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26-Apr-12 - 09:09am


Historical Nelson's Dockyard was a sight to behold last evening with so many beautiful classic yachts gracing the docks as the stage was set at the Copper and Lumber Store Hotel for the final prize-giving of the 2012 Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta - part of the Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge and hosted by the Antigua Yacht Club.

With the added attraction of Panerai flagship Eileans' return to participate in this years regatta  press and media attendance numbers doubled this year .

Earlier in the afternoon out on the water in front of the Admirals' Inn, regatta crew joined by local families and friends took part in the Gig Racing event. With classes for all ages and skills, and a motley assortment of small craft entry, competitors rowed, skulled or sailed around a very short course whilst spectators enjoyed a traditional cream tea. The setting for the event, in the beautiful gardens of the Admiral's Inn was 'picture perfect' made all the more so by the elegantly dressed volunteer tea ladies who are very much a part of this special occasion generously hosted by the Admirals' Inn Hotel and sponsored by Watermaker Services and Lord Jim's Locker of Antigua.

An impressive screen slideshow featuring race highlights of photography kindly donated by the many multi-national press who attended the regatta preceded the prize-giving ceremony which was opened by Chairman Kenny Coombs who introduced the Minister of Tourism for Antigua, the Hon John Maginly who made a welcome speech. Representing Panerai in the Caribbean Julio Sato, also said a few words of welcome before Kenny proceeded with a big and much deserved thank you to all those who had worked so hard behind the scenes to make such a successful event, with special thanks going to Brian and Jude and this years' committee boat 'Dione Sky'.

Following a run through of the winners of the Single-Handed race with many trophies and prizes to award the ceremony cracked on at a good pace amidst riotous and enthusiastic applause. Amongst the first of the trophies to be awarded was the stunning half model Carriacou sloop trophy donated by John Bertola of 'Superyachts Supermodels' which again this year went to Eli Fuller and his Carriacou sloop, Zemi.

Keeping the trophies in Antigua, Famous Mauro, (of pizza fame!) again this year collected the Hinkley Yachts Trophy for Classic GRP Class and Carlo Falcone - with Denis Conner on board Mariella - was awarded the A& F trophy for best performance of a local yacht, overall in Vintage Class and the best elapsed time in Vintage Class.

The Monaco Yacht Clubs beautiful 'Tuiga' justifiably won the most Photogenic Yacht - Den Phillips Trophy, as well as the best performance of a Gaff Rigged Yacht whilst the Spirit of Regatta trophy deservedly went to Richard West's Charm III who following a collision carried out a speedy overnight replacement of the bowsprit!

Mary Rose won the Nicholsons Caribbean Yacht Sales Trophy and the Marine Power Services Trophy for the oldest boat was awarded to Coral of Cowes.

There was much applause for local Antigua based Rebecca as Captain Sparky collected First Overall Spirit of Tradition prize and equally for the mighty Elena who was awarded The Beken of Cowes Trophy for the Best Elapsed Time in the Schooner Class

Leading up to the grand finale Saphaedra was announced first overall in the Classic & Vintage Class whilst Mariella won the Mount Gay Rum Trophy the most competitive class which this year was the Vintage Class.

Kenny himself received two awards - the 'Old Bob' award for 25 years at the helm of ACYR and additional special prize from Signor Angelo Bonati, CEO of Officine Panerai.

The famous video of the Duran Duran album 'Rio' featuring Eilean was shown ahead of Simon Le Bon taking to the stage with fellow band members to make a short speech to say how much he had enjoyed sailing aboard Eilean again during the regatta remembering that back in the days of 'Rio' she was the first big boat he had ever sailed upon.

He then awarded the prized Panerai trophy for the boat with the Best Total Corrected Time to the beautiful 1957 Marconi ketch Lone Fox, for the second year running helmed this year by well known local resident and keen sailor Don Ward.