Interest Grows for Inaugural Antigua Bermuda Race

Published on March 21st, 2016

Lloyd Thornburg’s American MOD70 Phaedo3 will be attempting a record run from Antigua to Bermuda this April with a view to joining the inaugural Antigua Bermuda Race in 2017. Phaedo3 has set multiple world records over the past 12 months, including the Antigua to Newport passage, taking just 3 days, 5 hours, 55 minutes and 12 seconds to complete the 1,560 nautical mile course.

The skipper for the record attempt will be Jules Verne record holder, Brian Thompson. “I have probably sailed from Antigua to Bermuda 10 times; it is the classic delivery up from the Caribbean to the East Coast of the United States,” remarked Thompson. “In a normal boat it would be a five day trip, but Phaedo could possibly do it in two days. We literally passed Bermuda when we set the Antigua to Newport record last year and we did that in about 48 hours!

“Ideal conditions for us would be a well established high pressure system to the east of Bermuda, so we start with a 20 knot southeasterly, which becomes more southerly as we approach Bermuda – that would be perfect. Phaedo should be in Bermuda for a couple of days so if you want to come and see a real offshore, mile-eating machine, come along and have a look.”

Fifteen yachts ranging from 43 to 139 feet have already registered their interest for the inaugural contest. Yachts from all over the United States, Great Britain, Bermuda and Antigua are amongst the early entries, which include Supermaxis, Maxi Racing yachts, Classics, Performance blue water cruiser and high performance multihulls.

Joining the schooner America and 112ft (34m) sloop, Spirit of Bermuda will be two British Maxi yachts; Peter Harrison’s 115ft (35m) ketch, Sojana and Mike Slade’s Maxi 100, Leopard 3. Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70, Phaedo3 cannot wait to get into action and will be attempting a record run this year prior to the 2017 Antigua Bermuda Race.


Mike Slade’s British Farr 100, Leopard 3 © Paul Wyeth/

The 935 nautical mile race from Antigua to Bermuda will start on 12 May 2017 following the 50th edition of Antigua Sailing Week. Competing yachts will arrive in Bermuda for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers, the 35th America’s Cup Match, America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta, J Class Regatta and the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.

Mike Slade’s British canting keel Farr 100, Leopard 3 was one of the first yachts to enter, Leopard 3 has undergone an extensive re-fit and will be in pristine condition for the race. “When I heard about the Antigua Bermuda Race we entered Leopard straight away without any hesitation,” said Slade. “The timing of the race is perfect for Leopard to get to Bermuda for the America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta and in particular for Leopard’s British crew to cheer on BAR’s America’s Cup Challenge.”

Les Crane, Chairman of the Antigua Bermuda Race will be taking part in the Antigua Bermuda Race with his Farr 56, Monterey which will sail across the Atlantic to take part. Les is a past Commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and has a first-hand account of the sailing scene in Bermuda prior to the 35th America’s Cup.


Action-packed on Bermuda’s Great Sound: Oracle Team USA out training as the Optimist Worlds compete in their World Championships © Tom Clarke

“The America’s Cup excitement in Bermuda continues to grow,” Crane explained. “Last weekend we had M32 match racing, J105’s, IOD’s racing and the Bermuda Optimist World Championship trials all happening in the Great Sound with Oracle, SoftBank and Artemis screaming by, testing their new boats. It’s quite a sight from the Optimist Committee boat having SoftBank (Team Japan) do a foiling gybe around the pin end of the start line!”

Event website:

Report by Louay Habib.


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