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Flying Finish

Final Report

The fourth and final encounter at the 2017 Superyacht Challenge was a magical affair, sparkling Caribbean sunshine, 20 knots of breeze and the added delight of Caribbean swell. The Race Committee set a course of approximately 18 miles, to test every angle of sail and in the true ethos of the regatta it was a fast and thrilling race. After a short beat, the fleet hoisted spinnakers for a downwind run offshore, followed by a broad reach, and a high octane blast reach back towards Antigua. The beat to finish had the superyachts playing the bays along the rugged Antiguan coastline to the finish.


The Corsairs averaged 14 knots of boat speed on the blast reach and the entire fleet was no more than ten boats lengths apart. The 112ft Baltic Nilaya has locked horns with her rival the 112ft Frers Spiip. The latter held off Nilaya until the very end of the blast reach, as Nilaya caught a big gust and surfed passed Spiip at 18 knots. However, it was a great day for the 152ft ketch, Elfje, which took line honours in the final race to beat their rival, the 182ft Schooner Adela. After ORCsy time correction, Spiip was the winner of the final race and the Corsairs Class for the regatta.

“A fantastic regatta, with a great atmosphere. This is the first big win for Spiip and the owner and crew are very happy. ” commented Spiip navigator Campbell Field. “Nilaya and Danneskjold are very similar in performance to Spiip and we had some great tussles with Adela and Elfje as well. The Superyacht Challenge Antigua is full on out on the water and laid back ashore, the perfect combination.”




The Buccaneers Class featured two adrenalin pumping match races. The 90ft classic sloop Acadia and the 112ft Sparkman Stephens sloop Kawil matched raced the entire track, virtually overlapped for 18 miles. W76 Wild Horses showed great pace to hold a solid third behind the two larger rivals and behind Wild Horses, Oyster 82 Zig Zag and the 124ft ketch Marama were having their own private battle. After ORCsy time correction Kawil was the winner of the last race and the Buccaneers Class for the regatta.



“What a great way to celebrate the end of our two year circumnavigation.: commented Kawil's owner 'Spook'. “The crew have been magnificent and this regatta has been tremendous fun. Kawil will definitely back.”






The 2017 Superyacht Challenge Antigua Prize Giving Party was held at the Admiral's Inn, Nelson's Dockyard with a complimentary bar for all competitors. Amongst the historic pillars in the grounds, Senator Arthur Thomas QC, Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda National Parks Authority, was the guest of honour.






Gosnell Trophy

The Gosnell Trophy was first awarded in 2016, donated by the superyacht Timoneer, who have been firm supporters of the Superyacht Challenge since its conception. The Gosnell Trophy is Timoneer's Bell, a perpetual trophy awarded to the yacht, who in the opinion of the competitors and the race committee, has competed in the Spirit of the Regatta, where they have sailed as hard as they can with the equipment available while still representing the yacht well ashore. A fitting tribute to Mrs G, the spirit of Timoneer and the Superyacht Challenge Antigua.

For the 2017 edition, the Gosnell Trophy was awarded to the 182ft schooner Adela. Skipper Greg Perkins and the Adela crew took to the stage, to a huge reception at the Prize Giving. Adela's Caribbean home is Antigua and after a long absence due to a major refit, the superyacht community welcomed back one of their own. After the prize giving Asher Otto and Itchy Feet took to the stage, delivering a fantastic set of rock covers, and their own award winning songs. The dance floor came a live and more than one barrel of rum was passed around.






Tactical Battle on the South Side

Day Two Report

The conditions had mellowed somewhat for the second day of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua, compared to the opening day's surfing festival. 15 knots from the east, with a moderate swell, and predominately tactical windward leeward racing, put other skill sets to the test. Staying in clear air and executing text book tacks and gybes were the keys to success. Day Two was the powerplay, with two of the four races taking place. In the Buccaneers Class, Acadia and Kawil shared a win each to set up a big finale tomorrow. In the Corsairs Class, Spiip now has a three point cushion, but with no discard, the class is far from over.



Race 2

The second race of the regatta was about 12 miles, along the stunning South Coast of Antigua. A novel downwind start was followed by a tactical long beat, and a short reach to finish. 


Buccaneers

Acadia was first to the bottom mark and extended in clear air, while Zig Zag and several other yachts were caught by the traffic from the faster boats in the Corsairs Class. Kawil sailed a great line out of the way of the overtaking Corsairs, to take the lead from Arcadia, and Kawil took the gun, by just 15 seconds. However, after ORCsy time correction, Acadia was the winner. Wild Horses showed impressive speed to pass Zig Zag, and claim third after time correction.


Corsairs

Adela was an impressive sight at full pace reaching across the line to hold the lead at the bottom mark. However on the second leg, Spiip showed her prowess upwind passing Adela and on the approach to Nelson's, Adela tacked away. Nilaya and Danneskjold managed to get past Adela at the penultimate mark. However, Nilaya retired shortly after racing, promoting Danneskjold to second place, and Elfje to third.



Race 3

Buccaneers

The third race of the regatta was about 12 miles. A short beat was followed by a long tactical downwind leg, with a big gybe offshore to reach back towards Antigua, followed by a beat to finish.

After the short beat to the first mark, the magnificent fleet hoisted spinnakers for a downwind run. The big tactical call was made by Acadia, executing two text book gybes into clear air. The move put them into the lead for the gybe mark but Arcadia was pressed all the way by Kawil. The two yachts rounded in unison, for the last leg, a beat to the finish. Acadia crossed the line just in front of Kawil to take the gun and the win after ORCsy time correction. Oyster 82, Zig Zag was third.


Corsairs

A stunning match race concluded the day's racing in the Corsair Class, Nilaya and Spiip are both sailed by well drilled teams and share the same water line length and just 28 second separated the two after over an hour of racing. With Danneskjold always in the mix, teh racing is sensational. The twin mastered schooner Adela held the lead on the water right up until the penultimate mark. However, Adela was no match for the powerful sloops on the short tacking beat to finish. Nilaya took the race win by the finest of margins from Spiip with the 105ft sloop Danneskjold third.

After three days of racing, just a single point separates the top two yachts in the Buccaneers Class, Kawil holds the advantage over Acadia, with Wild Horses in third, just a point ahead of Zig Zag.

America's Cup and Olympic sailor, Andy Horton, tactician on Acadia, is delighted with the team's performance.

“Acadia is a new yacht and this is the first time that the owner has raced her and he is grinning all the way around the course. We have some really top guys in key positions; Will Beavis on the front, Justin Slattery in the pit and Steve Hayles on nav, and the regular crew are excellent sailors who are really up for the challenge. We said before the regatta, if we have a chance of winning on the last day, we have over achieved, so we are all very happy and motivated for a good finish tomorrow.”

In the Corsairs Class, Spiip holds a three point advantage over Nilaya, who is only ahead of Danneskjold by virtue of countback. Adela holds a single point advantage of Elfje, in the battle of the schooners.

Volvo Ocean Race and Super Series navigator, Campbell Field, is racing on Spiip and knows the boat well having sailed her for the previous owner for ten years.

“The ORCsy rule takes into account the different strengths of the wide variety of yachts competing and it does a pretty good job of it. Today, was a good day for the sloops, but with your rating altered to take that into account, you are only rewarded if you sail well. Most of the guys on board have been racing this yacht for about ten years, and as this regatta is early in the season, perhaps that is an advantage. The nice thing about the Superyacht Challenge Antigua is that it is great racing but ashore it is very relaxed. All the guys know each other and if there is a discussion it happens on the dock and we don't take it into the social scene. Last night's Cook Off was such a great occasion, it is things like that that make the regatta stand out.”

Caribbean Night

The social activity for Saturday night involved yet more colourful pageantry with the Caribbean Night held in the historic surroundings of Nelson's Dockyard. The grills were fired up after complimentary sundowners and the Superyacht Dock was filled with competitors enjoying the cool evening air after a long day on the water. The Loud Shirt competition, and the exciting display of local dancers, produced a kaleidoscope of colours, with a sound set pumping out cool tunes and dance music long into the night.

With one final race scheduled on Sunday 5 February and no race discarded, it is all to play for at the Superyacht Challenge. Watch the drama unfold from Shirley Heights from 1100 local time, or tune in around the world via the internet, at 1500 UTC, to watch the dedicated tracker.




 
Spectacular Opener in Antigua

Day One Report

With solid trade winds piping up to 20 knots and a three metre sea state, the south coast of Antigua delivered a memorable day of racing, for the first day of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua. The race committee set a course of just over 20 miles, taking in all angles of sail. Starting at three minute intervals, each of the magnificent superyachts set off in pursuit of a top performance. The first day of racing saw epic duels across the race course. Topping out at 20 knots of boat speed, the 112 Baltic Nilaya was the winner of the Corsairs Class and 112ft Sparkman Stephens Kawil was victorious in the Buccaneers.




Buccaneers

Oyster 82, Zig Zag was the first to start and showed tactical acumen on the first beat, tacking early to the left to avoid the faster chasing pack. The 90ft classic sloop Acadia, took the right hand side and with starboard advantage just crossed the fleet to make the top mark in pole position, and in clear air, extended on the fleet. The 112ft Sparkman Stephens sloop Kawil rounded in second place. Locked into a battle with Acadia, on a tight reach, Kawil's water line length played, as they took the dominate windward side, out of the wind shadow of the chasing pack. However, Acadia held their lane well, to pass the deep water mark Timoneer, in unison with Kawil, but by the time the leaders made the bottom mark at Curtains, Kawil has taken a small lead. For the beat to finish, Kawil covered Acadia from the front to take the gun after two and a half hours of exhilarating close racing. After ORCsy time correction, Kawil was the winner from Acadia with Zig Zag taking third.

Kawil has just finished a two year round the world cruise, the yacht's owner, nicknamed Spook due to his Halloween birthday, was a happy man after winning the Buccaneers Class in Race 1. “Kawil has taken us to some fantastic places and this regatta is a great way to celebrate the end of the adventure. I love Antigua, the scenery and the friendliness of the island is great and personally for my wife and I, this is where it all started with Kawil, so Antigua will always be a special place. The race crew has only been put together this week, so we are delighted to win today, once you go racing, that is the only real goal.”

Corsairs

The 112ft Baltic Nilaya was last to go in the staggered start but finished ahead of the entire fleet to win the first race in the Corsairs class. Last year's class winner Nilaya, had a battle royal with the impressive 105ft sloop Danneskjold making their debut at the Superyacht Challenge Antigua. Danneskjold held off Nilaya for the first four legs, including a text book gybe inshore, which resulted in the two yachts coming into the deep water mark at Timoneer on opposing gybes at a frightening closing speed. After Timoneer, Nilaya put on the afterburners, scorching towards Curtains at high speed, topping out at 20 knots in a full on foam up to take the class lead. The glorious 151ft ketch Elfje showed an amazing turn of speed in the deep, blasting through the Caribbean surf at 17 knots. Nilaya hit the front in the second part of the race and in clear air eventually took the gun and the race win by an impressive margin.

“Starting last, you have to pass through the whole fleet, that's the name of the game.” commented Nilaya's tactician, Bouwe Bekking. “The owner drives the whole way and he is an excellent helmsman and a lot of the team has been together for many years. The Superyacht Challenge is a great event, excellent racing and a lot of fun.”

The 182ft twin masted schooner Adela was first away in the Corsairs and enjoyed an epic battle with the 112ft sloop Spiip. The two powerful yachts enjoyed a fantastic match race, literally side by side for over two hours. Within sight of the finish, Spiip used their agility to stay in shore, whilst the schooner Adela went for the option of less tacks offshore. Spiip won the duel, crossing the line before their rival and ahead after ORCsy time correction by less than 5 minutes.
Nilaya was the winner in Race 1 for the Corsairs Class, Spiip was the runner up ahead of Danneskjold. Adela was fourth, missing the podium by less than a minute after time correction.

Full Results available here.

The Famous Cook Off
The Superyacht Challenge Antigua is a celebration of yachting pleasures and the social scene is as much a part of the event as the racing. The famous Cook Off took place at the Superyacht Dock Beach in Nelson's Dockyard. Chefs from each competing yacht are given a traditional coal pot to cook a dish, and a bare table to decorate and adorn with gourmet food. The lucky recipients of this feast are the sailors and to encourage their culinary masterminds, fancy dress is not optional!

More pictures in the galleries




High Spirits and Fair Winds 
Racing starts 1500 UTC Friday 03 February


Hundreds of owners, crew and invited guests gathered at the Welcome Party for the 2017 Superyacht Challenge Antigua. Held at the Boom Bar & Restaurant in the grounds of the Gunpowder House, the magnificent fleet was in view as the party started with sundowners around the pool. Paul Deeth welcomed all of the guests to the party and the atmosphere was laid back but buzzing with excitement.



Looking at the field, this promises to be one of the most competitive regattas ever with four previous class winners competing. The 182ft twin masted schooner, Adela won in 2013 and is back racing after significant modifications last year. The powerful 103ft ketch Marama was victorious in 2014, as was the 112ft sloop Spiip, formerly known as Unfurled, and returning to defend their title from 2016 is the 112ft Baltic, Nilaya. Newcomers to the regatta include, the impressive 105ft sloop Danneskjold, the magnificent 151ft ketch Elfje, the new 90ft classic sloop Acadia, the 112ft sloop Kawil and the Spirit of Tradition racing sloop, Wild Horses.


All of the participating yachts had been out practising on the day prior to the start of the three day regatta and experienced full on Trade Wind conditions; three metre seas and over 20 knots of breeze. Friday 3rd of February will mark the first day of racing with a course of about 20 miles scheduled to start and finish outside English Harbour.




The fleet will start in pursuit style with the first start due at 1100 local time (1500 UTC). All of the yachts are fitted with trackers, you can follow there progress on the Trac Trac Player






 
Nilaya (www.clairematches.com)

Magnificent Eleven


The 7th edition of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua has attracted a magnificent fleet of Superyachts, to take part in daily pursuit races along the stunning south coast of Antigua. 11 yachts have entered ranging from 82ft to 212ft.

Schooners: Adela and Adix. Ketches: Elfje and Marama. Sloops: Acadia, Danneskjold, Kawil, Nilaya, Spiip, Wild Horses and Zig Zag.

Designed to be solely for the pleasure of superyacht owners, their guests and crew. The racing is competitive, with a high tariff placed on safety. World class navigators, Hugh Agnew and Campbell Field, act as technical consultants, in cooperation with ORC, to promote fair racing.

Hosted by the Admiral's Inn and Antigua Rigging, in association with National Parks Antigua, the fleet will assemble in the historic surroundings of Nelson's Dockyard, where all of the social activities take place, including the "Famous Cook off" competition between the participants.

The Superyacht Challenge Antigua is free from commercial endorsements, and has one clear objective; to provide all the facilities to stage an ideal event for an exclusive selection of yachts, where fair racing and good companionship are valued above all else.


Boom Bar Welcome (Kevin Johnstone)



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News Archive

2016 Superyacht Challenge Antigua

28th - 31st January 2016



Wrap Up Report
Gloria win the Gosnell Trophy

The sixth edition of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua attracted eleven magnificent ocean-going yachts from 80 to 151ft. The impressive fleet took part in three days of competitive racing along the stunning south coast of Antigua, complimented by laid-back social events, The Superyacht Challenge Antigua is a wonderful celebration of sailing and parties, dedicated to pure fun afloat and ashore, where all participants enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, free from commercial endorsements.



In the Buccaneers Class, the 128ft sloop, Tenaz, designed by Ed Dubois and built by Pendennis, had a close battle with Oyster 82, Zig Zag. The class win went to the wire with Tenaz winning the last race to take victory in the Buccaneers Class with Zig Zag second. A consistent performance by the one-off ketch Maramar, was rewarded by the final podium position. This was the first regatta that Tenaz had ever competed in.


Tenaz win the Buccaneers Class

“I have a 100% record in regattas.” joked the owner of Tenaz. “This has been a fantastic experience and not just because of the result but more the whole process because we have a crew that have shared with us and made racing available to us all. We have been racing to win but we have focused on having a great time and I hope that this regatta carries on in that manner. I understand the addiction to winning amongst competitive people, but this style of regatta is tremendously enjoyable and a lot of fun.”




In the Corsairs Class, racing was incredibly close with seconds deciding the outcome in many of the races. Four yachts took podium places during the four race series; Nilaya, Visione, Freya and the brand new Baltic 115ft sloop, Nikata, which was competing in first ever regatta. The 112ft sloop Nilaya, designed by Reichel Pugh held off the powerful 147ft sloop Visione, also from the drawing board of Reichel Pugh, to win the class. Frers designed Swan 90 Freya was third.



“This is a great start to the Caribbean season for the team, the owner was driving all of the time and he just loves it and that is good for the sport.” commented Nilaya's tactician, Bouwe Bekking. “We will be racing with the Volvo boat for much of the season, it will be with the same team but it is something different. This has been a great way to knit the team together for the racing ahead.”



A new trophy was awarded this year, donated by the superyacht Timoneer, who have been firm supporters of the Superyacht Challenge since its conception. The Gosnell Trophy is a perpetual trophy awarded to the yacht, who in the opinion of the competitors and the race committee, has competed in the Spirit of the Regatta, where they have sailed as hard as they can with the equipment available while still representing the yacht well ashore. A fitting tribute to Mrs G, the spirit of Timoneer and the Superyacht Challenge Antigua. Phil Wade, skipper of Timoneer for many happy regattas, was delighted to award the Gosnell Trophy to the 126ft twin-masted schooner, Gloria.



“That is just awesome.” commented Gloria's skipper, James Box. “Timoneer was the main reason we got involved with this regatta and our relationship with Timoneer is a great one, as Gloria has the same philosophy. The owner of Gloria really enjoys the event and so do the crew, who love the social side as much as the racing. We don't take ourselves too seriously, enjoying the regatta is our top priority.”

The seventh edition of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua will take place from the 2-5th February 2017. Entries are limited to 12-15 yachts dependent on the overall length, as the 2016 edition was close to capacity, and early expression of interest is advisable.






Day Three - Race Report Sunday 31st January

Classic Finale

 Superb sailing conditions prevailed for the final day of racing at the 2016 Superyacht Challenge Antigua. Fifteen knots of easterly breezes pumping up to 20 knots in gusty squalls provided exciting conditions for the fabulous array of superyachts taking part. The staggered start had the fleet beating to windward, with caribbean swell cascading from the bow, each superyacht set off for the 17.5 mile triangular course, deep into the Caribbean Sea.

In the Corsairs Class, the 112ft sloop Nilaya, nailed the best start of the day to take their third win on corrected time and winning the class by three points from the 147ft sloop Visione. Swan 90 Freya was two minutes behind Visione on corrected time in Race 4 to claim third in class.

In the Buccaneers Class, today's race was the decider between the two leading yachts. The 128ft sloop, Tenaz got a cracking start and powered away to take line honours and the win on corrected time by a healthy margin, sealing their class victory. Oyster 82, Zig Zag was second in the last race of the regatta to claim a well-deserved runner up in their first Superyacht Challenge Antigua. The 108ft ketch Marama was third in Race 4, to take third in class.

A full report will follow tonight's Prize Giving Cocktail Party, which will be held between the pillars at the Admiral's Inn Hotel. Antiguan sensation, Asher Otto and Itchy Feet, will be playing live for a rousing finale to the 6th edition of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua.



Racing Photos Credit: www.clairematches.com










 


Day Two - Race Report: Saturday 30th January


Nilaya and Tenaz revel in the Sunshine

With a mean wind speed of 17 knots and brilliant sunshine, normal service resumed in the superb sailing grounds off the South Coast of Antigua for the second day of racing at the Superyacht Challenge Antigua. Two shorter races, in solid Trade Winds, were run with boat handling providing the key to winning performances.

In the Corsair Class 112ft Baltic, Nilaya won both of today's races to take pole position in the regatta from the 147ft Baltic, Visione. Swan 90, Freya remains in third place having posted a fourth and a second today. In the Buccaneer Class, the 128ft Dubois Tenaz retains the lead having scored a second and a win today. 82ft Oyster, Zig Zag won the first race today and a second in the last race retains second place for the class, just a point behind Tenaz. 102ft ketch, Maramar scored two podium finishes today and retains third in class. All results are provisional.

Seven-time Volvo Ocean Race veteran, Bouwe Bekking, is calling tactics on 112ft Baltic Nilaya. “Our starts were sharp today and the manoeuvres were well executed, Visione is extremely well sailed and that pushed us as well. The team on Nilaya has been together for a number of years, so I think that allows us to sail a superyacht like a smaller boat and that does make a difference. This regatta is very much in the style of gentleman's racing, which produces a great atmosphere. Personally I like to race to win but I believe that the owners of the yachts really enjoy this style and that is great.”

Oyster 82, Zig Zag is competing at the regatta for the first time. Skipper Phil Howard Smith has been delighted with the performance so far. “What is really pleasing is that we are sailing the boat well and that is being rewarded in the rating system being used. We are getting off the line with good speed and the upwind team and the downwind team are driving and trimming the boat extremely well.”

Tonight over 200 owners, crew and guests of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua will attend The Caribbean Night in the historic surroundings of Nelson's Dockyard. Flavours from all over the Caribbean will be wafting from the grills and cultural entertainers, including African Dancers, will be performing to get the party going. One of Antigua's finest, DJ Nez will be spinning the tunes until the early hours. Racing concludes tomorrow, Sunday 31st January.








Racing Photos Credit: www.clairematches.com
Party Photos  Credit: www.photofantasyantigua.com





Day One - Race Report: Friday 29th January

Visione and Tenaz win in shifty conditions


They say you make your own luck and in today's opening encounter of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua, yachts that maximised their performance in highly changeable conditions won the day. A course of just over 25 miles was set with a windward start to Nelson's followed by a triangular course and a windward leeward section. Wind shifts of up to 70 degrees kept the after guards of the magnificent fleet on their toes, and slick manoeuvres, sometimes at a moments notice, was a recipe for success on the first day of racing.



Visione takes the first win in the Corsairs Class

The Frers designed Swan 90 Freya, sailed an excellent first leg, spotting a left hand shift, to get into a great position at the first top mark. However, the larger yachts in the Corsairs Class showed impressive speed, chasing down Freya, which had been the first to start in the Corsairs Class. Unfurling their enormous downwind sails, Visione, Nilaya, Nikata and Rebecca were up for the chase. Visione was the first to capitalise on another big wind shift, the 147ft Baltic designed by  Reichel/Pugh powered into the lead having taken a favourable angle for a fast downwind leg.
Unfortunately for the 140ft ketch Rebecca, an issue with a spinnaker hoist was their undoing for the first race of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua. “For safety reasons, we had to manoeuvre with our engine after the tangle and we immediately retired.” confirmed Rebecca's helmsman, Stan Pearson. Visione went on to win the first race for the Corsairs Class taking line honours and the win by over 9 minutes on corrected time. A tremendous battle between the impressive Baltic 112, Nilaya and Swan 90 Freya ensued for second place. Nilaya won the duel by just two seconds on corrected time. The brand new Baltic 115, Nikata, taking part in its first race placed third.



Tenaz leads the Buccaneers home



The 128ft cruising Superyacht Tenaz, from the drawing board of Ed Dubois was the last yacht to start in the Buccaneers Class, but the superb aluminium sloop took both line honours and the win on corrected time by over 17 minutes from Oyster 82, Zig Zag. Tenaz read the wind shifts better than most to take her victory. The 102ft one-off ketch, Maramar sailed well to place third ahead of the 108ft Dubois designed sloop, SeaQuell.

The 126ft twin masted schooner Gloria did not have her best result, but the atmosphere on board was not dampened by the numerous squalls which stole the wind at decisive moments. Gloria's spirit was undiminished. Inside knowledge puts her amongst the favourites to win tonight's Famous Cook Off. Many of Gloria's crew are from Falmouth Cornwall and if chef Emma's home-made sausage rolls are a gauge of her culinary skills, then the sailors are in for a treat tonight.

The friendly Famous Cook-Off between participating yachts pits eleven superyacht chefs to produce mouthwatering cuisine for the competing sailors. One dish is cooked on a traditional Antiguan coal pot for the coveted prize. Well over 200 sailors will also be tasked to compete for the best dressed team. As with all social events for the Superyacht Challenge Antigua, no jacket is required!






Racing Photos Credit: www.clairematches.com
Party Photos  Credit: www.photofantasyantigua.com

 


Thursday 28 January - Training Day

Racing at the 6th edition of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua starts, tomorrow Friday 29 January at 1100 local time (1600 GMT). The majority of magnificent fleet fleet were out training today,  Thursday 28th January, honing their boat handling skills and manoeuvres in feisty conditions. The magnificent yachts got a real taste of spectacular Caribbean sailing with squally conditions and a significant sea state of the south coast of Antigua.

Stalwart competitor of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua, 140ft ketch Rebecca, reported a 30 knot squall during training.



130ft Tenaz handled the conditions well, the Dubois designed aluminum sloop is making her debut at the regatta.

Picture Credit: www.clairematches.com










The skippers' briefing was held at the Admiral's Inn, followed by a Welcome reception cocktail party at the Gunpowder House, the beautifully restored 18th-century gunpowder store was a splendid setting to open the proceedings. (Picture: Ted Martin)





Oceans Eleven

2016 Superyacht Challenge Antigua
28th - 31st January 2016
  
The sixth edition of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua has attracted eleven magnificent ocean-going yachts. The impressive fleet will take part in three days of competitive racing along the stunning south coast of Antigua, complimented by laid-back social events, The Superyacht Challenge Antigua is a wonderful celebration of sailing and parties, dedicated to pure fun afloat and ashore, where all participants enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, free from commercial endorsements.

This year's entry includes yachts from 90 to 147 feet, including two of the latest superyachts to be commissioned. which will be making their racing debut at the Superyacht Challenge Antigua. The regatta is designed to be solely for the pleasure of superyacht owners, their guests and crew. The philosophy of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua has always been the same; back to how Superyacht racing started. Then the focus was on a bunch of mates who run big boats getting together to provide some fun racing and shoreside events for their owners' enjoyment.
The Superyacht Challenge Antigua has no overall winner, however yachts are separated into two classes, Corsairs and Buccaneers. The top three yachts in each class win a barrel of Antiguan rum to celebrate their achievements. Awards are also made for the fastest yacht on the water and the best corrected time, using the ORC SuperYacht Rule. The best crew work observed by the race committee, led by International Race Officer John Coveney, will also receive an award.

In keeping with the ethos of the regatta, the shoreside fun is also rewarded with culinary prizes for the Best Coal Pot Dish and The Famous Cook-Off, with Superyacht chefs providing a gourmet supper for all competitors. Owners and crew also have a tailoring challenge; the Loudest Caribbean Shirt and the Best Dressed Crew Competition are all part of the fun. Antigua Barbuda Search & Rescue (ABSAR) will be supporting the regatta and is the chosen charity for the event.

A new trophy will be awarded this year, donated by the superyacht Timoneer, who have been firm supporters of the Superyacht Challenge since its conception. The Gosnell Trophy will be awarded to the yacht, who in the opinion of the competitors and the race committee, has competed in the Spirit of the Regatta, where they have sailed as hard as they can with the equipment available while still representing the yacht well ashore. A fitting tribute to Mrs G, the spirit of Timoneer and the Superyacht Challenge Antigua.


The Gosnell Trophy


The philosophy of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua has always been the same; back to how Superyacht racing started. Then the focus was on a bunch of mates who run big boats getting together to provide some fun racing and shoreside events for their owners' enjoyment.  Phil Wade and Timoneer were a catalyst in reprising this philosophy with us. For the previous five editions the Superyacht Challenge Antigua has stuck to those guns and the regatta is working as we see steady growth in interest from the superyachts.

There is no silver trophy for the winners, just a barrel of rum and a lot of fun and after careful consideration it has been decided to award a perpetual trophy for Spirit of Regatta. The award will be named the Gosnell Trophy, in honour of the owner of Timoneer who has now passed away and will be awarded for the first time this year.

The owner and crew of Timoneer were firm supporters from the start and some of our best memories were seeing her and her entourage enjoying the event. Thanks to them for the help in making this event happen and an award like this is a fitting tribute to Mrs G and the spirit of Timoneer.

The Gosnell Trophy will be awarded to the yacht, who in the opinion of the competitors and the race committee, has competed in the Spirit of the Regatta, where they have sailed as hard as they can with the equipment available while still representing the yacht well ashore.  

  Just Two seconds


Sunday 2nd February 2015 Final Update – The Superyacht Challenge Antigua

Lighter shifty conditions provided for a dramatic finale to the 4th edition of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua. The overall winner being decided on the last leg of the final race and by just two seconds.

Unfurled nailed the pin end of the line with just a second to spare, the German Frers 112' sloop was at full pace and the crew knew they had a chance of overall victory. Before the final six mile beat, Unfurled was up to fourth in pursuit of the leaders and played the current in Rendezvous Bay to great effect to stay in touch with the bigger, more powerful yachts and take the lead. A smart, tack bare away set, at Nelsons and Unfurled extended the lead and managed to hold off the chasing pack. Unfurled took the gun and then had to wait for the time correction to be factored in, the result was astonishing. The Superyacht Challenge Antigua delivered one of the closest finishes in the history of superyacht racing.

126' Schooner, Gloria finished the regatta in style scoring their second bullet to elevate the team into third overall, but only just, Gloria was tied on points with 180' Hoek designed ketch, Marie. Gloria took the podium place ahead of Marie by virtue of two first places in the regatta.

182' Dykstra Schooner, Adela was runner up to Gloria in Race 4, assuring the the Adela team of second place overall, just a point ahead of both Marie and Gloria. In the last race, Adela beat Unfurled by just 2 seconds after time correction. Significantly if Unfurled had beaten Adela, the 112' sloop would have tied for an overall victory for the regatta. However, the overall winner of the 4th edition of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua was the 102' Ketch, Marama by a single point from Unfurled.

The Superyacht Challenge Antigua Prize Giving was held at the Copper and Lumber Store in Nelson's Dockyard and true to the event's traditions there was not much pomp or ceremony, just several hundred good natured, lovers of yachting, getting together for a big laugh and congratulating each winner as they went up to the stage.


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Thrills and Spills

Day Two Update - Saturday 1st February Races 2 & 3


Gloria/Kevin Johnson
Glorious conditions prevailed for the second day of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua. Two races were held in 17-20 knots of warm Caribbean breeze and the two shorter, tighter courses provided some thrills and spills for the eight strong superyacht fleet.

In the first race of the day, the 182' Dykstra Schooner, Adela got away to a flying start, smashing to windward before unfurling 'Big Red' and accelerating downwind. Adela performed well, playing the current and shifts and the crew excuted some text book boat handling to score their first win of the regatta. Germán Frers 113' sloop, Unfurled sailed well to post a second place with the 108' Vitters sloop Inoui third. Yesterday's winner, 102' ketch Marama suffered a torn mainsail but quick crew work to reef the sail, saved the day.

The last race of the day was full of incident, unfortunately Inoui could not compete due to gear failure but will be back racing on Sunday. One of the Adela crew was flicked over the side during a manoeuvre , Maxi Swan 90, Freya immediately offered assistance, furling away their head sail and in a controlled gybe went to assist the man overboard but the Adela crew was safely recovered by a chase boat. Freya received three cheers from several yachts after the race.

126' Schooner, Gloria has been in consistent form all day and stayed out of trouble in the last race to take the first win. Marama was second and the very consistent Unfurled in third. This is the first occasion that Gloria has entered the Superyacht Challenge Antigua and the owner and crew were elated with the win. Gloria's bow crew are all in their twenties and composed of as many gals as guys, the regular crew on Gloria have been joined with sailors in Antigua working on other yachts. Most of the rear guard (critics section) is composed of silver foxes with decades of superyacht know-how and the blend of youth and experience produces a laugh a minute atmosphere on board.


Saturday night's entertainment was a Caribbean beach party with a loud shirt competition. The colourful clan enjoyed a barbecue with a traditional Antiguan dance troop to get the party going and dance tunes kept the tempo up right through the night. Prizes for the loudest Caribbean shirt will be awarded at tomorrow's Prize Giving, the smart money is on Timoneer!


Racing concludes today with the 4th and last race of the 2014 Superyacht Challenge Antigua. After a short windward start, the fleet will stride out on a 5 mile downwind leg offshore into deep ocean, then its a broad reach back to Curtain Bluff with a six mile beat and a sprint reaching finish. Spectators in Antigua can watch the action from Fort Charlotte, Rendezvous Bay and Curtain Bluff. 

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Spectacular Start and Galloping Gourmets

The first race of the 4th edition of The Superyacht Challenge Antigua was blessed with stunning Caribbean conditions. Warm air, ocean swell and 17-20 knots of breeze. 







The 22 mile course tested the yachts and crews at just about every point of sail and there was plenty of close action on the water but that was nothing compared to the intense competition for Friday night's 'Cook Off' but more of that later.

The first yacht to start in the pursuit race was the 126' Schooner, Gloria, which was announced by a blast of The Doors tune G-L-O-R-IA! The 182' Dykstra Schooner, Adela had the best start, through the line at full pelt, just a few seconds before the gun and with some impressive crew work, Adela led the fleet rounding Curtains for the long beat back towards the finish. However, the 113' carbon composite sloop Inoui went like a rocket upwind to pass Adela to take line honours.

There was tremendously close racing throughout the fleet, especially between 90' Swan Maxi, Freya and the 180' ketch, Marie. The David and Goliath battle for the line was won by Freya by just 4 seconds. Germán Frers 113' sloop, Unfurled made an excellent recovery to finish third over the line, after blowing out their spinnaker but today's race was won by the 102' ketch Marama, which corrected out to win Race One from Adela.


After completing the race, a sensational cookery competition was held right off the superyacht dock at Nelson's Dockyard. By design, superyacht crews have some highly talented chefs both amateur and professional and each yacht produced, what can only be described, as a galloping gourmet of fine fayre, beautifully and artistically presented. With racing points awarded towards the overall score their was a real incentive to shine and the eight tables of rare roast beef, succullent shrimp, fish curry and all manner of spiced and seasoned vegetable accompaniments was a feast fit for a king. The jury is still out but Adela's eye catching watermelon shark most definitely caught the eye of race officer, John Coveney and the rib of beef from SY Marie was cooked to perfection by Ninja Mutant Turtles!

Saturday 1st February, two races are scheduled, if they are as fun as the 'cook off' there will be smiles all round!


Races 2 & 3 are scheduled today from1100 local time (1600 GMT). The yacht trackers will be activated 15 minutes before the start, go to the Live Tracking page.

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Training Day and Gunpowder Plot


The Superyacht Challenge Antigua - Racing starts - Friday 31 January at 1200 local time (1700 GMT).
The majority of The Superyacht Challenge Antigua fleet were out on the water Thursday 30th January, honing their boat handling skills and manoeuvres in feisty conditions. The magnificent yachts got a real taste of spectacular Caribbean sailing. 20 knots gusting up to 25 with 3 metre swell, provided for exhilarating sailing on the south coast of Antigua.

A skippers' briefing was held at the Admiral's Inn, followed by a Welcome reception cocktail party held at the Gunpowder House, the beautifully restored 18th-century gunpowder store was a splendid setting to open the proceedings.


With a hedonistic cocktail of a few drinks and some of sailing's well-known characters, there was plenty of plotting for an early bath in the infinity pool! The opening reception was a fun-filled affair with rival crews enjoying plenty of laughter. The Superyacht Challenge Antigua is the first superyacht event of the year and many of the sailors were meeting up for the first time in 2014.


The first race is scheduled to be just over 22 miles long. The predicted weather is for strong Trade Winds of 20 knots or more and a significant sea state. Spectators in Antigua can views the racing from Fort Charlotte, Rendezvous Bay and Curtain Bluff.

Starting and finishing just outside Nelson's Dockyard, the fleet will enjoy a fast close reach at the start, followed by a tactical downwind run in deep ocean. A broad reach back inshore is followed by a tricky windward leeward. Then the penultimate leg, which will have the magnificent fleet powering to windward for a 6 mile beat with a sprint broad reach to finish, just outside Nelson's Dockyard.

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Preview 

The Superyacht Challenge Antigua is now in its fourth year and has established itself as a unique superyacht event. An exciting and friendly regatta designed as a wonderful celebration of sailing and parties, solely for the enjoyment of superyacht owners, their guests and crew.

The challenge is held each year at the end of January, hosted by the Admiral's Inn in Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua. Whilst the racing is very competitive, the Superyacht Challenge Antigua is dedicated to pure fun afloat and ashore, where all participants enjoy a relaxed party atmosphere free from any commercial endorsements.

There are three days of spectacular racing with ratings and start times being determined by the International Superyacht Rule. Starting just outside English Harbour, the magnificent superyachts take part in daily pursuit races along the stunning south coast of Antigua.

For the fourth year in succession, an impressive line up of some of the world's finest sailing yachts will be racing. This year, eight superyachts yachts, with a combined length of over 1000ft, will be taking part. Half of the fleet are returning from last year and three superyachts are new to the event.

Last year's overall winner, Adela is back to defend the challenge. The 182ft Dykstra designed schooner is the largest yacht competing, whilst the smallest is the 90ft Maxi Swan, Freya, which will be making its debut. The 102ft ketch Maramar was second last year and will be hoping to go one better. 113ft Germán Frers sloop, Unfurled was third in last year's event and returns to the challenge and the magnificent 147ft Dubois ketch, Timoneer is also back. Hoek-designed ketch, Marie returns to the Superyacht Challenge Antigua, the 180ft ketch competed in 2011 and 2012. Whilst the 110ft Vitters Maxi, Inoui and the 126ft Schooner, Gloria will be making their first appearance.

“We are looking forward to three days of excellent sailing, spectacular racing and great sportsmanship.” commented Paul Deeth, one of the founders of the event. “As always, we will be encouraging all participants to indulge in the after hours social activities, which are aimed at creating an ideal social environment to enjoy the company of the various contenders.”

The schedule for the 4thSuperyacht Challenge Antigua starts on Thursday 30thJanuary with an exclusive welcome reception cocktail party and continues with three days of racing and private parties, organised purely for the enjoyment of every competitor.