis­i­tors can ex­plore the dock­yard and other ar­eas of in­ter­est on the is­land be­fore or af­ter char­ters. For de­tails, con­tact the com­pany (moor­

Look­ing for a dif­fer­ent char­ter lo­ca­tion? An­tigua has much to of­fer, from beau­ti­ful an­chor­ages, like Ffryes Bay (above) to hikes around English Har­bour (top).

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