Classic Antigua conditions dished up for some star boats and sailors for the 25th Antigua Classics.

Monday 23rd April

The trade breeze is blowing and the sun’s
out to light up the gleaming brightwork decorating the 56 beautiful classics
racing in Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta.

Today (Monday 22nd April) sees
the last of the four days racing, and despite the J class yachts missing this
year (en route to the UK for the J-Class regattas this summer) there’s
certainly some close tussles between the quickies in Spirit of Tradition, with
the beautiful 140ft Frers Rebecca and the new 115ft J-class lookalike Firefly,
separated by just one second on corrected time yesterday.

But it’s the vintage class that is really
hotting up. On Saturday YW/I were aboard the beautifully restored 51ft S&S
yawl Dorade (pictured above). Owner Matt Brooks is getting her up to speed to campaign her once
again in ocean races and has a crack crew onboard, helmed by Brad Read and
including those charged with her recent restoration – we won our class and
Vintage the fleet overall. While yesterday’s race (Sunday 22nd
April) YW/I were aboard Carlo Falcone’s local Fife (and the Panerai-restored
Eilean’s sistership) Mariella – with a certain ‘Mr America’s Cup’ Dennis Conner
onboard as a surprise guest helping call tactics, we again won our class and
the vintage fleet.

Photo above: Carlo Falcone and Dennis Conner onboard.

With honours split between these two and the beautiful YC de
Monaco’s gaffer Tuiga hot on their heels, that battle will be decided by the
final race today.

The Weekend round up:

Here’s the official report from the weekend:

Saturday 21st April

With a steady 12 – 14 knot wind and calm
seas, today was rated by competitors and photographer’s alike as being a
“Phenomenal” race day. 

The magnificent schooner Elena under – her
mightily impressive – full “‘7 sail” sail plan gave photographer’s
some wonderful footage as did ‘picture perfect’ Eilean amongst her equally
picturesque contenders in the Vintage Class. Stepping ashore from racing aboard
Concours d’Elegance winner, Dorade, a leading yachting journalist described his
racing experience as… “a great privilege and honour to sail on one of the
greatest ocean racer’s ever.”

Rebecca and Firefly enjoyed a competitive
romp around the course in the Spirit of Tradition class today with Rebecca
holding her own on the leader board this evening. Unfortunately an incident
rounding the ‘Chippy’ #3 mark marred the day for Nordwind and Charm 111 with a
protest being heard tomorrow.

Amongst the Carriacou sloops in the
Traditional Class friendly local rivals Eli Fuller’s Zemi and Alexis Andrews
Genesis together screamed over the start line giving their ‘sister-ships’
plenty of space!

A ‘History of Eilean on Show in Antigua’
exhibition has been staged to celebrate Eilean’s return to Antigua, Officine
Panerai has promoted and organised a special multimedia exhibition that
documents through videos, touch screens and photographs, not to mention
original parts of the yacht, the story of the recovery and restoration that has
brought Eilean back to the original splendour of the design byWilliam Fife III.
This stunning exhibition is staged inside Nelson’s Dockyard at the Copper and
Lumber Store Hotel.

Sunday 22nd April

An incident -free day of sailing as the 56
strong fleet of beautiful classic yachts vied for position around the 24-mile
reciprocal ‘ Cannon’, the photographer s dream ticket of a course.

With two easy reaches to the outer mark and
likewise gentle homeward runs all contenders finished the race in good time to
participate in the Parade of Classics in English Harbour, giving spectators
from all over the island a wonderful lunchtime spectacle!

This annual occasion offers the opportunity
for all yachts in the regatta to show off their finery to the delight of the
throngs of spectators lining the shore with the waterside cafes and restaurants
filled to capacity. As each parading yacht passes close to Antigua slipway
amidst broadside cannon fire and raucous cheers, each one is introduced by the voice of English Harbour , local
resident and infamous veteran schooner man, Jol Byerley.

Read Toby’s Antigua Classics preview here