Imagine a race with all the vessels over 100 feet, held
fairly close inshore in the open sea off Antigua’s south coast. There is
usually quite a big sea running with the swells coming all the way unhindered
from Africa. All races are approximately between 12 and 30 miles and downwind
sails are allowed.
Now a mega yacht
is a very big vessel by anybody’s standards. The J Boats such as Ranger and
Velsheda are eligible as are all large yachts, which normally are not catered
for in any regattas. This is a sight which, once seen, is not easily forgotten.
It is not uncommon for the world’s top tacticians to be on board. Many of the
skippers and crews look forward to this event with child-like enthusiasm. Added
to all this is the fact that every race is a "pursuit race", meaning
that slower boats go off first with faster boats attempting to catch them
before the finish. As far as I know, this sort of thing is only attempted in
very few other places in the world. So once again, Antigua is at the forefront
of a yacht race enjoyed by everyone.
This event is now
the 5th annual Mega Yacht Challenge, organized by the Antigua Yacht
Club Committee, and it goes without saying that the Captains and Crews of these
huge vessels really have a blast. Hold in mind that many of our entries may be
brand new yachts designed by the world’s foremost designers. But they will be
racing against several older designs that raced regularly for the Americas Cup
between the two World Wars.
We at All at Sea
are really looking forward to supplying our readers with photographs and text
of an event which will probably make the small hairs at the back of your neck
bristle like mine.