Birthday Girl


The penultimate day of the Superyacht Regatta was a special day for Rebecca. 20 years old and still looking as beautiful as the day she was launched from the Pendennis Yard, Falmouth, UK. From the drawing board of German Frers Design, the 140ft (42m) ketch is one of the most beautiful superyachts ever built. Racing in the Corsairs Class alongside Rebecca are two magnificent 112ft (34m) sloops, Spiip and Nilaya, and neither has given any quarter to the birthday girl. However Rebecca went on to win Race 3 from Spiip with Nilaya third. Going into the last race tomorrow, a winner-takes-all scenario exists between Rebecca and Nilaya.

A veteran of six America’s Cups and four Round-the-World Races, Grant “Fuzz” Spanhake has a long history with Rebecca and has been driving her for the Superyacht Challenge Antigua. “It’s fantastic!” smiled Fuzz. “Rebecca is the prettiest boat in the world, we keep her balanced, and the missen is the big rudder, I have the small rudder! With this boat and this crew life is good!”

This is Rebecca’s fifth Superyacht Challenge Antigua, Rebecca’s Captain Darryl Starr explains the attraction. “It’s always a good vibe at the event. The spirit of the regatta is one of the highlights for us and it is a good warm up for events coming along. Antigua is a great place to race as we always get testing conditions, and we are very grateful to have Antiguan based crew that have been with us for over ten years, that continuity helps the new people who come in, who do change the dynamic a little bit and help to up the ante.”

In the Buccaneers Class, the 112ft (34m) Sparkman & Stephens sloop Kawil scored their third victory to seal the class win with a race to spare. Kawil got another cracking start, all the more impressive as helm Lars Loftus explained. “The instruments went off line, so that was old school style.” In Race 3 John McMonigall’s Oyster 82 Zig Zag was second, setting up a last-race battle with Catalina for runner-up in class.

The 148ft (45m) Dubois ketch Catalina is part of the history of The Superyacht Challenge Antigua, her former owners, the Gosnells, donated the ship’s bell and that is the only trophy awarded at the regatta. Each yacht competing yachts, and the race committee, cast one vote for the yacht that has competed in the Spirit of the Regatta, both afloat and ashore. The winner lifts The Gosnell Trophy.

Catalina’s Captain Shaun Whitney, has been with Catalina for two years, sailing the Atlantic, the Baltic and up to St.Petersburg Russia. After a refit in Pendennis, Catalina has returned to Antigua, and has plans to cruise the Pacific.

“The Superyacht Challenge is a good way to get to know the boat, especially in heavier weather you get to know the limitations better. We are embarking on a two year trip which will take us down to New Zealand, so this is a nice way to get the boat ready for those conditions. Above all else the boss enjoys his sailing and he was all for the regatta before we head off down to Panama.” Shaun explains Catalina’s desire to win the Gosnell Trophy. “We have a similar bell on board now for Catalina, and it would be a lovely thing to win the original – get the bell back so to speak. The Gosnells started the legacy and we would love to carry it on.”

Paddle Board Competition Photos (Kim Hall)

Fun is very much part of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua but also an opportunity to raise money for a worthy cause.The organizing committee of the Super Yacht Challenge Antigua, along with SUP Antigua, organised a paddle board competition with proceeds going towards Cottage of Hope. This is the charity of Team Antigua Island Girls, which went into the records books on 28th January as the first all-black female team to row across the Atlantic.

On a make-shift course off Nelson’s Dockyard Super Yacht Beach, teams of three battled in a relay race for the win. There was high drama in the final! As what can only be described as a course invasion and a bought of paddle-pinching – required sorting out by Principal Race Officer, John Coveney. The final race was re-run and the winner, and still reigning champions, was Team Antigua Island Boys. However the real winners was The Cottage of Hope, a privately run home in Antigua offering a normal life to abandoned girls of all ages.

Racing at the Superyacht Challenge Antigua will resume tomorrow for the final day, Sunday 3rd February, with more spectacular action for the magnificent superyachts in Antigua.