Race day three, 2023 Superyacht Challenge Antigua

After yesterday’s postponement racing was back on at the Superyacht Challenge Antigua on Saturday 11th March. Line Honours was once again taken by the 148ft Dubois sloop Gitana in an elapsed time of 01 hour 57 minutes and 39 secs. The racing was extremely close with the top four boats finishing within 4 minutes and 20 seconds after ORCSy time correction. The 121ft Dykstra sloop Action scored their second win of the regatta. The 148ft Dubois ketch Catalina was second for Race Two and third was the 112ft Sparkman & Stephens sloop Kawil. Nature abounds in the Caribbean and a pod of four whales were spotted close to the action on the southside of Antigua.

On Friday when there was no racing, the Race Committee pre-empted the forecast wind direction today by laying new marks, which worked very well. Taking advantage of a south-easterly breeze of approximately 11 knots, the course set was 14.2nm, composed of six legs at every point of sail: An upwind start to Whiskey of just over two miles was followed by broad reach to November, downwind to Nelson, upwind to Whiskey and Sierra, and a four mile downwind leg to the finish.

148ft Dubois ketch Catalina. © Claire Matches

Boat Captain for the 148ft Dubois ketch Catalina is Sean Whitney. Since racing at the regatta in 2019, Catalina had sailed thousands of miles. “We went through the Panama Canal, spent a great couple of weeks in The Galapagos, then went to the Marquesas Islands and explored French Polynesia for quite a while before sailing to New Zealand. We have done a lot of miles, the owner looks after Catalina very well and for the last six years, it has been a labour of love for the crew.” Catalina was second today to Action by just 2 minutes and 11 seconds after ORCsy time correction. “You always have your wits about you when you are sailing these boats,” continued Sean. “When racing you have to have an awareness for the course and make early calls on manoeuvres, it is a case of maximising the opportunities. Catalina is okay in light airs but if the boat speed goes, it takes a long time to build again, so there is constant concentration on trim and helm.”

Charlie Ross is the boat captain for the 112ft Sparkman & Stephens sloop Kawil, which was third today, just 1 minute and seven seconds behind Catalina after ORCsy time correction.

Kawil battles with Catalina © Claire Matches

Since competing last year, Kawil has been exploring The Baltic Sea. “We visited Sweden, Denmark Estonia, Finland and then through the Kiel Canal to Hamburg and then Amsterdam,” commented Charlie Ross. “The racing here is very close even more than the first race, and we are in with a chance of second for the regatta which is great. As the Boat Captain I stand back and let the racing crew get on with it. As long as they don’t break the boat, I am happy! This is a passionate regatta for our boss, he is really competitive. Apart from one gybe that we weren’t happy with, we sailed the boat really well today, the boat handling is good and so is the atmosphere on board. Juggy Clougher chooses the race team and they are a super bunch, not just great sailors.”

The evening festivities were once again held in Nelson’s Dockyard, the Caribbean Night was on the lawn of the Copper & Lumber Store Hotel. The competitive edge to the proceedings was the fabled Loudest Shirt Competition. As any visitor to Superyacht events can attest to, sailors do not need much encouragement to wear colourful garb, especially in the Caribbean!

Racing at the Superyacht Challenge Antigua will conclude tomorrow Sunday 12 March.

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