Saharet of Tyre and Bolero at the start line

Saharet of Tyre and Bolero at the start line

Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta: another perfect sailing day


22/04/2024 - 05:27

With perfect trade wind conditions today, each start was flawless and the yachts all aimed for the first mark six miles SSE in a comfortable close reach for the last day of fleet racing at the 35th Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. Cassiopeia II selflessly saved the day by hauling in a long fishing net floating on the surface close to the first mark so that it did not affect other competitors. Their actions were indicative of what the regatta is all about, safety and goodwill coming before competition. The Cannon Race is always spectacular as the boats reach out and back allowing the crews the opportunity to watch each other as they pass.

Alex Veccia, captain of 85-foot classic yawl Nordwind built in 1939, commented "Today has been the best day, lovely weather and we were lucky with the flat sea as well, the Cannon course is my favourite course." Pat Ilderton, owner of Mah Jong, 52-foot Bermudian yawl and sailing on West Indies sloop Genesis this week, said of today's race "The wind pick up slowly all day long, that nice long last leg was the deal, it was the best day yet."

The results were close with several classes decided on the final day of racing. The legendary racing yawl Bolero came from behind with back to back wins on the last two days to take first in the Vintage & Classic class with The Blue Peter second and Seefalke II third. The Traditional class was also decided on the final day with the Carriacou sloop Genesis sealing the class win with a first place in race four, Alani was second and New Moon third. In the Schooner class, the Malabar V schooner, Charm III scored four straight wins to claim first place with Eros second and Adventurer third. Ocean Star won first place in the Tall Ships class with the sister ships Chronos and Rhea second and third. The standings were also tight in the Spirit of Tradition class. The Nicholson 55 Eager came from behind to win the class by one point with firsts in the last two races, Freya was second and Chloe Giselle third. In the Modern A class the Soverel 43 Legacy held a one point lead coming into the final day of racing and sealed a class win with a first place in the last race, Saida finished second and Yemaya third. The Modern B class was won convincingly by the Dragon Jabberwock, second place came Encore and third was Cricket.

After racing, everyone dropped sail at the entrance of the Dockyard and paraded through the harbour in their finery, flags hoisted, crews dressed up, hats waving, horns blaring and even a jazz saxophone playing on Eros. The crew of Huey Too danced and sang their way to the dock and the crew of Alani wowed the crowd in tiger-striped outfits. And if all that activity wasn't enough, Alvei, the 3-masted square-rigger, hosted a schooner olympics where events included line throwing, bowline tying and line climbing. The steel drum band then started, the grills fired up for the evening bbq and English Harbour rum punches and Red Stripe beer were gratefully received by the crowd. In the first Rain Gutter Regatta, where each yacht has thirty minutes to build a small boat then race them by blowing them down a rain gutter, the crowd cheered on their favourites with the Galatea crew beating Charm III in the finals and Huey Too winning the most innovative design award.

Everyone is both exhausted and relieved that racing has finished, but looking forward to tomorrow afternoon's shore side events with a cream tea and gig racing at the Admirals Inn and evening prize giving ceremony at the museum. For those who haven't sailed enough yet, there is a single-handed race in the morning.

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