The Antigua Bermuda Race is organised by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in association with Antigua Sailing Week. The oceanic race will start from Fort Charlotte Antigua, just after Antigua Sailing Week on Wednesday 8th May. The 2019 Antigua Bermuda Race will be the third edition of the 935 nautical mile race through the Atlantic Ocean to Bermuda.
Twenty yachts from seven different countries have already expressed their intention to compete and form a diverse fleet. A number of yachts are offering charters, including single berths for sailors who want a memorable experience. The Antigua Bermuda Race is supported by the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Goslings Rum which guarantees a rousing send-off in Antigua and a warm welcome at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
Tim Gollin's stunning Lombard designed 67-foot sloop Arará is new to the race. Tim is a member of the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club, Martha's Vineyard, USA and recently purchased the carbon flyer.
“Arará is coming out of the yard in France around mid-Feb with a new look before we sail her to the Caribbean,” commented Tim Gollin. “The crew is likely to include American, French and Italian sailors. Arará was built by Black Pepper Yachts, a boutique French yard. She has an IMOCA 60 style hull with a square top main, water ballast and has a very light displacement at under 13 metric tons. So she is fast off the wind and fun in an Atlantic swell. Until now I only know about the swell off the Spanish and Portuguese coasts! I am really looking forward to sailing her in the Caribbean.”
French Canadian Gilles Barbot will be racing his Volvo 60 Esprit de Corps IV, returning after their dramatic rescue of the Monterey crew in the first edition of the race. Esprit de Corps IV is run by Atlas Ocean Racing which is a non-profit organization based in Montreal giving access for passionate sailors to the thrill of ocean racing.
“Our GPS plotter still shows the coordinates where the Monterey stands below water,” commented Esprit de Corps' team coach Maxime Grimard. “Each time we come across same latitude we have a toast with Gosling Rum. It's always a joyful moment where we think of the friendships we've developed since then and to remember that someday we may be the one in need of assistance. It's a humble moment as well.”
Commenting on the number of former round the world racing boats competing in the Antigua Bermuda Race, Grimard said: “It's not everyday that you can race in a fleet of VO70s, VO60s, Open60s and other big boats. We've known the other VO60s from Lunenburg for a couple of years and we're always looking forward to a fair race with them. Our relationship is to me the reflection of the values of our sport: we compete on the water and support each other when not at sea. Having other boats with similar specs adds more interest; you need to be sharp on every manoeuvre, navigation and strategy - every mile is going to be tough to win.”
Racing 935 miles in the Atlantic between two of the world's top sailing destinations is on the bucket list of many offshore sailors. The Antigua Bermuda Race has a wide variety of yachts participating that are available for charter as a whole or on an individual basis. Overall winner of the 2018 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race was Giles Redpath's British Lombard 46 Pata Negra, which will be skippered by Andy Lis for the Antigua Bermuda Race: “Pata Negra has a full season planned in the Caribbean and will then race to Bermuda, an ideal destination before The Transatlantic Race,” confirmed Andy. “By the end of 2019 we intend to compete in all of the races towards the Atlantic Ocean Race Series, so the points from the Antigua Bermuda Race will be very welcome. Pata Negra is available for charter for the race in full racing trim, but if we don't get a full charter we will race up to Bermuda short-handed in delivery mode. For the right people we would consider individuals to join the crew, and as they would be helping to get the boat north, it would be at a reduced cost. Above all else, racing with other boats provides a safer environment for Pata Negra.”
OnDeck are offering individual and whole boat charters for the Antigua Bermuda Race, as Peter Anthony explains: “The J/130 Mazu is new to the Caribbean and will be racing at a number of regattas after which the owner wants to sail the boat back to Boston, so the Antigua Bermuda Race fits well into the programme. We also have the Farr65 Spirit of Juno available. The boat has a new set of 3Di headsails and new spinnakers and has been in fine form winning class at Antigua Sailing Week and the Round Barbados Race. Sailors can use the Antigua Bermuda Race to gain an RYA Yachtmaster Ocean qualification. OnDeck can provide the theory course before the race and the passage to Bermuda or back to Antigua qualifies as it is over 650 miles in length and over 150 miles offshore.”