Antigua retrospective

Andy Rice witnessed the maxi boat racing and some of the calamities that occurred during this year's Sailing Week
When you’ve spent many years watching boats of different sizes moving through the water in a certain way, you get used to a certain pattern of speed and motion. There is a natural law which seems to govern all yachts and the way they move. And then you see the maxZ86s, the twin sisterships Pyewacket and Morning Glory. To see them move through the water defies all belief. It’s as though someone has put life on fast forward. I had the privilege of watching them recently at Antigua Sailing Week, from a high-speed camera boat. Normally, we shoot the start and the first few minutes of the beat, then blast up to the windward mark to catch the action there, and then back down to the leeward mark. With Mari Cha IV and the maxZ86s, this just wasn’t possible. Sure, with 250 horsepower in the twin outboards, we could keep up with them but at the speed we were doing the cameraman could barely stand up in the RIB, let alone get a steady shot. With these superyachts touching 15 or 16 knots upwind and reaching the mid-20s offwind, we soon realised that we’d just have to pick our mark and stay there. Chasing these yachts is out of the question. How many times have you heard that cliché that ‘this yacht is just a big dinghy’? Most of the time the comparison just doesn’t wash. For their size, even the most advanced yachts just don’t live up to the cliché. But the maxZ86 is different, she really does bear comparison with a lightweight skiff, thanks to her uncompromising use of CBTF (canting ballast twin foil) technology. Roy Disney, owner of Pyewacket, likened swinging the lead bulb out to weather of the hull to producing the equivalent righting moment of