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ANTIGUA BERMUDA RACE: A RACE IS BORN
Monday 15th May 2017


Flagship of the Antigua Bermuda Race, The Bermuda Sloop Foundation's 112ft three-masted tall ship, Spirit of Bermuda at the start of the race in Antigua © Ted Martin/Antigua Bermuda Race

PRESS RELEASE: May 12, 2017 - The inaugural 935 nautical mile Antigua Bermuda Race started on time with the entire fleet getting away without a hitch. A light southerly breeze of 10 knots and warm Antiguan sunshine provided perfect conditions. The variety pack of 21 yachts is an eclectic collection, both in terms of crew and craft. From the majestic schooner, Eleonora to the pocket rocket Pogo 12.50s, and just about everything in between. The fleet includes ocean racers; new and old, as well as bluewater cruisers raced by passionate corinthians. The entire fleet started together and the Antigua Bermuda Race was born.

In the first hour of the race, American Volvo 70, Warrior, skippered by Stephen Murray Jr. had opened up a two mile lead on the chasing Swans, Don Macpherson's Swan 90, Freya and British Swan 82, Stay Calm. The breeze then backed to the east putting the fleet on a beam reach. Freya unleashed their gigantic masthead Code Zero to flash past Warrior who had forsaken their Code Zero and J1 to reduce their rating. Underpowered, Warrior was no match for the additional sail area and waterline length of Freya. Swan 82, Stay Calm was going well and estimated to be leading the race after time correction, for both IRC and CSA, but there is a long way to go. Simon & Nancy De Pietro's Irish CNB 76, Lilla was revelling in the reaching conditions and also going extremely well.


Don Macpherson's American Swan 90, Freya  © Antigua Bermuda Race/Ted Martin


American Volvo 70, Warrior, skippered by Stephen Murray Jr. © Ted Martin/Antigua Bermuda Race


Nigel Irens 78, Allegra © Antigua Bermuda Race/Ted Martin


Challenger from Nova Scotia at the start from Antigua of the inaugural Antigua Bermuda Race © Antigua Bermuda Race/Ted Martin

The lone multihull in the race, the Nigel Irens 78, Allegra was just holding off Freya, 20 miles from Barbuda. It will be interesting to see which side of Barbuda the leaders choose to follow.

As expected the two Canadian Volvo 60s, Chris Stanmore-Major's Challenger and Gilles Barbot's Esprit de Corps IV are having their own private battle; locked together as they will be for much of the race.
 
Five yachts under 50ft are taking part in the Antigua Bermuda Race and American Hanse 43, Avanti, skippered by Jeremi Jablonski has had the best start after time correction. The Swedish Pogo 12.50, Talanta skippered by Mikael Ryking has found an excellent turn of speed.
 
There is less than a mile separating the four classic yachts in the Antigua Bermuda Race; Carlo Falcone's Alfred Mylne-designed Mariella played the lifts and shifts along the south shore of Antigua to stay in touch with her bigger rivals. El Oro, Tim Wilson's Australian 68ft ketch was just a mile behind Mariella and going well.


Carlo Falcone's classic 1938 Fife Mariella ready to cast her lines and race from Antigua and Barbuda to Bermuda. Fun fact is that 18 years ago at exactly the same time, and from exactly the same spot, she was also heading to the America's Cup venue, only difference being that instead of having to sail 935nm  it was 8,000nm all the way to Auckland, New Zealand © Antigua Bermuda Race/Ted Martin


The largest boat in the race, the majestic 162ft Eleonora, an exact replica of Westward
© Antigua Bermuda Race/Ted Martin


John O'Connor's CNB 76, Sapphire III and Oyster 65, Rock Oyster © Antigua Bermuda Race/Ted Martin


One of the smallest boats in the fleet, Morgan Watson's Pogo 12.50, Hermes © Antigua Bermuda Race/Ted Martin


Race Chair, Les Crane's Farr PH 56, Monterey at the start of the first Antigua Bermuda Race organized by The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in association with Antigua Sailing Week © Ted Martin/Antigua Bermuda Race

Keep up with the race and all the news via the official website where blogs from the fleet, photos and a start video will be uploaded: https://www.antiguabermuda.com/

Blog from Rock Oyster: "Old school sailors! The tunes are on, chilled electro 80s by Ministry of Sound and the boys have had a beer considering the conditions. We have had roti for lunch. It looks as if we may set a kite soon and things are looking good," says Skipper, Ben Bowen on the Oyster 65, Rock Oyster.


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