Please select your home edition
Highfield Boats - Sailing - LEADERBOARD

2020 Superyacht Challenge Antigua - Day 1

by Louay Habib 12 Mar 17:24 PDT 11-15 March 2020
2020 Superyacht Challenge Antigua - Day 1 © Claire Matches /

The opening day of action for the 2020 Superyacht Challenge Antigua featured exciting racing for the magnificent fleet off the South Coast of Antigua. WinWin sailed by Kim Schindelhauer, and skippered by Ryan Taylor, took first blood in the Corsairs Class. Missy skippered by Matt McKeon performed in the Privateers Class. Firebird skippered by James McDonald took a blazing win in the Buccaneers Class.

A light easterly breeze was enhanced by a big rain squall during the starting sequence, with several teams making good use of the shift in breeze and velocity. The racecourse featured a long downwind leg, allowing the magnificent fleet to hit top speed in Caribbean surf. In the second half of the race, shorter windward leeward legs called on more technical and tactical abilities. The trade winds piped up towards the finish for an adrenalin pumping finale. After racing there were plenty of grins on the dock, testament to a cocktail of definitive superyachts, tropical conditions, and thrilling racing.

The Oyster 885 Firebird took Race One in the Buccaneers Class. The 182ft (55.5m) Dykstra schooner Adela skippered by Greg Norwood-Perkins was second. The 121ft (37m) Dykstra sloop Action skippered by Josh Gilchrist was third.

"For the long downwind leg, we put a lot of distance on other boats because the wind had not picked up yet," commented Jasper Bank, tactician on Firebird and double Olympic Gold Medallist. "When the breeze kicked in, we enjoyed the show, as the big boats came blasting passed! We were quite pleased to keep Action and Adela behind us. We could see the other boats around us, and we felt we had it well covered."

The 108ft (33m) Malcolm McKeon designed sloop Missy, skippered by Matt McKeon, won Race One in the Privateers Class. Peter Harrison's 115ft (35m) Farr ketch Sojana was second by just 75 seconds after time correction. The 94ft (29m) Southern Wind sloop Aragon, skippered by Nico Carpentier was third.

"We put in a gybe set at the first top mark, and we played out the first run really well, that big first shift got us right up there," commented Matt Humphries, tactician on Missy and five-time race circumnavigator. "We managed to hold onto the two big ketches; Rebecca and Sojana and also Dark Shadow. Our game plan was to stay with them until that last six-mile beat, but there was a lot of place changes. A bit of a strategic tacking duel developed between us and Sojana on the last beat, and we managed to get an edge. The boss did an awesome job driving and the crew held it all together."

In the Corsairs Class, the 108ft (33m) Javier Jaudenes sloop WinWin, took the win by just over two minutes. The 112ft (34m) sloop Nilaya, with Filip Balcaen at the helm, was second. Third was the 178ft (54m) Judel Vrolijk sloop Pink Gin VI, skippered by James Morbey.

"We are pretty happy, but it didn't all go smoothly, we did manage to trawl our A2 on the first mark," admitted WinWin skipper Ryan Taylor who has been with the boat since launch in 2014. "What we did well today was keeping our tactics plain and simple, our usual philosophy is 'basic and fast'. We tend to go downwind quite well, and we are a little bit lighter in this fleet. The boat performed really well, catching waves and surfing. Like all the boats here, we have a great crew and we all come out to perform."

Congratulations to Wally 100 Dark Shadow for making the best start of the day, crossing the line just one second before the gun!

Four J Class yachts form the strongest class fleet since the 2017 J Class World Championship. For news and results from the J Class racing at the Superyacht Challenge Antigua visit:

Prior to the first day of racing at the Superyacht Challenge Antigua, a Welcome Cocktail Party was held at Boom Restaurant in Nelson's Dockyard. Well over 400 owners, guests and crew met for a relaxed start to the social side of the regatta. The regatta's ethos is to value fair racing and good companionship above all else.

Racing at the 10th Anniversary of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua continues on Friday 13th March, with the start sequence for Race Two scheduled to start at 1100 local time (1500 AST).

Full results available here.

For more information visit

Related Articles

Superyacht Challenge Antigua overall
Zig Zag awarded the Gosnell Trophy After a vote from all competing boats, the Gosnell Trophy for the 2020 Superyacht Challenge Antigua has been awarded to John McMonigall's Oyster 82 Zig Zag, skippered by Philip Howard-Smith. Posted on 17 Mar
Superyacht Challenge Antigua day 3
Both bizarre and eventful Oyster 885 Firebird skippered by James McDonald took their third straight bullet in the Buccaneers Class. In the Corsairs Class The 112ft (34m) Baltic Nilaya, with Filip Balcaen at the helm, took their first win. Posted on 15 Mar
Superyacht Challenge Antigua day 2
Beautiful South Day Two of the 2020 Superyacht Challenge Antigua was blessed with beautiful conditions on the South Coast of Antigua. A stable breeze of 14-15 knots just south of east, with no squall activity, produced picture-perfect conditions. Posted on 13 Mar
Superyacht Challenge Antigua preview
Bigger than Ben Hur The 10th anniversary of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua has a record entry of fifteen superyachts and four J Class taking part. The 2020 Superyacht Challenge Antigua is the largest collection of superyachts that has ever raced in Antigua. Posted on 11 Mar
J Class debut at Superyacht Challenge Antigua
Five J Class expected for Superyacht Challenge Antigua The J Class has its roots in the oldest sporting race in the world, The America's Cup. In 1851, the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, allowed the first overseas yacht to enter the annual 100 Guinea Cup race, and it was won by John Cox Stevens schooner America. Posted on 12 Jun 2019
2020 Superyacht Challenge Antigua
Record entry expected for 10th anniversary edition A record entry for the 10th birthday party of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua is expected with 15 superyachts expressing their interest, including five J Class yachts. Posted on 25 May 2019
2019 Superyacht Challenge Antigua overall
Winners and new date announced for 2020 edition After four days of exciting racing and fabulous parties the 9th edition of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua came to a conclusion on Sunday 3rd February. The Notice of Race for the 10th edition was announced with the 2020 edition. Posted on 5 Feb 2019
2019 Superyacht Challenge Antigua day 3
Birthday Girl The penultimate day of the Superyacht Regatta was a special day for Rebecca. 20 years old and still looking as beautiful as the day she was launched from the Pendennis Yard, Falmouth, UK. Posted on 3 Feb 2019
2019 Superyacht Challenge Antigua day 2
Sparkling and exhilarating conditions on the south-side of Antigua The second day of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua had all the hallmarks of spectacular racing. The magnificent fleet enjoyed exhilarating conditions on the south-side of Antigua with brilliant sunshine, solid breeze and a good sea state. Posted on 2 Feb 2019
2019 Superyacht Challenge Antigua day 1
The fleet enjoy spectacular conditions Racing at the 9th edition of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua is under way with the fleet enjoying spectacular conditions off the south coast of Antigua. Race One was approximately 23 nautical miles with seven legs providing a full range of wind angles Posted on 1 Feb 2019
RS Sailing 2020 - RSSS - FOOTERDoyle Sails 2020 - Redefining Boundaries 728x90 BOTTOMUpffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTER