Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge


Antigua Sailing Week held a new and exciting event on Pigeon Beach, Falmouth Harbour on Lay Day 2013. The event known as the Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge, is a one-day invitational one-design racing event featuring 24-foot RS Elite keel boats. Antigua’s luxury sailing resort and sponsor of Antigua Sailing Week, Nonsuch Bay Resort, is the sponsor of this exciting new event which saw eight invited teams compete last year in the RS Elites normally based at the resort.

The Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge offers top-quality racing for highly qualified skippers and their teams. Racing is held in close proximity to Pigeon Beach inside Falmouth Harbour where Nonsuch Bay Resort features a hospitality tent for RS Elite Challenge competitors and their guests, as well as providing delicious food for sale for what is expected to once again be hundreds of spectators.

Racing is done in two preliminary heats of three races each. The two top finishers of each heat go to the final round which also consists of three races. All races are approximately 15 to 20 minutes in length, keeping them challenging and exciting to watch!


Racing is expected to once again begin at 1 pm and the prize giving will be held on the beach at approximately 5 pm. The top prize provided by Antigua Sailing Week’s sponsor Nonsuch Bay Resort, is one week’s accommodation and use of all sailing equipment at Nonsuch Bay Resort, Antigua. Trophies will also be awarded to first, second and third place overall.

The line-up of skippers and their teams for 2014 is still to be confirmed but it is hoped that last year’s winner, Mini Maxi World Champion Mark Dicker, will return to defend his title.  Two other places may be filled by skippers and their teams who have earned the position in a racing series held at Nonsuch Bay Resort in the lead up to the event.  The remaining teams will be led by high-profile racing skippers who will be participating in Antigua Sailing Week.  If you’re planning to participate in Antigua Sailing Week and would like to be considered for participation, please contact



We invite you to join us on Pigeon Beach on Lay Day, Wednesday April 30, to witness the second annual Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge and to cheer on all eight teams.

Profiles of participating skippers in the 2014 RS Elite Challenge can be found below.


Al Ashford Cropped

Alastair Ashford claims to be a club sailor!  He started sailing at about 11 years of age – after he finally learned to swim!  He has raced Mirror Dinghies, Fireflys, Lasers, International 14s and currently X One Designs and has competed at National and International level events.  Alastair has won many club trophies over the years and is an XOD Captains Cup winner (XOD Nationals).  Al finished in 2nd place in the 2013 Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge, after Mark Dicker who took home the first place finish and a week’s accommodation for two with use of all sailing equipment at Nonsuch Bay Resort.  Al earned a place in the 2014 Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge by winning the RS Elite Summer Series.



Philip Barnard

Philip sailed with Peter Holmberg in the Virgin Islands America’s Cup Challenge and with Ludda Ingval’s Offshore sailing team Skandia.  In 2012 he was the Ultimate 20 US National Champion and he finished second in 2013 and 2014 in the J24 South Caribbean Championships.  Philip is currently a helmsman with Team Sail Caribbean.  He will be rcing in Antigua Sailing Week with True Racing on its Kernan Courouble 47 TRUE.






John Burnie is an old man who has sailed over 200,000 miles, most of which were under autopilot. In the 70′s he and his business partner owned a Swan that they raced a lot – but they nearly scared themselves to death on that yacht during the big storm in the 1979 RORC Fastnet Race. Undeterred they built a Ron Holland two ton Admirals Cup yacht in Florida and then represented Ireland and then Great Britain in the two ton / IOR days during the 80′s. The experience nearly broke their company financially. John has acted as Race Captain/Safety Officer/Navigator/do as you are told crew on numerous yachts through the years, notably on Braveheart, Bristolian, Annagine, Aera, Wally B, Savannah and Hyperion. JB came to live in the Caribbean on his own yacht between 2002 and 2010 looking after, among other things, the Caribbean interests of Nautor’s Swan. In 2008 John and Stan Pearson had a good lunch and were deep into the rose magnums they decided the Caribbean lacked a good offshore race. Thus the RORC Caribbean 600 Race was conceived and Stan drew the course at the lunch table. John has since sailed in all six editions of the race. In 2009 John, some sailors from Guadeloupe and some mad superyacht captains hurtled around the Caribbean 600 course on an Orma 60 trimaran, setting the overall race record which stands to this day.  John is currently Race Captain on both Bristolian and Wally B – which, John feels, is a clear indication that there is hope for all in the world of yacht racing. John now lives in the UK and is the RORC Marketing and Sponsorship consultant.


Rob Date 300

Rob began sailing more than 50 years ago, basically as a weekend sailor.  He spent the first 30 years sailing a variety of dinghies with some success in Australia at both the state and national levels.  For the last 40 years all of Rob’s yachts have been called Scarlet Runner.  They have included a number of dinghies and two dragons.  About 15 years ago Rob began sailing keelboats, graduating from 8 to 12 and now 16 meters.  He has had good success racing his current boat, an RP-52, mostly in offshore racing.



Poul Hoj-Jensen

Born in Hvidovre, a small village adjacent to Copenhagen in 1944, Poul started sailing at a very early age and won many races, including the Danish Championships three times. After leaving school, Poul studied machine engineering and was offered a job by Hans Fogh at Elvstrom Sails in 1966. Paul Elvstrom, owner and Managing Director, eventually expanded the business to include boatbuilding: Finn, Soling, H Boats, Half Tonne, etc. Poul took care of boat and sail production and he went sailing whenever he had a free moment.

In the 1968 Olympics, Poul was spare crew for the Danish team and sailed the last three races in the FD class after Hans Fogh left due to the death of his father; the combined score was 7th place. In 1972 he represented Denmark in the Kiel Olympics sailing Dragons, once more finishing in 7th place. In 1976 Olympics in Canada Poul took a different approach on the Soling and was successful, only just – he won the Gold Medal with 0.3 points.

In 1970 he won his second Gold Medal in Tallinn in the Moscow Olympics, again in Soling. He was selected for the Star for Denmark in 1984 but the pressures of work prevented him from taking part that time. Poul also has 17 World Championships in many classes: H Boat, Quarter Tonne, Etchells, Dragons, etc. He has over 90 National and International titles also, Gold Cups, European and Scandinavian Championships.

Poul’s love for sailing remains undiminished and he continues to sail at a top level; in 2008 he was top of the World Ranking for the Dragon Class, having won many races that year including the Gold Cup for the 5th time, sailed in Caiscais, Portugal. He won the Dragon World Championships in 2009 in Medemblik, Holland. In 2012 he became Irish Dragon Champion for the 6th time; he won his first Irish title 42 years ago in 1970.

Poul moved to England in 1990 and now he and his wife, Sophia, spend winters in Antigua and the rest of the year in Europe. On April 16, 2011, Poul received a knighthood from the Danish Queen for services to yachting.


John Holmberg

John Holmberg is a past national champion in Prindle 19 and a CAC Central American and Caribbean Games Laser Bronze medalist. He is also a multiple St Thomas International Rolex regatta winner. John is brother of Olympic medalist Peter Holmberg; father of Kai Holmberg (future rock star sailor – maybe) who will be a member of John’s crew in the 2014 Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge; and son of Louise Johnson – the first womens World Champ in the Sunfish in 1971!








Peter Holmberg

Peter Holmberg was born and raised on St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and went on to win the first and only Olympic Medal for the US Virgin Islands in the 1988 Olympics in the Finn Class.  Peter followed this into a professional sailing career that saw him win the Maxi World Championship, the 50’ World Cup, the Match Racing World Tour, and ultimately, the 2007 America’s Cup.  Peter is now based again in the Virgin Islands and continues to sail professionally for various racing programs around the world.  Peter is also currently the President of the Caribbean Sailing Association.






Pat was born and raised in Antigua and started sailing at a young age.  He has raced very successfully in regattas around the Caribbean and internationally for many years.  Patmore one the Antigua Sailing Week single-handed race so many times that the organisers finally told him to keep the perpetual trophy.  Pat finished in second place in the Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Summer Series which earned him a place in the RS Elite Challenge.