Nelson’s Dockyard was the quintessential venue for the 30th celebration of the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta sponsored by Panerai. For the final evening of a jam-packed week, the historic grounds blossomed with lights, tents, and a magnificent stage filled with glittering trophies.
The evening set for honouring a fleet of winners began with the beating drums of the Royal Antigua and Barbuda Police Band. Captains, crew and revellers congregated before the stage, anxiously awaiting the results of races and special presentations to outstanding yachts and sailors.
The Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, the Honourable Dr. Rodney Williams, acknowledged the significance of holding the ACYR in the recently designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. “We are honoured that almost 50 classic yachts have come to Antigua from all corners of the world, mostly under sail,” he said. “I understand one of you quoted “wooden boat enthusiasts or gluttons for punishment? Is there any difference?”
This year’s entertaining announcer was Tommy Paterson, assisted by a Mount Gay rum and ginger ale. Praise and appreciation were given to Shannon Falcone’s committee boat and to Archie Bailey, Winston and Janeild for their excellent work in setting the marks each day. One by one, sailors took the stage as winners were announced. Dress for the evening was varied. Most teams sported clean crew shirts but some donned evening attire while the crew of the 52’ Skagen gaff ketch Samsara pirated the stage with swords held high, a clear winner of the prize for Best Dressed Crew. The men and women of the 77’ Fife yawl Latifa regaled the audience in floral pareos.
Highlights from the evening included the presentation of the Kenny Coombs Memorial Trophy to the 42’ Carriacou Sloop Genesis; the Anne Wallis-White Trophy for Smallest boat awarded to the 30’ Alden Cutter, Calypso; and winner of the Seahorse Studio Trophy for Spirit of the Regatta was Faiaoahe, a 66’ Spirit of Tradition sloop. Full results are available at www.antiguaclassics.com.
It was most fitting, that after an extensive refit in Italy, the Antigua flagged 79’ Fife yawl Mariella, returned to Antigua to win the Mount Gay Rum Trophy, winner of the most competitive class. Topping that outstanding accomplishment, she also won the coveted Panerai watch, awarded to the boat with the lowest total corrected time from Traditional,Vintage or Classic Class. Carlo Falcone and his army of supportive crew took the stage for a well-deserved photo op and an explosion of cheer from the crowd.
Cannons shot off, ship horns blasted and the sky filled with fireworks. Music erupted from the lively band The Strays and the party took off in style. When it ended is a well-kept secret.