2018 Superyacht Challenge Antigua - Day One Report
Friday, February 2, 2018 9:14 AM
A Glorious Start 8th Superyacht Challenge Antigua January 31st - 4th February 2018.
Superb conditions and close racing were the order of the day for Race One of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua. In the Corsairs Class, Elfje took the first gun, and after ORCsy time correction won the class, just 16 seconds ahead of Rebecca, with Spiip third. In the Buccaneers Class, Acadia was the victor with Zig Zag taking second place, just 37 seconds ahead on corrected time from Maramar.
Principal Race Officer John Coveney commented on the 21 nautical mile race, lasting just over two and a half hours. “The course was designed to test the fleet evenly at every point of sail, and I have to say, with a moderate to strong breeze from the east, coupled with a slight sea state, it was just a glorious day to go racing.”
After a two mile beat, the fleet eased sheets heading offshore in anticipation of setting downwind sails onto a broad reach. A tactically and physically demanding downwind leg followed, with gybes-a-plenty. The penultimate leg was a beat, playing the stunning bays along the rugged Antiguan coastline, before a short and sharp power reach to the finish.
In the Buccaneers Class, the 90ft Hoek designed sloop Acadia executed a text book start, just one second shy of the line. Acadia was launched in late 2016, and has beautiful classic lines, twin cockpits and a deckhouse leading to a rich mahogany interior. Acadia's traditional appearance is complimented by a lightweight aluminium hull and fin keel. The carbon rig flies a full main, cutter-rigged foresails and a top-down furling asymmetrical headsail.
“We have really got a great sailing team together and It felt really good to get a flying start, it was about as close as you want to get.” smiled Arcadia's skipper Heinrich Muller. “This is a nice event; low key, great racing and fits in really well with our schedule. Our owner likes to race but also enjoys remote cruising, and by racing Arcadia it lets us test the limits, so we really know what the boat can handle, especially when we plan to visit the higher latitudes later this season.”
In the Corsairs Class, two magnificent sloops enjoyed an epic battle with the 112ft German Frers designed sloop Spiip getting the better of the duel in the latter part of the race. The Bill Dixon designed 105ft Danneskjold was originally launched in 2009, and was the first Superyacht to use a telescopic keel. Danneskjold's hull is made from advanced composites contributing to an impressive displacement of just 70 tonnes, and a minimalist deck layout enables slick manoeuvres. America's Cup and multiple world champion Mike Toppa is part of an impressive crew.
“Danneskjold has been extremely well prepared by Captain Simon Hill ,but this is a new team and we have had limited time to practice. Having said that the crew sailed the boat really well for a first day, executing manoeuvres well. Today Antigua served up some classic conditions; squally with a lot of shifts. We had a great battle with Spiip, and five minutes before the last mark we were neck-and-neck, just dead even. There was a 20 degree shift which favoured them and that was the ball game, but good for them, they sailed well and it was exciting to have two well sailed superyachts going at it.”
The traditional exclusive Welcome Cocktail Party at the Gunpowder House Boom Restaurant marked the start of celebrations for the 8th edition of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua. Owners, guests and crew enjoyed sundowners and canapés over looking Nelson's Dockyard, prior to the start of four days of racing in one of the world's best sailing locations.
Racing continues tomorrow Friday 2nd February with Race Two scheduled to start at 1100 local time.