Friday, 29 January 2010
Mood at the Superyacht Cup in Antigua. Supplied image.
by Kate Branagh
Perfect Caribbean sailing conditions for the first race of the 4th Superyacht Cup Antigua, bright sunshine, blue skies, a good 18 - 22 knot breeze from the North East and big seas. This highly competitive fleet has some of the best sailors in the world, countless America's Cup and grand-prix racing calibre crews are dotted amongst the professional superyacht crews, making this a hotly contested regatta.
The course needed to take into account not only the wind and sea conditions but the optimal 'guest-experience', ensuring a bit of excitement, comfortable reaching and a beat up the coast to admire the beautiful scenery off the south coast of Antigua.
Rebecca started first, beating up to the first mark and bearing away down the reach towards Cades Reef, with Ranger following close astern. Ranger attempted to fly their genniker but ripped it on the hoist and was forced to sail down the reach with just the mainsail and jib; "It was a day for the ketches" commented Mike Quilter on Ranger, "It may be a small fleet but they are all excellent boats, and without the genniker we just could not keep up, but the boss and guests had a great day out".
Sojana may not have been convinced with Quilter's ketch theory, breaking the mizzen boom they had to complete the course with just the mainsail and jib. Visione, the powerful 45m Baltic who stared 25 minutes after Rebecca sailed a clean race and took the lead coming up the final beat to win the first race by over 4 minutes.
It is an interesting time for superyacht racing as the SYC organizers have been working with the Bucket Regattas to develop a new superyacht racing protocol. With all the talent in town, a meeting was called on Tuesday night to gain valuable input to the first draft of the protocol. All the participating Yacht Captains were invited, along with a wide cross-section of top racing skippers and long-time Bucket supporters. Robbie Doyle and Peter Holmberg, who are sailing on P2 this week, Earl Williams, Alistair Tait and Dan Jackson from Ranger, as well as Jens Christensen from North Sails and Garth Brewer from Visione, aired their views on the protocol and offered their input. The intention of the protocol is to provide the safest, fairest and most appropriate format for racing superyachts which currently has the audience split between the ISAF racing rules and the amended COLREGS protocol.
Tonight (Thursday) the crews will be taking-over Nelson's Dockyard dressed up as Pirates of the Caribbean for a barbecue on the dock, live music and plenty of Antiguan rum punch! The second race will start tomorrow at 12.00.
The Superyacht Cup