Once again Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta ( April 15 -21 2015) received glowing reports from competitors, with gloriously perfect conditions greeting hundreds of avid sailors and a fleet of 46 classics for four days of racing - even the whales came out to play on the Butterfly Course, on day 2!
Father of the Classic Yacht Regatta, Kenny Coombs, is forever remembered by all with the legacy he leaves us in this spectacular regatta. His favourite race on day 3, the Kenny Coombs Memorial Cannon Course, was as much a celebration of traditional boats as a sailing competition.
High spirits and a carnival atmosphere prevailed for the parade of Classics in English Harbour, with Batman making an appearance on the bow of the Carriacou Sloop, Summer Cloud! Day 4, the Windward Course, saw yachts reaching, beating and surfing downwind before finishing outside Falmouth Harbour - concluding the racing for the 28th edition of Classics.
Huge crowds celebrated the winners at the prize giving ceremony on the lawn of the Copper & Lumber Store, where Angelo Bonati, CEO Panerai, explained why the company values the regatta. "At Antigua Classics, there is profound depth and passion for the yachts - the boats are sailed by people who really want to race these beautiful boats…..to see these fantastic boats in their element is a wonderful fusion of art and design.”
Whitehawk was declared the winner of the Panerai Trophy for the second year running. "This is one of the most beautiful places to sail in the world; Antigua is a welcoming place, the island is stunning and the easterly Trades have been just perfect.” commented her co-skipper, Ralph Isham.
The Single Handed Race was won by 44 ft Frolic and 51 ft Saphaedra; the 1925 Nathaniel Herreshof Mary Rose was the overall winner of The much coveted Concours D'Elegance. Traditional 'Gig racing' and afternoon teas at the Admirals Inn completed Classics this year….
The yachts were divided into 5 distinctive classes…
Vintage Class ( Class A, B, C)
15 entries raced in the Vintage Class, for yachts in original condition, designed and launched before World War II. Leo Goolden's 1942 25' Folkboat, Lorema, was the smallest in the regatta, and Mat Barker's 1929 Alfred Mylne sloop, The Blue Peter, " remains almost unchanged since being launched in 1929; we keep her as original as possible, " commented Mat.
Classics Class ( Class A, B, C)
14 yachts raced in the Classics Class, for yachts designed and launched after World War II. Whitehawk, winner of the Panerai Trophy, won every race and took line honours in four starts in Classics Class A. Majestic schooner Elena was an incredible sight on the water- with her extensive sail area expertly handled by her compliment of nearly 30 crew...she came second in Classics Class B to Nat Benjamin's Juno.
6 traditional Carricaou sloops battled it out over four days, with Alexis Andrew's Genesis, just winning the class from Andrew Robinson's Summer Cloud. A mention must be made here to the most stunning film just released at the St. Barth's Film Festival. 'Vanishing Sail' produced by Alexis Andrews & Charles Hambleton tells the story of trading by sail in the West Indies, following a community of boat builders in Carriacou who struggle to maintain their tenuous grip on a dying skill.
Classic GRP Class
8 yachts raced in this class, with well known Superyacht Captain Paul Deeth's Petrana finishing with two firsts and two seconds to win the class.
Spirit of Tradition Class
Rebecca, the spectacular 140' Frers Ketch had three firsts, giving her the class win over J class Rainbow and the Joel White Dragonera. Jerry Bardoe, known as Chippy, racing his 20th Antigua Classics - this year on Rebecca commented "A great memory for me from this edition was this morning. Rebecca was in the starting area and we passed Elena, exchanging pleasantries, then we passed Rainbow and did the same – where in the world are you going to do that – Antigua Classics of course!”