Modern winds of change continue to billow through our beloved Caribbean islands, doing decidedly more harm than good as it relates to the region’s oldest cultural traditions. It’s a subject we’ve touched on before, and certainly one we’ll revisit again and again in our ongoing quest to promote and support those who are working so hard to keep the real, authentic Caribbean alive.
One such group, the producers and directors behind the forthcoming film, Vanishing Sail: a Caribbean Tradition on the Verge of Extinction, is filling their proverbial sails with those same modern winds to preserve the proud legacy of boatbuilding in the Grenadines. They’ve recently set up a fundraising page on Kickstarter.com where all of us can make donations toward the completion of the film.
Vanishing Sail will be, at its heart, a love story between one man, director Alexis Andrews, and the traditional wooden sailing vessels once emblematic of transportation, trade, commerce and controversy all along the Eastern Caribbean. Even in this brief clip, Alexis’ passion for the region’s proud boatbuilding tradition comes through in his vivid cinematography, the research and rare archival footage he’s managed to track down, and his captivating storytelling. He’s clearly putting his heart and soul into this project and it shows.
At the same time, I’m most struck by the faces and dialogue of the old boatbuilders – hardened salty dogs proudly carrying on their ancient, time-worn traditions in relative anonymity until Alexis, inspired by their stories and his own love of sailing, started filming.
Think about that. What would happen to the art of boatbuilding in the Grenadines without this film? More than likely, these same proud builders would grow into tired old men, sharing their stories of long-ago sailing glories only among themselves as tide and modern times pushed them ever-so-forcefully to the shadows, soon to be forgotten. Forever.
What Alexis and his partners are attempting to do with this project is not only celebrate the past, but also inspire a new wave of boatbuilders, keen on carrying on the old traditions and keeping this unique piece of West Indian heritage going for generations to come. It seems the least we could do is donate ourselves, and invite you all to do the same.
The goal is to raise $48,000 on Kickstarter, and with two weeks to go, they’re just past the half-way point. If the goal is not met, everyone who donates will get their money back. If the goal is exceeded, we’ll all benefit from an even better film, as Alexis has pledged to use 100% of the funds raised expressly on the film.
Anyone who pledges more than $15 will receive a commemorative gift, or one of several rare sailing experiences aboard these special sloops! Some supplies are limited, though, so you’ll want to visit the Vanishing Sail page on Kickstarter and make your donation today.