For the final day of racing at the Oyster Regatta Antigua, glorious but lighter conditions prevailed. The Oyster fleet was a magnificent sight, flying spinnakers for a predominantly downwind race from Nonsuch Bay to English Harbour Antigua. Even the wildlife turned out to watch with sunfish and sea turtles coming to the surface in the divine Caribbean swell. The warm tropical breeze had abated somewhat but 15 knots of Trade Winds and clear blue sky produced a perfect end to a memorable regatta.
In Class One, the final day of the regatta belonged to Oyster 82, Starry Night to the delight of the owner and crew. Starry Night won the last race by 25 seconds from Oyster 885 Lush, steered by Eddie Jordan. Starry Night's skipper, Roger Whyld spoke after the race. 'We have been tweaking the rig and perfecting manoeuvres for several years to improve the performance of Starry Night and we have been delighted with the results against the other Oyster 82s but to win the last race was a great way to end what has been a highly enjoyable regatta.'
Paul and Penny Brewer's Oyster 100, Penelope was the overall winner of Class One, with Oyster 885, Lush second and Oyster 82, Starry Night in third. Paul Brewer lifted the trophy and spoke at the prize giving. 'The regatta has been absolutely brilliant, a really good atmosphere with a friendly but competitive spirit. We have finally got the boat performing as it can do and that is a great moment for us. It is the first time my boys have been on board, which was very exciting and they have been very much part of the crew and loved it and learnt a bit about sailing, as indeed have I. So in every respect it has been an incredible week.'
Ross Appleby's vintage Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster was third in the last race, after receiving redress for assisting in a man overboard retrieval. Scarlet Oyster was rightly awarded the Carlisle Bay Resort complimentary Spa Day award for their efforts.
In Class Two, there was dramatic race between three Oyster 625s vying for the class win. Wolfram Birkel's German Oyster 625, Red Cat, Russian Oyster 625, Lady Mariposa and Maxim Kudryashov's Guardian Angel. Red Cat won the last race by just over a minute on corrected time to win the class but the three yachts had a close encounter all the way around the 18-mile race track.
'Everything has come right for us, we have done so much to prepare Red Cat for this regatta. I am so happy for all of the crew. I know we have a special boat and to win our first regatta is an amazing feeling.' Commented Red Cat owner, Wolfram Berkel, after receiving the Class Two Trophy.
Eric Alfredson's Swedish Oyster 53, Lisanne held on to win Class Three but only on count back, Tony Keal's British Oyster 54 Wolfhound entered the last race despite having no instruments or electric winches. Defiantly and with great skill, Wolfhound won the last race by over five minutes to tie on points with the class leader. However it wasn't enough as the tie-breaker of discard score went against Wolfhound and Lisanne won the class with Leo Nagtegaal's Duchess taking third in the last race and Harvey and Sue Death's Oyster 56, Sarabi taking third overall.
Eric Alfredson, owner driver of Lisanne spoke after the presentation. 'It is a great feeling, I have been sailing with my wife and just our friends and we have never raced before, we knew that the other boats would be well sailed so we are a little surprised to win. The regatta has been fantastic, the weather has been just perfect for an Oyster, 18-20 knots of warm Trade Winds and the people that are here are so friendly. The regatta has been extremely well organised, it has been such a great experience.'
Oyster CEO and Race Officer for the regatta, David Tydeman announced the prizewinners at the prizegiving on the lawn at the Copper and Lumber, Nelson's Dockyard. 'Fabulous racing, great company and great venues, this has been a highly successful regatta for Oyster Yachts and all of the owners and their guests, the next Oyster Regatta will take place in Palma Mallorca on 30 September and we will be returning to the Caribbean next year for the Oyster Regatta BVI in April. Many thanks to all of the Oyster sponsors, the Oyster team and the host venues for all of their hard work and support, without you Oyster Regattas would not be the great success that they are.'
The Oyster Regatta Antigua came to a conclusion with a cocktail party courtesy of Christophe Harbour, St.Kitts, followed by a superb buffet at the Copper and Lumber. Legendary Antiguan rock band, Itchy Feet playing an electric set to a packed dance floor played out the Oyster Regatta Antigua.
Oyster Prize Giving Stage at Copper and Lumber, Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua - © Kevin Johnson