RORC Nelson’s Cup Series - Champagne Opener

Niklas Zennstrom’s CF 520 Rán 8 (SWE) © Tim Wright/RORC
Niklas Zennstrom’s CF 520 Rán 8 (SWE) © Tim Wright/RORC

Day One Report: Tuesday 14th February

The RORC Nelson’s Cup Series got underway on time in spectacular conditions off the south coast of Antigua.

With tropical heat, 16 knots from the east and a significant swell, the south coast of Antigua produced awe-inspiring racing. Race winners were Niklas Zennstrom’s CF 520 Rán 8 (SWE), OnDeck’s Farr 65 Spirit of Juno (ANT) skippered by David Hanks, and Frederic Puzin’s Ker 46 Daguet 3 – Corum (FRA). PRO Stefan Kunstmann set different courses for each race and for each class. The IRC classes enjoyed a total of five hours of superb racing at every point of sail. The race course included coastal and deep water marks, including Nelson, which was almost two miles offshore.

RORC Nelson's Cup Series Results

RORC Nelson's Cup 2023

Frederic Puzin's Ker 46 Daguet 3 – Corum (FRA) © Tim Wright/RORC


Rán 8 scored an impressive victory in the first race by nearly four minutes on corrected time from Daguet 3 – Corum. RORC Vice Commodore Eric de Turckheim’s NMD 54 Teasing Machine (FRA) was third by just 19 seconds after IRC time correction. In Race Two, Daguet 3 – Corum won after IRC time correction by just 30 seconds from Rán 8, with Teasing Machine in third.

RORC Nelson's Cup 2023

Niklas Zennstrom with PRO Stefan Kunstmann © Tim Wright/RORC

Today was the first time Zennstrom’s Team Rán has raced in Antigua since winning the RORC Caribbean 600 in 2012. “Champagne sailing in perfect conditions, big waves and good competition,” commented Niklas. “It is really nice to be back, it reminded me of that time 10 years ago. Antigua is a lovely place to sail. Rán 8 is built for offshore and we are still learning to sail the boat and we are very optimistic and looking forward to the RORC Caribbean 600. Today we had a local Laser sailor join the crew; Jules Mitchell did a good job grinding and working on the foredeck, he is absolutely on the crew tomorrow.”

RORC Nelson's Cup 2023

OnDeck’s Farr 65 Spirit of Juno (ANT) © Tim Wright/RORC


Antiguan Farr 65 Spirit of Juno scored a memorable victory in the first race, taking class line honours and the win after IRC time correction by just over two minutes from Marie Tabarly’s 73ft ketch Pen Duick VI (FRA). Szymon Kuczynski’s Figaro Hultaj (POL) was third.

In the second race, Spirit of Juno scored their second bullet of the RORC Nelson’s Cup Series, with Pen Duick VI second by just three minutes after IRC time correction.

RORC Nelson's Cup 2023

Skipper of Farr 65 Spirit of Juno David Hanks with PRO Stefan Kunstmann © Tim Right/RORC

“We have a charter crew on board, with myself and Verity Rouse as permanent crew and it was a no brainer to enter the RORC Nelson’s Cup,” commented Spirit of Juno skipper David Hanks. “When the race series was announced we were delighted because it the best way to train for the RORC Caribbean 600; train hard - fight easy. Today, we had two starts, loads of hoists and drops and mark roundings, which was a great way to get the teamwork going for the big race.”

Spirit of Juno skipper David Hanks invited Emily Gaillard on board who is just 15 and the Antiguan Optimist champion. “Emily was a natural on the helm and fitted straight in with the team. We are looking forward to having Emily on board Spirit of Juno for the rest of the series including the Caribbean 600,” commented Hanks.

The daily prize giving for the RORC Nelson’s Cup Series was held at the Antigua Yacht Club with English Harbour Rum honouring the lucky winners and the amazing volunteers from the Antigua sailing community, plus Axxess Marine providing complimentary cold beers.

Racing continues in the RORC Nelson’s Cup with two races scheduled for Wednesday 15th February.

RORC Nelson's Cup 2023

Antigua & Barbuda
Seven Star Yacht Transport