West Indies trading by sail film makers appeal for cash help

The makers of the film Vanishing Sail are appealing for support to help them finish their project – and are offering what looks like a great package deal including books and a copy of the film for those who pledge $30.

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.

Through a collection of dramatic sailing scenes, rare archival footage and unprecedented interviews with the last old Caribbean sea captains, Vanishing Sail explores the legacy of boatbuilding in the Grenadines, which first introduced by Scottish settlers in the 19th century.

Take a look at the trailer and judge for yourself. I find it interesting and appealing – and even if it does seem a bit over-romantic at times, I think the film-makers enthusiasm is entirely understandable, given the boats, the locations and the people involved.

Built on a beach using skills passed down the generations, the West Indies  trading 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 1970s.

Filming is now 80 per cent complete: the film-makers need to make two more production trips to the Grenadines to record individual’s stories before they are lost forever, and to film a Carriacou sloop being built by one of the last active boatbuilding families on the island.

The film reminds me strongly of how at 12 years old I read Harry Reiseberg’s book My Compass Points To Treasure, and immediately decided to leave these wet, windy and cold islands, buy an old trading¬†schooner and make a living trading among the islands. That book had a big effect on my young mind, and even if it was an impossible dream the idea still has a certain appeal…