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Tuesday 10th April 2012

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Filmed in the Grenadines, Vanishing Sail tells the story of trading by sail in the West Indies, and follows a community of boat builders in Carriacou who struggle to maintain their tenuous grip on a dying skill.  Through a collection of dramatic sailing scenes, rare archival footage and unprecedented interviews with the last old Caribbean Sea Captains, Vanishing Sail seeks to preserve the legacy of boatbuilding in the Grenadines, first introduced by Scottish settlers in the 19th century.

Crafted on the beach, with skills passed down the generations, these schooners and sloops worked the trade winds, fishing and carrying cargo - including contraband from St. Barthelemy where the smuggling trade in alcohol and cigarettes thrived until the 1970's.

Filming is now 80% complete but Alexis and his team need to make two more production trips to the Grenadines to record the stories of a sea people before they are lost forever.  They also plan to film the Carriacou sloop that is being built by one of the last active boatbuilding families on the island.

In order to fund the remaining production of the film, Alexis seeks to raise a minimum of US $48,000.  He has teamed up with Kickstarter, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.  A deadline of May 17, 2012 has been sent within which to raise the US $48,000 and it is an ‘all or nothing’ fundraising platform.  If it doesn’t meet the minimum goal, none of the funds will be collected and the project will stall.

Antigua’s Yachting Insider had a chat with Alexis Andrews about his passion for Carriacou sloops, his film production and his fundraising efforts:

When is it that you became so interested in Carriacou Sloops?

In 1997 I purchased an old Carriacou sloop that had sunk in Antigua, rebuilt the vessel and sailed to the Grenadines to meet its creator. It was on that first visit that I fell under the spell of Windward.

Why do you think this small island in the Grenadines is so important?

By the time I arrived in Carriacou, trading by sail had already ceased in most of the islands in the Eastern Caribbean but here was a village where the skills were very much alive. I felt however that it was just a matter of time before these small islands followed their neighbors so I began to photograph their way of life.

When did you begin to capture the process of building Carriacou sloops?

I would return each summer for the project to sail and fish with the old men but there were no more sloops being built. It seemed the only way to document this process was to build one myself. And so the story of Genesis began. After 18 months we launched her and sailed to Antigua for the Classics. The following year Carriacou Sloops Vol. I & II was published as a limited edition book set, the result of a ten year photo essay on the last boat builders of the Grenadines.

At what point did you decide to develop a film about the project and the tradition?

Since Genesis' launch in 2005 there have been six more sloops built and a seventh currently in frames on the beach in Windward. This new interest had created a need to tell a wider story through film and so I began to sail to other islands to interview people who shared their stories with me of an earlier time before tourism reached our islands.

Who else is involved in the project creatively?

This film has gone through many stages of development. Acquafilms has been instrumental since the beginning, covering these boats in regattas and Ray Linnington convinced me to persist with the idea. Shab Kirchner has also filmed in Carriacou and worked on the trailer edit. Recently Onne Van der Wall of Newport has joined the growing list of filmers and of course Charles Hambleton remains a constant source of inspiration. Many more people have contributed to this project with research material, film, music, archive footage, image collections and support.

How much money do you need to raise to develop the full film?

With Kickstarter we hope to raise initial funding of US$48K. This will cover the last stage of filming and begin the post production process: hiring a co-writer to help craft the story, then working with video editors and a professional narrator, plus sound studio rental. The next stage will be to seek funding for archive film usage, music rights and creating an original score for the film. The more we can raise, the better the final product.

When can we hope see the final film?

Provided funding goals have been reached, we hope to be ready to enter the Film Festival circuit in 2013 followed by a general release at the end of that year, but backers who support the Kickstarter campaign will be the first to receive the final movie!

To support the project please go to:
For more information, please visit

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