Mistral, 82' Herreshoff schooner built in 1938 following Alice, 35' Heard sloop with 178' Adix in the background
Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta: comfort and Joy
Today's final race of the 2023 Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta was held with the sun beating down on a slight swell of deep blue Caribbean sea. The trade winds, which typically blow out of the east, swung to the southwest at around 10 knots. "With the unusual wind conditions, the Cannon course was adjusted to allow the boats to sail most of the course on a reach" said Race Coordinator, Clare Cupples. "It was a joy being out on the sea today, such a comfortable ride" said Roz Preston, owner of the Bill Dixon designed 44-foot spirit of tradition sloop Sweet Dreams.
There was tight racing in several classes. In the schooner class Richard West's 1928, 50-foot staysail schooner, Charm III and Nat Benjamin's 65-foot, gaff-rigged schooner, Juno were tied for first overall in the class with one race left. But in today's race Charm III sailed over the starting line too early so Juno won the race and secured first in the class for the Regatta. This then meant that Andy Hurst-Smith's 56-foot Cherubini schooner Principles slid into second in her class.
In Modern Division A, two Antiguan-based boats, Sandy Mair's First 35, Cricket and Bernie Evan-Wong's modified Cal 40, Huey Too started the day with Cricket holding a one point lead. Cricket was not able to hold onto the lead as Huey Too took first in race three with Cricket coming third. "I've never beaten Huey Too in a regatta ever, we had our chance today but messed up the start and could never recover" said a dapper Sandy Mair, still wearing his tie and hat from the parade back at the dock after the race.
Other class winners included Matt Barker's 1930, 65-foot cutter The Blue Peter in the Vintage and Classic division. Sarah Schelbert's 35-foot Gurney sloop, Alani in Classic GRP B, Paul Deeth's 50-foot ketch, Petrana in Classic GRP A, Alexis Andrew's 42-foot Alwyn Enoe Carriacou sloop, Genesis in the Traditional class, Robbie Ferron's Nonsuch 33, Bunglebird in Modern Division B and Don Ward's 47-foot sloop, Freya in the Spirit of Tradition class. See here for the full results.
The Parade of Classics which returned to English Harbour this afternoon was a treat for all the spectators at the Dockyard. Dressed boats and crews were applauded vigorously and the boats responded loudly with their horns and guns. Katina won a barrel of rum for the best dressed boat and crew in traditional formal attire and Charm III won the most spirited yacht in the parade.
Open Mic night has been growing in popularity over the years and last night's performance was one of the best with crews from various yachts jamming together, an amazing display of talent. The sea shanty "What shall we do with the drunken sailor" was greeted with particular enthusiasm.
"The regatta was fun filled" Deon Hector owner of the Antiguan-based, 35-foot Niagara sloop DC Camp. "The weather was a little challenging but we rose above it. There wasn't as much wind as we would have liked but the crew adjusted beautifully and it was wonderful. We'll be back again next year." Alani's owner Sarah Schelbert from Grenada added, "It was great being in Nelson's Dockyard, a beautiful place with so many beautiful boats."