CELEBRATING WOODEN BOATS
ALEXIS ANDREWS LIKES THE WOODEN BOATS MADE BY ALWYN ENOE SO MUCH HE BOUGHT ONE. Then he spent five years making a documentary film about the the boat builder and his sons who make West Indian wooden boats the old fashioned way, by hand using lumber felled in the hills atop the island of Carriacou in the Caribbean.
On a Saturday in January guests filled the Spirit Theater at the Bullock Museum in Austin, Texas to see Andrews's film and hear from the director himself. After the film, Andrews joined the crowed by video call from his home in Antigua to answer questions about the film.
Andrews moved to the tiny Caribbean island of Antigua in the 1980s. That is how he discovered these gorgeous boats and the people who make them. People like Alwyn Enoe and his sons who build boats the old fashioned way, by hand with locally sourced lumber.
The screening of Vanishing Sail was organized by sailATX, an Austin-based sailing charter company run by Steve Ward.
Ward got the idea to bring together people for the film after seeing the trailer many times. "I was so engaged by the trailer I kept trying to find it on the Internet to watch online. I had to buy the DVD which put me in touch with Alexis."
"I thought it would be great to share this lovely film on the big screen and get a group of people together to learn about the history and people involved in keeping the art of wooden boat building alive," Ward said.
To learn more about Andrews and his film and to find future screenings, visit vanishingsail.com.
The evening's events also included a talk with museum curator Franck Cordes.
"Did you find any skeletons,?" asked a ten year old girl seated in the front row.
The question, directed to Cordes, is about the 300 year old French ship La Belle. The fifty-four foot ship with roughly fifty passengers crossed the Atlantic and wound up wrecked off the coast of Texas at Matagorda Bay. The ship now resides at the museum where Cordes oversees the over one million artifacts from the ship. He's managing a major addition to the current exhibit to be completed in 2018.
Cordes answered many questions about the ship and its unlucky passengers. The vessel was first discovered in the 1990s and eventually raised through an elaborate process to protect the fragile timbers and artifacts which had been lying in the mud for 300 hundred years.
The sell out crowd was mostly from the Central Texas area, but people came from as far as Oklahoma City and Corpus Christi. Naturally sailing enthusiasts came out for the show, including a group from the Austin Yacht Club and Austin Sailing Society.
The event was such a success, Ward is looking for the next idea to pitch. "Maybe we'll do another show same time next year - or even before."