2019 Antigua Bermuda Race - Day Two
Blast reaching in the tropics is hard to better, and for the first day and night of the 2019 Antigua Bermuda Race, the international fleet have had their fill. However, Mother Nature is about to deliver a speed bump that will bring a tactical and skilful element to the 935 nautical mile oceanic race to Bermuda.
All yachts in the race have been eating up the miles in solid trade winds. Supermaxi SHK Scallywag (HKG), skippered by Australian David Witt, is set for a 24 hour run of over 400 nm, within striking distance of race record pace. Miles Seddon, British navigator on SHK Scallywag checked in just before dusk on the first night: “We are just passing Anguilla, leaving the Caribbean behind. Top speed so far has been 26.5 knots.”
The rest of the fleet has a velocity made good of between 11-8 knots, set for a 24 hour run of between 200-280 miles - fast going by any standards.
Over the next 24 hours, the fleet are set to finish their thrilling trade winds ride as they encounter an occluded front across their path to Bermuda. Cold air from a mature low pressure system further north is overtaking the warm trade winds. The overall effect is a trough, or pressure ridge in which the fleet is likely to encounter light head winds. However, the mixture of cold and warm air can also cause localised squalls giving sudden significant wind shifts in both direction and speed.
Start of the 2019 Antigua Bermuda Race
The 2019 Antigua Bermuda Race fleet set off on Wednesday 8th May off Fort Charlotte, Antigua. A perfect start saw brilliant sunshine and 20 knots trade winds combining to produce spectacular conditions for the international fleet. Close to a hundred sailors from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, and the USA are taking part in the 935nm offshore race from Antigua to Bermuda.
A highly competitive start featured a yachts hugging the rugged coastline of south Antigua, making gains from the lifting pressure rolling down the cliffs. The 100ft canting keel flyer SHK Scallywag (HKG) got away to a cracking start, as did Gilles Barbot's Volvo 60 Esprit de Corps IV (CAN). At Green Island the fleet eased sheets, hoisting downwind sails and accelerating into a power reach that should last for at over 300 miles. According to weather forecasts, they are in for a spectacular treat of superb sailing on a beam reach in tropical heat, surfing through the Atlantic Ocean.
After making final preparations before departure, teams representing over a dozen countries, including: USA, Canada, UK, Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Hong Kong, France, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, the Netherlands and Germany will be setting off from Antigua for the island of Bermuda in the North Atlantic Ocean at midday (AST) on Wednesday 9th May.
With around 1,000 nautical miles of spectacular racing ahead of them, the international and highly diverse fleet will leave the beautiful island of Antigua behind them after preparing for their offshore crossing and enjoying meeting fellow competitors at a fabulous farewell party held at Nelson's Dockyard.
Watch from on shore:
Race fans in Antigua will be able view the start from the historic Shirley Heights, the restored military lookout and gun battery. Crossing the start line off Antigua's Pillars of Hercules - the spectacular limestone rock formation that guards the entrance to English Harbour, the fleet will be in the starting area from 1100 AST when yachts in all classes will start together as the gun is fired at midday. Bring your binoculars!
Track the fleet:
All yachts will be fitted with YB Trackers. Follow the front runners, an individual boat or the whole fleet via the website at: yb.tl/a2b2019
Stories from on board will bring the race alive for fans, family, friends and armchair sailors who are not lucky enough to be taking part this year.
Go to the official race website for all the latest news, results and updates throughout the race. Photos and videos can also be viewed here.
Catch all the action from the start and updates throughout the race via social media:
The third edition of the Antigua Bermuda Race organised by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in association with Antigua Sailing Week will start on Wednesday 8 May 1200 (AST). The 935 nautical-mile ocean race has attracted a diverse fleet of yachts from the 100ft carbon flyer SHK Scallywag, to the 1938 Classic Mariella - and just about everything in between. The common denominator is the need to sail north after the finish of the Caribbean season.
The Antigua Bermuda Race gives purpose to the need to go north, offering safety in numbers with satellite tracking and the added attraction of two fabulous parties in Nelson's Dockyard Antigua and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. The rich diversity of the travels of the competing yachts is astounding.
The 100ft Supermaxi SHK Scallywag (HKG) is the hot favourite for Line Honours. Skippered by David Witt, the team will be representing the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and will sail on to Newport, Rhode Island, USA for the forthcoming Transatlantic Race 2019. Given the right conditions, SHK Scallywag is very capable of beating the race record set last year by Stephen Murray, Jr. (USA) Volvo 70 Warrior (2 days, 18 hours, 32 minutes and 48 seconds).
The Antigua Bermuda Race is part of the Atlantic Ocean Race Series. Three teams will pick up valuable points prior to the start of the Transatlantic Race 2019: SHK Scallywag, Pata Negra (GBR), and Hermes II (CAN).
The Antigua Bermuda Race is organised by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in association with Antigua Sailing Week. The oceanic race will start from Fort Charlotte Antigua, just after Antigua Sailing Week on Wednesday 8th May. The 2019 Antigua Bermuda Race will be the third edition of the 935 nautical mile race through the Atlantic Ocean to Bermuda.
Two months before the start, 20 yachts have now expressed their intention to race. The 100ft superyacht SHK Scallywag, which will be racing with a full complement of world class sailors, has confirmed participation. The smallest is the Open 40 Raucous, skippered by Henry Rourke, which will race double-handed. Two of this year's entries have competed in all previous editions of the race. Pogo 12.5 Hermes, co-skippered by Meg Reilly (USA) and Morgen Watson (CAN), and Hanse 43 Avanti, skippered by Jeremi Jablonski (USA), which will be racing double-handed.