by Louay Habib
Antigua’s Falmouth Harbour has taken on the charm of days gone by, the 27th Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, sponsored by Panerai, has brought together an extra-ordinary fleet of traditional yachts from all over the world, the beautiful natural harbour is in a time-warp. A forest of wooden masts on stunning yachts, with elegant lines, have gathered at the Antigua Yacht Club for a celebration of sailing.
Sean McMillan Flight of Ufford
On Wednesday 16th April the regatta was officially opened with a Welcome Party and tribute to Kenny Coombs, the Father of Antigua Classics, who sadly passed away in October. A Cannon shot and eight bells signalled the start of the occasion and tributes were made to Kenny by his brother, Jim Coombs, Griffin from the Schooner Adventurous and Helen Spooner on behalf of Jane Coombs.
'We would like to pay tribute to our dear friend, Kenny Coombs who sadly passed away since we last gathered.' commented Helen. 'Antigua Classics was the highlight of Kenny's year. He was a good soul, a kind person and one of great physical strength but one of the most gentle people you could ever meet, who was loved by everyone, wherever he went. When Kenny Coombs went on deck or into a room, the world seemed to become a better place. Thank you for coming to Antigua with your beautiful yachts, safe sailing and have the time of your lives; let's keep Kenny's favourite party going.'
A wonderful video of the life and times of Kenny Coombs, produced by Sibel Bilgin was followed by a barbeque supper and live band, Asher Otto and Itchy Feet got the party rocking, as the traditional Mount Gay Red Caps were handed out.
Racing at the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta started today, Thursday 17th April with the 15th Edition of the Single Handed Race for the Carib Bean Coffee Cup. 17 yachts entered the eight mile race.
Single-handed Race Coordinator, Tim Wall commented after racing. 'A great turn out with 17 boats and I was delighted to see some competitive but gentleman’s racing out there. This is just the start of the regatta and a conservative approach to the single handed race is the right way to go and all of the boats and sailors coped very well today in breezy conditions.'
Concours d’Elehgance - 2014 Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta
Sean McMillan's Spirit 52, Flight of Ufford corrected out to win both the Spirit of Tradition Class and the 45' and over class.
'That was just brilliant.' smiled Sean McMillan. 'I often sail her on my own but rarely get to race her in that mode. It was hard work but what a fantastic place to sail! Back home on the East Coast of England, we have depth and tide issues to contend with and it is a good deal colder at this time of the year. The crucial leg of the race was the downwind leg, I decided to sail the rhumb line whilst others elected to sail the angles and a big gain was made there.'
Tonight the Classics' will be partying at the Antigua Yacht Club with the Concours d’Elégance Trophy Presentation sponsored by Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance. Courtesy of Best Cellars, the Prosecco will be flowing, accompanied by the Panache steel band. From Friday, 18th April, the magnificent fleet of classic yachts will begin a four day race programme with fun filled parties ashore.
For more information visit Antigua Classics