Antigua, May 12, 2017: The inaugural 935 nautical mile Antigua Bermuda Race started on time with the entire fleet getting away without a hitch. A light southerly breeze of 10 knots and warm Antiguan sunshine provided perfect conditions. The variety pack of 21 yachts is an eclectic collection, both in terms of crew and craft. From the majestic schooner, Eleonora to the pocket rocket Pogo 12.50s, and just about everything in between. The fleet includes ocean racers; new and old, as well as bluewater cruisers raced by passionate corinthians. The entire fleet started together and the Antigua Bermuda Race was born.
In the first hour of the race, American Volvo 70, Warrior, skippered by Stephen Murray Jr. had opened up a two mile lead on the chasing Swans, Don Macpherson's Swan 90, Freya and British Swan 82, Stay Calm. The breeze then backed to the east putting the fleet on a beam reach. Freya unleashed their gigantic masthead Code Zero to flash past Warrior who had forsaken their Code Zero and J1 to reduce their rating. Underpowered, Warrior was no match for the additional sail area and waterline length of Freya. Swan 82, Stay Calm was going well and estimated to be leading the race after time correction, for both IRC and CSA, but there is a long way to go. Simon & Nancy De Pietro's Irish CNB 76, Lilla was revelling in the reaching conditions and also going extremely well.
Skippers from boats representing nine different nations competing in the first Antigua Bermuda Race organised by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in association with Antigua Sailing Week, gathered together for a race briefing held in the historic restored Officer’s Quarter building at Nelson’s Dockyard where the victor of the battle of Trafalgar, Admiral Lord Nelson was based from 1784 to 1787.
With the intention of making the race into an annual event and a firm fixture on the international sailing calendar, Les Crane, Race Chair and PRO, Stephen Parry welcomed skippers and navigators to the Race Briefing before the start from Fort Charlotte, Antigua on Friday 12th May.
It was then time for everyone to swap stories, get to know each other and relax at the Welcome Party for crews, held on the lawns of the Copper & Lumber Store Hotel overlooking English Harbour. Following a busy day of boat preparation, provisioning and last-minute checks before the 935 nautical mile race, sponsor, Goslings Rum provided a taste of what was to come once in Bermuda. Dark ‘n Stormy and Rum Swizzle cocktails were served to over 230 crews from around the world as a lively band played at the Antigua Bermuda Race Welcome Party. All are looking forward to the race tomorrow and to heading offshore after a fantastic welcome in Antigua.
Antigua, May 10, 2017
The Antigua Bermuda Race organised by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in association with Antigua Sailing Week is a new fixture in the offshore sailing calendar. The 935 nautical mile race starting from Antigua at noon on Friday 12th May 2017 will take the 21-boat diverse fleet into the Atlantic Ocean, arriving in plenty of time to experience the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda. Competitors have now gathered in Antigua and are making final preparations before the start just outside the historic Nelson's Dockyard. Boats representing nine different nations and crews from all over the world are set to compete in the first edition of the race when monohull and multihull race records will be set as target times for future editions. All of the competing yachts will be fitted with YB Trackers and encouraged to blog their story of the race via satellite connection.
An impressive entry list is taking shape for the Antigua Bermuda Race which starts from Antigua on Friday 12th May, 2017. With 22 entries including 17 over 50ft and seven Maxis and one SuperMaxi, the sight of the fleet departing for the 900 nautical mile race will be nothing short of spectacular. The variety of the fleet shows the wide appeal of the offshore race, attracting ocean going cruisers, round the world racing yachts, high performance multihulls, as well as classic designs.
The latest entry to the Antigua Bermuda Race is the beautiful classic Bermudian yawl, Mariella, skippered by owner, Carlo Falcone. The 80ft (24m) Alfred Mylne-designed ketch was built entirely from wood by the legendary William Fife & Son yard in Scotland in 1938 and was lovingly restored by Carlo after being badly damaged in a hurricane. Mariella is now in fantastic condition and on top form having secured overall victory in the recent Panerai Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta.
One of the first yachts to enter the Antigua Bermuda Race was Spirit of Bermuda and there is more than meets the eye to the 112ft three-masted schooner. Just a couple of weeks before the start of the Antigua Bermuda Race, Spirit of Bermuda was racing with the giants at Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. Spirit of Bermuda got the better of the 141ft (43m) Columbia and gave the professional crew on the 210ft (64m) Adix a run for their money.
Spirit of Bermuda is owned by the Bermuda Sloop Foundation, the brain child of founder Malcolm Kirkland, with co-founders Jay Kempe and Alan Burland.
Photo of Spirit of Bermuda by Ed Gifford, edgiffordphoto.com