The Alden-designed 1924 Malabar VI pocket schooner Liberty, above, will soon no longer call Coral Bay its home port. Photo by Dave D’Alberto
The prettiest lady in Coral Bay harbor has a new owner.
Liberty first sailed into Coral Bay harbor on Christmas Day 1987 under the direction of Robin Clair-Pitts and her late husband Fletcher Pitts.
Ever since that day, the 70-foot John G. Alden-designed classic 1924 Malabar VI pocket schooner has held the title of prettiest boat in the harbor. Soon, however, Liberty will be setting sail to a new port under the direction of a new captain.
Clair-Pitts recently agreed to sell Liberty to renowned classic yachtsman Feargus Bryan, who is chairman at Scandinavian Classic Yacht Trust.
The new owner plans to sail Liberty to Trinidad where she will be hauled out in preparation for major structural repairs, explained Clair-Pitts.
“He’s done a lot of sailing on classic boats all over the world,” Clair-Pitts said about Liberty’s new captain. “He’s going to take good care of her. We are so happy about it.”
For years the Pitts, along with a crew of 10 to 12 skilled sailors, raced Liberty to a number of regatta wins, including many first in class and first overall finishes in Antigua Classic Yacht Week, Sweethearts Classics and Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regattas as well as a Wayfarer Marine Trophy.
After living in Coral Bay aboard Liberty for years — and spending every single vacation working on her in one Caribbean boatyard or another — Fletcher Pitts passed away on Christmas Day 2004.
Since then, Clair-Pitts and a core group of close friends have worked hard to keep Liberty in tip-top shape. They have continued to sail the vessel in numerous local regattas and lately have been showing her to prospective buyers. No potential buyers impressed Clair-Pitts much, however, until she met Bryan.
“Liberty has been for sale for four years,” Clair-Pitts said. “I was kind of slow on it though. We had a website and advertised in a few publications, but we didn’t really find anyone who fit until now.”
Bryan’s wife was the one who came across Liberty and told her husband to check her out, according to Clair-Pitts.
“Feargus’ wife found the boat and told him about Liberty,” she said. “About a week after Antigua Classics, I got call from Feargus that he was coming up and wanted to see Liberty. He came up and we had the boat surveyed and went for a sail and he fell in love with her.”
“Both Feargus and his wife are really into classic boats; restoring classic boats and racing classic boats,” Clair-Pitts said. “And they are not afraid to work on classic boats.”
Clair-Pitts couldn’t be happier about the sale, the price of which she declined to share. Instead of citing figures, Clair-Pitts was getting used to the idea of someone else looking after the vessel she has cared for more than three decades.
“Feargus has done a lot of sailing on a lot of different classic boats all over the world and I know he is going to take good care of Liberty,” she said. “It’s really like a dream come true. I felt like I had this sacred trust to take care of Liberty and now she’s in the perfect hands.”
“I’m so happy, I don’t know what to do,” said Clair-Pitts.