Spindrift III, the entry flying the Port Oliver Yacht Club burgee, was the first to finish the 2012 Yachting World Round Antigua Race in the charter boat fleet. The Beneteau 50 was crewed by Larry Caillouet and Richard Collins from Bowling Green, Bill Linehan from Indianapolis, and Chris LaMott from Lebanon, Tennessee. Although 115 yachts are entered in the Antigua Sailing Week regatta, only 43 chose to sail in the optional race around the island on the Saturday before. Most were glamourous racing yachts like Sojana and Paradox which had set the speed records for monohulls and multihulls in last year’s Round Antigua Race. Only three charter boats entered the endurance race.
“We discourage charter boats from entering the Round Antigua Race,” said Kathy Lammers, the Chairperson of the Race Organizing Committee. Due to the extensive reefs and coral heads on the eastern and northern coasts of Antigua, the ROC set marks well beyond these areas so that boats could compete safely. Still, winds of 20-30 knots and seas of 6-10 feet made the 55 mile course challenging.
After Spindrift III had lost sight of the other two charter yachts behind it, the crew began to realize that their real competitor was not another yacht but the clock. The Sailing Instructions required that yachts finish the race by 6:00 p.m., a maximum time of 9 hours 50 minutes. Otherwise they were counted as Did Not Finish. Spindrift III sailed the first upwind leg east out of English Harbour in 11 long tacks. After reaching up the east coast of Antigua, running across the north coast, and reaching down the west coast, 8 hours had elapsed. The final leg was upwind against 2 knots of current to the finish at the Pillars of Hercules. 12 tacks later Spindrift was within 200 yards of the finish line and within 2 minutes of the expiration of the race. Three rapid tacks later Spindrift III crossed the finish line—at 6:03 p.m.
Spindrift was the only charter yacht to finish the course under sail, but was still listed DNF. An appeal to the Race Organizing Committee resulted in Spindrift III being awarded the First Place Trophy and designated “First to Finish the Course.” “It’s not quite as satisfying as being able to say we won the race, but after sailing hard for 9 hours and 53 minutes in a 9 hour 50 minute race, we are happy to claim the trophy,” said Skipper Larry Caillouet. “We sailed 67 miles in under 10 hours. We almost did what the race committee believes is impossible.”