December witnessed an important event in the yachting world in Antigua: the launching of the Harmony Hall Yacht Club and of a new nine-boat fleet. The creation was the inspiration of Carlo Falcone, best known for his many successes in Antiguan and other Caribbean regattas on Caccia alla Volpe and Mariella.
However, Carlo’s interest in racing is not confined to the Caribbean. His many achievements in the Mediterranean have made him a well-known figure in the region where he also first observed dragon boats in action. This concept of racing identical boats so that only pure sailing skills compete appealed to him so much, he decided to introduce it to the Caribbean.
Thus the official blessing and launch of Harmony Hall Yacht Club and the new nine-boat dragon fleet took place with holy water and champagne galore. This highly enjoyable event was well-attended and included, in addition to Carlo Falcone and his son Shannon, Henry Pepper Jr. (admiral), dragon-owner Poul Hoj-Jensen, and various expert Antiguan sailors such as Tommy Patterson, Bernie Wong, Hugh Bailey and Hans Lammers.
The fleet itself participated in the Superyacht Challenge Cup the weekend before Christmas in nearby Nonesuch Bay, ideal for racing such boats thanks to the protective reefs. All the finishes were within one minute of each other, with Jensen winning five out of seven races and Carlo Falcone and Eddie Warden Owen the other two. However, with no superyacht of their own, Mike Fitzgerald, representing Pete Harrison’s superyacht Sojana, was declared the overall winner.
Such was its success, this event has already been included in the 2008 Superyacht Challenge on 20-21 December next year.