I took a photo many years ago of a Haitian gaffed rigged sloop becalmed in Montague Bay off of New Providence (Nassau) here in The Bahamas.  It was late afternoon on a super “dead calm”,  cloudless and muggy summers day with barely a ripple on the water.  The reflection of the golden sails in the quiet water was electrifying. The sloop was motionless, without an engine and completely at the mercy of the tide and currents.  In executing this painting of that scene I was forced to examine closely the construction of the boat and its rigging.  To say that it was a patch work of raw canvas, lumber and sticks roughly spliced together is an understatement. Having owned a large modern sloop myself and sailed extensively in all manner of weather and understanding the stresses that rigging and sails need to be able to endure it is a real wonder how these home built craft are able to withstand the stresses and navigate on a regular bases the 400+ miles of open and many times treacherous ocean between The Bahamas and Haiti. These are some of the last remaining trading vessels in the world driven exclusively by sail.