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Monday 7th February 2011

The Super Yacht Challenge was held in English Harbour, Antigua on the 28th, 29th and 30th of January, 2011.  The event featured three days of fantastic racing in mainly 15 to 20 knots of wind, with wonderful relaxed social events each evening followed by the prize-giving dinner held at the Admiral’s Inn on Sunday night.

With planning beginning only a few weeks prior to the event, organisers were very pleased with the four entries they had this year:  the 141-foot schooner, This is Us, the beautiful 180-foot ketch, Marie, the 90-foot Swan, Nefertiti, and the 100-foot aluminum ketch, Marama.  Three of the four entries hosted Antiguans on board, including Paul Deeth and Carlo Falcone, both of whom took the helm on their respective yachts.

The Challenge consisted of four pursuit races over three days using the Bucket Rule, as is used for most of the Caribbean’s Super Yacht regattas.  Using this rule, ratings are adjusted daily based on the previous day’s results.  This makes for very close competition over the three days of the event.  Course lengths were from 12 to 30 miles in length and varied depending on current conditions.  One of the highlights of the event was the finish of the second race on Saturday, when Nefertiti and This Is Us both raced to the finish line with the spinnakers flying.  This is Us just managed to sneak over the line ahead of Nefertiti to take third place behind Marama and MarieMarie was not so lucky on day three when she managed to blow out her huge spinnaker before the second mark.

Super Yacht Marie.

It was a wonderful spectator event with excellent viewing areas from the south coasts of English and Falmouth Harbours as well as from Rendezvous and Carlisle Bays.  The four lovely Super Yachts provided quite a spectacle with full sails upwind and colourful spinnakers flying on the downwind legs.

The Welcome and the Prize-Giving parties were both held in the lovely grounds of the Admiral’s Inn while the more informal social events on Friday and Saturday evenings were held around the capstains in Nelson’s Dockyard.  Friday was a Caribbean night with local entertainment and food and drink in abundance.  Saturday was an informal cook-off which saw a chef from each yacht produce tasty delights using a traditional West Indian coal pot.  Prizes were given for the food deemed to be the most tasty, with first prize going to Stuart of This Is Us for his Caribbean Chocolate Chili Chicken.

Tommy Paterson provided an entertaining closing speech during the prize-giving on Sunday night at which he thanked all of the sponsors and volunteers and everyone else who came together to produce such a successful event on such short notice.  Paul Deeth and Stan Pearson, organisers of the event, were given special thanks.  And everyone was reminded of the dates for next year’s event – January 27 to 29, 2012 – so they could be sure to add them to their calendars.

The event may have been small but the yachts were big and the friendly competition and enthusiasm, both on the water and ashore, proved that it is an event not to be missed next year!

Video of the event can be viewed here:

Final results were:

1st place – Marama
2nd place – Marie
3rd place – Nefertiti
4th place – This Is Us

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