February 5, 2018

Antigua Superyacht Challenge 2018

The Antigua Superyacht Challenge is something of an enigma, and this is probably due to the exclusivity of the event where no sponsorship is deemed necessary. This exclusive event has been created especially for the owners of Superyachts that exceed 80 feet, and consists of five days of spirited fun and camaraderie between the competitors, both afloat and ashore. In fact, the coveted Gosnell Trophy is awarded to the worthiest yacht that has competed the fairest, and in the Spirit of Regatta.


Racing, yacht Rebecca

The Antigua Superyacht Challenge is held at the historic Nelson’s Dockyard, providing a stunning background for this special occasion. With seven impressive yachts signed up for this year’s event, it is sure to be a fabulous regatta.


Racing underway

There are events planned for every evening, kick starting with the traditional Welcome Cocktail Party held at the picturesque Gunpowder House Restaurant overlooking Nelson’s Dockyard on the evening of the 31st January. This is followed on Thursday night by the famous Cook Off, with a fancy-dress theme of Diwali, and Friday there is a paddle board competition and beach party. A trip to the Caribbean wouldn’t be complete without a traditional night of cocktails, food, dancers, and entertainers. With racing starting at 11am every day, the competitors had better take care when sampling the local rum!

The list of the yachts taking part is impressive, with six of the seven yachts having competed in last year’s regatta.

In the Corsairs Class-

SPIIP, a 34.2 metre Royal Huisam, was built in 2000. She has a beam of 7.8 metres, and a top speed of 14 knots.


Elfje, is a 46 metre Royal Huisman, built in 2014. She has a beam of 7.1 meters, and a top speed of 12 knots. Her owner is Wendy Schmidt, the wife of Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmit. She founded the 11th Hour Project in 2006 to support the wiser use of our energy, food and water resources in the world. In fact, Wendy played a huge role in the building of her eco-friendly yacht Elfje, which is extremely fuel efficient.


Rebecca is a 42.43 metre, German Frers design reproduction ketch. She has a traditional design, but with all the latest sailing technology which has been subtly blended so as not to spoil her classic looks. She even has a wireless audio system so that the crew can communicate effectively



In the Buccaneers Class-

Acadia is 27.5 metre, a Hoek design, and was built in 2016. She has beam of six metres, and although has all the classic lines, she is fitted out with all the latest technologies.


Acadia in pursuit of the yacht Zig Zag.

Zig Zag is a 25 metre Oyster built in 2007, and has a beam of 6.4 metres.


Marama is a 32 metre aluminium ketch, with Paul Deeth, the owner of Admiral’s Inn, at the helm for the regatta.


Danneskjold is a 32 metre Dixon Yacht design, built in 2009. She has a beam of 7 metres, and a top speed of 12 knots.


Danneskjold with her eye-catching sails


With the fifth and final race held yesterday (Sunday 4th Feb), it was everything to play for in the Corsairs Class. With the wind building throughout the day, the yachts in the Corsairs Class battled it out over the 23 mile course. With Elfje taking first place, Spiip second, and Rebecca third. Spiip still managed to clinch first place overall in the regatta, even though it was only by one point, with Elfje coming second, and Rebecca third.

The yachts in the Buccaneers class completed an 18 mile course, with Acadia securing first place once again. In fact, Acadia accomplished a perfect score line throughout the regatta and were confirmed winners of their class. Danneskjold took second, and with Zig Zag picking up a penalty point, she shared third place with Marama.


Tied back up after a great day of sailing

In an area so seeped with the history of battles and hostility afloat, it is great to see Nelson’s Dockyard engaging in a modern day spirit of a more amenable nature. With no blood shed, just good spirits and camaraderie, they battled it out to win the sought-after barrels rum, and the Gosnell trophy. Congratulations to Spiip, who not only won their class, but also the Gosnell Trophy, showing good sportsmanship and spirit throughout the regatta.  The prize giving was held at the Admiral’s Inn, a fitting setting to conclude this unique and memorable regatta, and we look forward to seeing the battle between the Superyachts re-commence next year.

By Laura Barber