Antigua Dragon Yacht Club Challenge
Published on January 26th, 2014
The Antigua Dragon Yacht Club Challenge, hosted by Harmony Hall Yacht Club and Antigua Yacht Club Marina in partnership with The Inn at English Harbour, will be held February 2-9, 2014.
The Antigua Dragon YC Challenge is an inaugural invitational event for prestigious yacht clubs from all over the world. Competing in identical Petticrow Dragons, a galaxy of stars will be racing in the beautiful waters of Antigua, WI.
Winners of the America’s Cup and Olympic Games will be representing international yacht clubs and taking part in a week long regatta incorporating inshore and coastal racing with social occasions at some of Antigua’s most exclusive locations.
Royal Yacht Squadron – Poul Hoj-Jensen is one of Denmark’s most decorated sailors and has taken part in nine Dragon World Championships, winning on two occasions. Poul is a multiple one-design world champion and has competed at four Olympic Games, winning two Gold and one Silver Medal.
Yacht Club Costa Smeralda – Mauro Pelaschier is one of Italy’s finest helmsman competing in the America’s Cup and Grand Prix events, as skipper for Team Azzura. A highly accomplished Finn sailor, Mauro has won the Italian National Championship on nine occasions and has represented Italy on two occasions at the Olympic Games.
Harmony Hall YC – In September 2013, Shannon Falcone became the first Antiguan to win the America’s Cup as part of Larry Ellison’s Team Oracle. Shannon has also competed with Team Puma in the last two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race. For the regatta he will be joined by fellow America’s Cup winner, Italian Gillo Nobili to form a formidable partnership for the host yacht club.
Fort Lauderdale YC – American Mike Toppa has competed in seven America’s Cup campaigns as sailor and designer, winning the auld mug on two separate occasions. Toppa is one of the United States most decorated sailors winning World Championship titles in various big boat classes.
Federacion de Vela de Puerto Rico – Eric Tulla, twice voted Puerto Rican sailor of the year, Tulla is one of the toughest competitors in the Caribbean. Eric has won titles in everything from multihulls to grand prix big boats and represented Puerto Rico in the Soling Class at the Los Angeles Olympics. Eric Tulla has been racing for decades and in recent years has become an International Judge and is the current Vice-President of ISAF.
Antigua YC – Karl James has represented Antigua & Barbuda in the Laser Class at two Olympic Games and won the Caribbean Laser championship five times in succession. Karl is the senior instructor at the Antigua Yacht Club and National Sailing Academy and has expert local knowledge to compliment first class boat handling skills.
Monaco YC – Carlo Falcone represented Antigua & Barbuda in the Star Class at the Barcelona Olympics and is a founding member of the Harmony Hall YC and this inaugural event. Carlo has been a regular competitor at Antigua Sailing Week and Antigua Classics for decades and has won both events. Carlo will skipper his classic 80ft sloop Mariella in this year’s RORC Caribbean 600.
Wild Card – The event organisers have chosen to keep aside one Dragon for a wild card entry.
“Poul is the man to beat.” commented challenge organiser, Carlo Falcone, “Since we started the class seven years ago, nobody has beaten him in a Dragon regatta in Antigua. However, the Antigua Dragon YC Challenge has some of the best sailors that have ever raced Dragons here. The challenge is a friendly event and the Dragons will be chosen by drawing lots and the rig settings may not be adjusted. However, the competitors will be using every trick in the book to win. There will be a mixture of inshore and offshore racing to give a great diversification of courses. The top mark for the inshore racing will be right in front of the Antigua Yacht Club Marina and the offshore races will finish in view of some of Antigua’s best resorts and dining establishments, whilst the Prize Giving Ceremony will be hosted by The Inn at English Harbour.”
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The Antigua Dragon YC Challenge fleet comprise identically branded Petticrow Dragons (named after some of Antigua’s best-loved beaches). The Harmony Hall Yacht Club was formed in 2007 and aims to raise the level of racing in Antigua and to make the boats available by running regattas for the founder members and invited guests.
Louay Habib reporting