A flying finish to the 2017 Superyacht Challenge Antigua. (www.clairematches.com)
ST JOHN'S, Antigua -- The fourth and final encounter at the 2017 Superyacht Challenge was a magical affair, sparkling Caribbean sunshine, 20 knots of breeze and the added delight of Caribbean swell. The Race Committee set a course of approximately 18 miles, to test every angle of sail and in the true ethos of the regatta it was a fast and thrilling race. After a short beat, the fleet hoisted spinnakers fro a downwind run offshore, followed by a broad reach, and a high octane blast reach back towards Antigua. The beat to finish had the superyachts playing the bays along the rugged Antiguan coastline to the finish.
The Corsairs averaged 14 knots of boat speed on the blast reach and the entire fleet was no more than ten boats lengths apart. The 112ft Baltic Nilaya has locked horns with her rival the 112ft Frers Spiip. The latter held off Nilaya until the very end of the blast reach, as Nilaya caught a big gust and surfed passed Spiip at 18 knots. However, it was a great day for the 152ft ketch, Elfje, which took line honours in the final race to beat their rival, the 182ft Schooner Adela. After ORCsy time correction, Spiip was the winner of the final race and the Corsairs Class for the regatta.
“A fantastic regatta, with a great atmosphere. This is the first big win for Spiip and the owner and crew are very happy. ” commented Spiip navigator Campbell Field. “Nilaya and Danneskjold are very similar in performance to Spiip and we had some great tussles with Adela and Elfje as well. The Superyacht Challenge Antigua is full on out on the water and laid back ashore, the perfect combination.”
The Buccaneers Class featured two adrenalin pumping match races. The 90ft classic sloop Acadia and the 112ft Sparkman Stephens sloop Kawil matched raced the entire track, virtually overlapped for 18 miles. W76 Wild Horses showed great pace to hold a solid third behind the two larger rivals and behind Wild Horses, Oyster 82 Zig Zag and the 124ft ketch Marama were having their own private battle. After ORCsy time correction Kawil was the winner of the last race and the Buccaneers Class for the regatta.
“What a great way to celebrate the end of our two year circumnavigation," commented Kawil's owner 'Spook'. “The crew have been magnificent and this regatta has been tremendous fun. Kawil will definitely back.”
The Gosnell Trophy was first awarded in 2016, donated by the superyacht Timoneer, who have been firm supporters of the Superyacht Challenge since its conception. The Gosnell Trophy is Timoneer's Bell, a perpetual trophy awarded to the yacht, who in the opinion of the competitors and the race committee, has competed in the Spirit of the Regatta, where they have sailed as hard as they can with the equipment available while still representing the yacht well ashore. A fitting tribute to Mrs G, the spirit of Timoneer and the Superyacht Challenge Antigua.
For the 2017 edition, the Gosnell Trophy was awarded to the 182ft schooner Adela. Skipper Greg Perkins and the Adela crew took to the stage, to a huge reception at the Prize Giving. Adela's Caribbean home is Antigua and after a long absence due to a major refit, the superyacht community welcomed back one of their own.