Practice in Paradise

Nelson’s Dockyard Antigua, WI – Wednesday, 08 March 2023

There is nowhere like the Caribbean in the bleak mid-winter of the Northern Hemisphere. Warm air and crystal blue skies makes Antigua a sailor’s paradise. However, the stormy weather to the north of the Caribbean has disturbed the trade winds that usually pump in from the Atlantic.

The stand-alone Round Antigua Race was scheduled today, Wednesday 8th March, as the curtain-opener for the Superyacht Challenge Antigua. Instead the Superyacht Challenge Antigua Race Committee made the best of the light to moderate breeze, providing a short 8nm course off the South Coast of Antigua. This was a practice race for  the magnificent superyacht fleet. The scoring series for the Superyacht Challenge Antigua starts on Thursday 9th March.

The 121ft Dykstra sloop Action ahead of the 148ft Dubois sloop Gitana. © Claire Matches

The 121ft Dykstra sloop Action scored bragging rights today, finishing the practice course two-minutes ahead of the 148ft Dubois sloop Gitana. Action was also nearly ten minutes ahead after ORCsy time correction. The 148ft Dubois ketch Catalina, the 112ft Sparkman & Stephens sloop Kawil, and the Oyster 82 Zig Zag, all came out to go through the motions.

Two of Great Britain’s most accomplished sailors, Shirley Robertson and Ian Walker, are part of the afterguard on Action under the leadership of Boat Captain Angus Fuller.

“We had really good wind conditions for Action today. A fun, short course, which was a great shakedown with plenty of boat handling for the crew, which should put us in good stead for the rest of the week,” commented Ian Walker. “We had light winds but we have come here to sail and we all got out there and enjoyed a good course with fair racing. It was a lesson to us all; you should always try to run a race if you can. You can always come in if there is not enough wind, but you can’t if you have ‘canned it’ in the morning.”

Welcome Party at Boom! © Ted Martin

The Superyacht Challenge Antigua is designed for the pure enjoyment of the participants. Competitive racing is complimented by great parties which allow the owners and crews to mingle in fabulous settings. The Welcome Cocktail Party was held at Boom Gunpowder House, which is part of The Admiral’s Inn. With superb views of English Harbour, Yacht owners, race crew, and invited guests, enjoyed a relaxed atmosphere with complimentary drinks and canapes.

Welcome Party at Boom! © Ted Martin

Racing for the 12th edition of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua is scheduled to start tomorrow, Thursday 09 March.