Hetairos charges to Round Antigua Record

Day One Superyacht Challenge Antigua
The 218ft ketch Hetairos © Claire Matches

Hetairos has set a new monohull race record for Round Antigua Race. The 218ft Dykstra/Reichel Pugh ketch skippered by Graham Newton, was the last to start in the pursuit race, completing the 46.8nm Round Antigua Course in an elapsed time of 03 hrs 46 mins 08 seconds. Hetairos beat the previous record set in 2018 by the modified Volvo 70 Warrior by 9 minutes and 30 seconds. This is the first time that a Round Antigua Race has been organised by the Superyacht Challenge Antigua. The famous course is a familiar circuit to racing yachts visiting Antigua.

Hetairos was also the overall race winner after ORCsy time correction. The 121ft Dyksra sloop Action, skippered by Josh Gilchrist, was a very close second by under five minutes after time correction. The 180ft Dykstra ketch Kamaxitha, skippered by Tim Urwin, completed the podium in third.

Cameron Appleton/Hetairos © Claire Matches

Hetairos tactician, Cameron Appleton, commented from the Superyacht Dock in English Harbour.

“The conditions were a little more moderate than we thought, and the boats that started before us had, on average, a couple more knots of wind. We saw about 18/19 knots, starting from about 100º and then went to about 70º mid-way in the race, before returning to about 100º later on. We had a conservative sail plan for much of the race, a bit of asset preservation for this regatta, and the next one to come. We were confident in our strategy that the record was on with a jib top and also upwind sail configuration. The plan was to sail clean and execute good manoeuvres, the Hetairos team (of over 40 crew) produced excellent work and the boss did a great job driving. The boat is a bit of a machine and as long as you treat it well and plan ahead, with a good philosophy for approaching the manoeuvres, it all goes to plan. It’s busy, the loads are huge, and there is a lot to think about. You have to be ahead of the game, all the time. You do not take anything for granted with a boat like Hetairos, the more we sail it, the more we get used to it. However, you always have to give Hetairos a tremendous amount of respect – it is a special boat.”

121ft sloop Action © Claire Matches

Ian Walker is tactician on the 121ft sloop Action with Shirley Robertson in the afterguard, was pleased with their performance. “Action has a few crew changes from our race here two years ago, so today was a really good chance to run through everything and check the boat over,” commented Ian. “It was bumpy around the top of the island, gusting 23 knots, so it was great that everything stayed together. We sailed really cleanly, and the boat was going very well. Action is a cruising superyacht that we are trying to race, so we have to minimise the number of manoeuvres, which means you have to compromise your ideal strategy. We had a really good day’s racing and the owner drove 95% of the time, which was really good time-on-the wheel for her; a fantastic shake down for all of us and the boat. Tomorrow is looking even windier, and a shorter course, so the Round Antigua Race as well as two days practice, has been great preparation for the series.”

The 11th edition of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua continues with Race One of the four-race series. The first race will start from outside Nelson’s Dockyard at 1100 AST on Thursday 10 March.