by Louay Habib
Competition at the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, sponsored by Panerai came to a conclusion today with the Windward Course, a reaching start with a tricky reverse triangle and a reach finish. The breeze was still in but had moderated enough to allow shifts to make a big impact on performance. Several classes were decided on the last day of racing. The magnificent fleet cast off lines and headed out to the race track for the last time until next year!
Mary Rose - Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta 2014
In Vintage Class A, Carlo Falcone’s Alfred Mylne designed Ketch, Mariella won the last race of the regatta to take the class title by just one point from Scott Franz’s Herreshoff 72, Ticonderoga. Trygve Bratz’s Vinzenzo Baglietto 88, Sincerity suffered a torn mainsail, which put them out of the running for the class but still came third overall.
Gerald Rainer, describes himself as the ‘caretaker’ of the stunning 65' Herreschoff Mary Rose, the boat is lovingly maintained and crewed by a happy lot. There was a lot of singing dockside from the crew, as they celebrated winning the last race and Vintage Class B.
'We come here every year because of the friends and the singing. It is the best atmosphere in the world,' smiled Gerald Rainer. 'People come from all over the world because this is a very special regatta. The racing this year has been exceptional, take today, we raced for three hours and kept meeting with Ticonderoga and Juno at marks, we were cheering each other on, all the way around the course and at the finish we were just a few seconds apart. Classics is a truly amazing regatta.'
In Vintage Class C, Michael Jarrald’s British 66' Cutter, Lily Maid has had an outstanding regatta, winning all four races. Robert Soros’ American Nat Benjamin 65, Juno also claimed a perfect set of results, as did Eleda, Ross Gannon’s family boat which was co-designed by Antonio Salguero. The duel between Stormvogel and Whitehawk was decided on the last race. Ralph Isham’s Bruce King 105' Ketch, Whitehawk took the gun and the prize in the last race.
Whitehawk - Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta 2014
Jamie Hilton, part of the afterguard on Whitehawk, which included Robbie Doyle on tactics, spoke about the regatta. 'Ralph Isham and a group of friends from Mill Reef YC sail the 12 Metre Courageous together, we raced on Lone Fox in 2012 and Bolero last year. Joe Dockery the owner of Whitehawk let us race his boat this year and we thought it would be a nice boat and it turns out that she is fantastic. The regatta has a lot of reaching legs, which Whitehawk is well suited for. We had a really good battle with Stormvogel, that crew sailed a great regatta. It seemed as though they liked the upwind legs and with just a bit more upwind work and I think things would have tipped their way. The last beat today, we were barely hanging on, we sailed all the way into Shirley Heights, nearly touching the bow on the cliffs to avoid three tacks and I think that was a regatta saver, right there. Thank you very much to the organisers of Classics, it is an excellent regatta.'
The Carriacou Sloops racing at Classics are a comical crowd, splashing rum on the tiller before racing and plenty of good natured put downs are all part of the fun before racing. 'Take a good look at our transom Exodus, this is the last time you are gonna see it today!' shouted Sean Davis from Genesis, as the boats left the dock. 'Davis wasn’t far wrong either, after a cracking start, which saw Exodus take the lead, Genesis and Summer Cloud showed their speed upwind to pass Exodus. Exodus fought back launching their spinnaker and staysail with the crew hiking out hard, it was a wet ride on board but a thrilling one. Andrew Robinson’s Summer Cloud took the win today and second overall for the regatta behind Alexis Andrews’ Genesis. Exodus competing in the first regatta since a major refit was third overall.
Exodus - Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta 2014
Rob Fabre, skipper of Exodus was downing a beer with the Carriacou clan dockside after the race and talked about the experience. 'Oh man the atmosphere in the Carriacous is magic, plenty of good banter, lots of laughs and close racing. Well done to Summer Cloud today, they sailed a great race and deserved the win and well done to Genesis, they are the sloop to beat at the moment, she is a really quick boat that Alexis and his crew have worked up really well. Over the last four days, we learnt a lot about Exodus. It is all about time on the water and I was surprised that we didn’t point as well as I would have liked but we will change a few bits and bobs and just get out and sail her loads, there is plenty of speed to find and we will have a lot of fun finding it.'
No doubt there will be plenty of refreshments consumed by the hundreds of sailors tonight both at the Antigua Yacht Club and in Nelson’s Dockyard, which is providing complimentary berthing for competing yachts. Tomorrow the racing does continue with the traditional Gig Racing and Cream Tea Party hosted by The Admiral’s Inn, followed by the official Prize Giving Ceremony at the Copper and Lumber Store.
Antigua Classics webite