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Dazzling Competition

Race Day Three 16 March 2024

Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua, 16 March 2024. The penultimate day of racing for the Superyacht Challenge Antigua (SYCA) got underway in brilliant sunshine under The Pillars of Hercules outside Nelson’s Dockyard.

During racing the gradient wind was a steady 14-17 knots, oscillating around an easterly direction. Conditions remained stable for the duration of the race, but small wind shifts and land effects added complexity to strategy and tactics.

The SYCA Race Committee, led by PRO Hank Stuart, set a 17.5nm triangular course for the Buccaneer Class, which included three long downwind, reaching and upwind legs. The Corsair and Privateer Classes were set a longer but similar course of 28.2nm, including inshore beats into Rendezvous Bay.

Hetairos © Claire Matches

Privateer Class

The 218ft (66.45m) Dykstra/Reichel Pugh ketch Hetairos skippered by Graham Newton, made the best start, crossing the line just two seconds after the gun was fired from Fort Charlotte. The 182ft (55.5m) Dykstra schooner Adela skippered by Greg Perkins also made a superb start just ten seconds shy of their gun.

Hetairos showed great speed on the course completing in an elapsed time of 02 Hours 22 Mins and 45 Secs. Hetairos’ VMG for the 28.2nm course was an impressive 12 knots in a wind range of 14-17 knots. Hetairos Navigator Marcel Van Triest reported gaining well inshore at Rendezvous with a lift going into the bay and coming out. Hetairos took line honours for the race and the win after ORCsy time correction.

On board Swan 90 Hummingbird © Claire Matches

Corsair Class

The 110ft (33.5m) Malcolm McKeon sloop Zemi, skippered by Hjalmar Winbladh, made the best start in the class, crossing the line just two seconds after the gun was fired from Fort Charlotte. However, a broken fitting on the Main Sail led to their retirement later in the race.

The Swan 90 (27m) Hummingbird, skippered by Josh Hill, was just five seconds shy of the staggered start and Don Macpherson’s 90ft (27m) Swan Freya also got away well just 11 seconds after their gun. The two Swans had a titanic battle around the course, caught on camera by Claire Matches who was a guest on board Hummingbird. The SYCA Protest Committee reported being very happy with the intense communication among the yachts on the safety channel but the battle between Freya and Hummingbird was passionate. Freya won the duel with an elapsed time less than 8 minutes quicker than Hummingbird. After ORCsy time correction Freya won the race, keeping their perfect score for the regatta.

Oyster 82 Zig Zag © Claire Matches

Buccaneer Class

John McMonigall’s Oyster 82 Zig Zag, skippered by Carl Raynes, made the best start in the class, crossing the line six seconds after the gun was fired. The 108ft (33m) Hoek designed sloop Namuun, skippered by Tom Aiken, also made an excellent start just eight seconds after their gun. Unfortunately for Namuun, a winch problem, affected their performance but the Ireland rugby fans on board were delighted to hear that their team had won the Six Nations on St. Patrick’s Weekend! Zig Zag won their third race in a row by a handsome margin after ORCsy time correction.

Parrots and Pirates © Claire Matches

The competition doesn’t just take place on the water at the Superyacht Challenge Antigua. Tonight’s loud shirt competition will produce an intense battle of style mixed in with a riot of colour! Racing at the Superyacht Challenge Antigua concludes on Sunday  March 17th with more spectacular action off the South Coast of Antigua.