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A sparkling Day 2 at 2019 Superyacht Challenge Antigua

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The 112ft (34m) Frers sloop Spiip at the helm (Clairematches.com)
The 112ft (34m) Frers sloop Spiip at the helm (Clairematches.com)

01 February 2019, Antigua, Caribbean. The second day of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua had all the hallmarks of spectacular racing. The magnificent fleet enjoyed exhilarating conditions on the south-side of Antigua with brilliant sunshine, solid breeze and a good sea state. With all but one of the magnificent fleet measuring well over 100ft, boat handling was at a premium, as the superyachts performed at full throttle in the Caribbean sea. Principal Race Officer John Coveney chose a shorter course for the Buccaneers with seven legs, approximately 22nm. The Corsairs had a longer course of ten legs, approximately 32nm.

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In the Buccaneers Class, the 112ft (34m) Sparkman & Stephens sloop Kawil scored their second bullet of the regatta. The 148ft (45m) Dubois ketch Catalina timed their start close to perfection but finished the race 8 minutes behind Kawil after ORCsy time correction. John McMonigall's Oyster 82 Zig Zag, by far the smallest yacht in the fleet, was third.

“A glorious today, just sparkling!” enthused Zig Zag's owner and driver John McMonigall. “Starting first we get to see all the magnificent fleet during the race, and it is a joy to behold. This is Zig Zag's fourth regatta and we just love coming here. The racing is wonderful and everybody is so friendly ashore. I have just received pictures of my grandchildren playing in the snow back home in England, so sailing today in shorts and t-shirts... well what's not to like?”

In the Corsairs Class, the 112ft (34m) Reichel Pugh sloop Nilaya, driven by Filip Balcaen, had another day of close racing. Eventually taking their second race win after ORCsy time correction by just 86 seconds from the 112ft (34m) Frers sloop Spiip. The 140ft (42m) German Frers ketch Rebecca was in the battle for first place, but a problem with a spinnaker drop put them back to third.

Spiip's navigator Campbell Field knows all about the intensity of grand prix short-course racing in the 52 Super Series and the FAST40+ Class, and he has been racing on the 112ft sloop for 15 years. “It was really close racing today, four of the superyachts converged today at the bottom mark, which is a product of having a staggered start. Everybody is in contact on the radio and we all felt safe in what we were doing. It adds an exciting and glamorous element but there is a big focus on keeping these beautiful boats apart to avoid damage. This is different racing to a TP52 but it is still up there, we push ourselves but we have many hundreds of square metres of sail area and we have to treat these boats with a great deal of respect.”

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