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Preview - 4th edition of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua - SY Marie
It’s back to school for Artemis Offshore Academy sailors Sam Matson, Alan Roberts and Rich Mason, as their solo training programme cranks up a gear in France. After four months getting to grips with the Figaro Bénéteau II in the familiar waters of England’s south coast, the three British Rookies made their longest voyage to date accompanied by 2013 squad member Ed Hill, sailing from Cowes to their new home in Lorient, France – an ideal route allowing the sailors time to suss out the infamous French racing landmarks the Raz du Seine, Ushant and the Chenal du Four. The solo Figaro trio were thrown in at the deep end during their first training session on Tuesday 21st January, headed up by experienced solo coach Tanguy The Superyacht Challenge Antigua is now in its fourth year and has established itself as a unique superyacht event. An exciting and friendly regatta designed as a wonderful celebration of sailing and parties, solely for the enjoyment of superyacht owners, their guests and crew.

The challenge is held each year at the end of January, hosted by the Admiral's Inn in Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua. Whilst the racing is very competitive, the Superyacht Challenge Antigua is dedicated to pure fun afloat and ashore, where all participants enjoy a relaxed party atmosphere free from any commercial endorsements.

There are three days of spectacular racing with ratings and start times being determined by the International Superyacht Rule. Starting just outside English Harbour, the magnificent superyachts take part in daily pursuit races along the stunning south coast of Antigua.

For the fourth year in succession, an impressive line up of some of the world's finest sailing yachts will be racing. This year, eight superyachts yachts, with a combined length of over 1000ft, will be taking part. Half of the fleet are returning from last year and three superyachts are new to the event.

Last year's overall winner, Adela is back to defend the challenge. The 182ft Dykstra designed schooner is the largest yacht competing, whilst the smallest is the 90ft Maxi Swan, Freya, which will be making its debut. The 102ft ketch Maramar was second last year and will be hoping to go one better. 113ft Germán Frers sloop, Unfurled was third in last year's event and returns to the challenge and the magnificent 147ft Dubois ketch, Timoneer is also back. Hoek-designed ketch, Marie returns to the Superyacht Challenge Antigua, the 180ft ketch competed in 2011 and 2012. Whilst the 110ft Vitters Maxi, Inoui and the 126ft Schooner, Gloria will be making their first appearance.

“We are looking forward to three days of excellent sailing, spectacular racing and great sportsmanship.” commented Paul Deeth, one of the founders of the event. “As always, we will be encouraging all participants to indulge in the after hours social activities, which are aimed at creating an ideal social environment to enjoy the company of the various contenders.”

The schedule for the 4th Superyacht Challenge Antigua starts on Thursday 30th January with an exclusive welcome reception cocktail party and continues with three days of racing and private parties, organised purely for the enjoyment of every competitor

Photo : louay habib/superyachtchallengeantigua.com
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