Mother Nature delivered once again perfect conditions for the second day of the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, sponsored by Panerai. Three hours of exhilarating racing were fully appreciated by crews returning to Antigua Yacht Club Marina.
Salt encrusted on the dock, the Classics Clan shared their memories of a great day on the water, even the whales came out to play, captured by photographer, Cory Silken. 15 knots of Trade’s built during the day, gusting up to 25 knots and the amazing classics were lifting up their skirts with white water hissing at the rail. The Butterfly Course consisted of two tight triangles, testing boat handling to the maximum, on six short legs of roughly two to three nautical miles.
After two days of racing six yachts still remain unbeaten: Ralph Isham’s Whitehawk, Herreshoff Schooner Mary Rose, Leo Goolden’s Lorema, Robert Soros’ Juno, 112′ Marconi Schooner Argo and Paul Deeth’s Petrana.
In the Spirit of Tradition Class, the magnificent 140ft Frers ketch, Rebecca, sailed impeccably well taking line honours and won on corrected time from J Class, Rainbow JH2, by just under 3 minutes. After two races, Rebecca is now tied on points with Rainbow JH2. “We hope that we get two big wind shifts tomorrow and The Cannon course is all upwind!” joked one of Rainbow’s crew.
Griff Rhys Jones’ 1948 57′ Olin Stephens yawl, Argyll, put in a strong performance today to win Vintage Class A by just 7 seconds on corrected time from Trevor Fetter’s 1938 S&S yawl, Black Watch. Welsh comedian, Griff Rhys Jones is best known for the British TV series, Not the Nine O’Clock News but Griff has been sailing all his life and his passion for classic yachts is as strong as ever.
“I only started racing about 10 years ago but I sailed with my father as a boy on the east coast of England.” commented Griff. “I race Argyll all the time because I can organise my work calendar around it. If you are just cruising, it is easy to change your plans and you just end up staying in the office. When you go racing you have to stick to the dates. The magic for me is that you are instantly transported into another world, racing is so demanding it’s a new set of anxieties! You’re thinking, if only I spent more time doing this, I would be better at it. For me racing Argyll is hugely entertaining, we don’t have any pro-sailors and often we meet new crew, as we have done here. Racing is immense fun, as long as you don’t get too hung up about winning.”
The magnificent 180′ gaff rigged schooner, Elena, was an amazing sight. A blend of speed and beauty, Elena was in her element in the ocean conditions. Skipper Steve McLaren, explained the lure of Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta.
“Elena was fully powered up today and the Butterfly Course was a real test of boat handling, with a lot of manoeuvres. It was an exciting day in challenging conditions. Elena’s owner is a big supporter of Antigua Classics but that is not the only reason for our participation, Kenny Coombs sailed on Elena and was a true friend. As a show of respect, when Elena is in the Caribbean we come to race here and we feel by doing so, we have encouraged other yachts, such as Rebecca and Rainbow, to take part.”
By invitation only, tonight’s Owners Party, hosted by EFG Bank, will be at South Point Resort with the inaugural S.Pellegrino Cooking Cup Competition. Phillip Baxter, Director Private Banking at EFG, has been racing at Antigua Classics Yacht Regatta and explains why the international bank supports the event.
“EFG likes to get involved in sponsorship at a grass roots level, so rather than just use money for advertising, we like to get our clients involved in the activities and enjoy the benefit of the sponsorship directly. I have been racing with Richard Oswald’s Coral of Cowes for the regatta and as a sailor, rather than a banker, it is an amazing experience. Coral is a beautiful boat and the weather in Antigua provides perfect sailing conditions, it really is awe-inspiring and EFG believe that our clients find the experience just as rewarding and that really cements our relationship.”
Tonight’s social schedule at Antigua Yacht Club continues with the highly popular open mic music night with backing by Itchy Feet. Racing will continue at Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, sponsored by Panerai, tomorrow Sunday 19th April, with the Kenny Coombs Memorial Cannon Race followed by the Parade of Classics through historical Nelson’s Dockyard.
more info ………. antiguaclassics.com
by Louay Habib