THE SUPERYACHT CHALLENGE ANTIGUA

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SUPERYACHT CHALLENGE ANTIGUA 2012 FINISHES IN SPECTACULAR STYLE!
Monday 30th January 2012

The final race of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua 2012 was held on Sunday, January 29 off the south coast of Antigua. The cloudy and wet conditions at the start of the race helped to suck up the wind, resulting is slightly less windy conditions than those experienced on the first two days of racing.

Marie on Day 2 of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua 2012.

Just prior to noon, which would signal the first start of the race, Marie informed the Race Committee that she was experiencing difficulties with her hydraulics but that she was hopeful she’d be able to fix them. Marama was the first yacht to start followed by Drumfire at one minute past noon. Fidelis announced well in advance that she would not be starting due to technical difficulties. Each of the other yachts hit the start line within seconds of their start time until just prior to Marie’s allotted time when she notified the Race Committee that she had been unable to correct her hydraulic problems and would have to retire from the regatta. What a disappointment it was for not only Marie’s crew but for the Race Committee and the other competitors of the regatta. In the spirit of the event, however, Marie signaled her thanks to the Race Committee with a two-gun salute prior to returning to the dock at Nelson’s Dockyard Marina.

The remaining nine yachts tromped around the race course in very good time, rounding the leeward mark and then sailing upwind to the final mark before heading to the finish. After rounding the leeward mark the real action took place, with many of the yachts in the back of the fleet soon overtaking the competition ahead.

By the time the fleet was south of Falmouth Harbour and heading back towards the final mark, the yachts had all grouped much closer together, promising a very close finish. Going into this, the fourth and final race of the regatta, Rebecca and Virago were tied with five points, with Sojana following closely behind with only eight points.

Heading to the final mark, Virago led Rebecca by a slim margin. It was nail-biting competition when suddenly Virago changed course and headed off onto a reach. Spectators wondered what could possibly cause her to do that at this stage in the competition. Soon afterwards, the Race Committee was contacted on the VHF with Virago indicating that they had a fairly seriously injured crew member and would have to retire from the race. ABSAR was called and caught up with Virago as quickly as possible. What a shame!

A photo finish win by Adela in Race 4 of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua 2012.

That left only eight yachts in the final run to the finish, and what a finish it was. Drumfire, having led for most of the race and first to round the last mark, looked like she might take the win in this final race. But Adela was having no part of that as she hoisted her spinnaker and cruised on past at high speed, only seconds from the finish line. Although a disappointment for Drumfire, it was a spectacular finish with Adela crossing the line only 19 seconds before Drumfire. Seventeen seconds later Sojana crossed the line, with Marama finishing in fourth place only 13 seconds later.

Rebecca in fifth place had her worst finish of the regatta, finishing one minute and 27 seconds after Adela crossed the line, but she held on to take the overall regatta win with only 10 points. Sojana followed very closely behind with 11 points and Virago, notwithstanding her retirement in the final race, took third place with 17 points. Timoneer, having had the best start of the regatta in race four, hitting the line only one second after her allotted start time, brought up the rear finishing in last place in the final race of the event.

Winner of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua 2012, the beautiful classic Rebecca.

Congratulations to the Race Committee for its very successful use of the Bucket Rating Rule which led to very exciting races with all yachts finishing remarkably close together in each of the races.

Congratulations also to Rebecca for winning the Superyacht Challenge Antigua 2012 and to all competitors for their participation in the event. Best wishes to Virago’s injured crew member for a speedy and complete recovery.

This was the most exciting Superyacht Challenge Antigua held to date and it is clear that everyone loves the event and it is destined to grow in future years.

Click here for Race 4 and Final results.

Article by Kathy Lammers.
Photos by Kevin Johnson, www.kevinjohnsonphotography.com.


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