By Louay Habib
ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- They say you make your own luck and in Friday’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 moment’s 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.
“For safety reasons, we had to manoeuvre with our engine after the tangle and we immediately retired.” confirmed 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 that stole the wind and decisive moments. Gloria's spirit was undiminished.