Vanishing Sail

Documentary Feature

There is a small group of islands in the Lesser Antilles where the traditions of boatbuilding were once crucial to the survival of local communities skimming a living from the sea. Hundreds of sailing vessels were once launched here, more than anywhere in the West Indies.

Today there is no more trading by sail, and these skills have vanished elsewhere in the region.

Alwyn Enoe is one of the last boatbuilders practicing a trade passed down the generations from Scottish settlers that arrived in Carriacou in the 18th century. Approaching his 70s and with no more orders coming in, he decides to build one last sailing sloop with the hope that his sons will continue the trade.

The film follows Alwyn’s progress and despair over three years – from hauling trees out of the forest to a final traditional launching ceremony on the bayside.

Stories of trading by sail and smuggling contraband told by some of the last old Caribbean sea characters weave through the film like the currents of the Grenadines.

With the family’s hope & resources now in the wooden vessel, Alwyn tries to complete her in time to race in the Antigua Classic Regatta – five weeks & three hundred miles away – here traditional West Indian and metropolitan elements fuse to create the final resolution of the film…

Director Biography

Alexis Andrews was born in Greece and studied photography in London before sailing to Antigua, West Indies in 1985 to pursue work as a commercial photographer in the yachting industry.  His iconic megayacht images have been featured in magazines & luxury charter advertising for over two and a half decades.  In 1997, he purchased an old Carriacou sloop that had sunk in Antigua, rebuilt the vessel and sailed her back to the Grenadines to meet her creator.

This journey would spark a ten year photoessay tribute to the last boatbuilders of the island and the building of a new vessel. The resulting Genesis project has inspired a wider interest in the region and the formation of the Unesco sponsored St. Barth’s West Indies Regatta where sloops & schooners return each year to take part in re-connecting the islands with traditional sail.

Director: Alexis Andrews

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