Fun In The Sun
Above: Robert Condon's new Swan Serano
In classic Caribbean sailing conditions, the 215 boat fleet at Antigua Sailing Week continued racing today with a vengeance - after what was for some, a less than relaxing Lay Day, if the crowds in the bars in the 'Sailing Week Strip' between English and Falmouth Harbours late last night were anything to judge by. Dismastings, blown spinnakers, rammed committee boats and another sunken mark all added to the day's excitement.
The wind gods provided 15-19 knot winds as the yachts in spinnaker (Division A) and non-spinnaker (Division B) stormed around their respective courses. Gusts off Curtain Bluff caused many of the boats running to "Bluff" mark to broach but none of them were death-defying.
A yacht, that shall remain un-named, hooked, and sank Curtains Gate on the spinnaker course on its first passing but luckily because Curtains Gate consisted of two buoys in close proximity all those following were able to round the surviving mark.
As the crews from some of the bigger boats on the spinnaker course came back ashore at Antigua Yacht Club Marina they were looking a little wrung out after their 30-mile course had them covering 50-odd miles. "We were kicking it downwind, giving its some real sled action," commented a crewmember from Bermudan boat Starr Trail as he rehydrated with a refreshing Espresso Martini from the Skullduggery - and he wasn't the only one. "I've been pulling ropes all day long," said another.
Roy Disney's Pyewacket, swallowing up the heavier conditions as it stormed around the course laid off the south coast of Antigua, managed to eat up her 50 miles in just under four hours and thirty six minutes and beat UK Swan 60 Spirit of Jethou - now with GBR Challenge designer Hugh Welbourn at the helm after Ossie Stewart's turn at the wheel for the first half of the regatta - by nine minutes on corrected time. Puerto Rican Andrews 70 Titan was third. Spirit Of Jethou's second place in class is not certain with Clay Deutsch's Chippewa only three points behind.
Noonmark VI, with another victory in Racing I today, will be going into tomorrow's race with class prize in its sights and Lolita, last year's class winner, only two points behind. Aera took the horn for third today but third place in class is not cut and dried with a number of boats with scores in the early twenties. The finish tomorrow between Noonmark and Lolita will also decide third place for overall fleet .
Jamie Dobbs' Lost Horizon II won Racing III again and with his 'surfboard' relished the downwind conditions. In a close race for second place, Montebello, a Guadeloupean Beneteau beat US Mumm 30 by a hair - four seconds. The other Mumm 30, Red Fever, was third. However, Twisted Lizard still holds her second place in class while Montebello is third.
Antrim 27 Rhumb Squall recorded a DNF today but still leads her one-boat Sport Class.
Bermudan boat Starr Trail, with a crew of virtually all Bermudans, got her third win today in Racer/Cruiser I and looked solid around the course. Last year's winner Encore, and long-time supporter of Sailing Week owned by TV magnate Jim Dolan, was second; the two and a half minute difference between the two can't have been helped by Encore's spinnaker blowing as it approached "Bluff" mark. Orfeo was third. Starr Trail and Encore are tying for first place in class so they both have all to sail for tomorrow.
Timbalero 2, after another win today in Racer/Cruiser II, goes into tomorrow's race in that enviable, or unenviable depending on the way you look at it, position of being a shoe-in for class victory barring disaster. Jus' Do It, second today, is second in class while Hinano, sixth today, is third.
Antiguan boat Trouble racked up another first today in Racer/Cruiser III while Pipe Dream, Peter Haycraft's Sirena 38 from the BVI, was second beating its nemesis Hullabuloo. After its unfortunate DSQ on Monday Pipe Dream, can only hope is the nicest possible way, for a small problem to befall Trouble, Hullabuloo, Flechette and Huey Too to get on the winners' rostrum Saturday evening at the Lord Nelson Ball.
In Division B, Hugh Bailey's HuGo from Antigua leads Racer/Cruiser with another first today and Bravo, a Swan from the Dolan stable skippered by Carroll Garland, is second in class with another second today but only thirty seconds behind HuGo. Sky Hunter was third today and is third in class.
Cruising I continues to be dominated by Richard Matthews and his crew aboard Oyster Catcher XXIV. King's Legend is second in class and Kimosabi is third.
In Cruising II Alliance, a French Jeanneau 44 now has second place after a win today and some clarification on Gaid Pratt's finish times in previous races. It appears that the boat may have been starting in the incorrect class twenty minutes ahead of its own. However, she has now retired and returned to Guadeloupe for steering repairs after T-boning the committee boat today. Galatea of Southampton is now winning the class and Nick Maley's Pumkin is third.
In the Bareboat classes Jan Soderberg is now well on his way to Bareboat V victory as well as overall after another win today sailing Waisters. Monet is second and Beril is third.
In Bareboat VI Fleur, a Dufour 38 skippered by Neil Williams, was dismasted on its second beat today and has curtailed its chances of beating the other four boats in a party of friends sailing Viola, Magnolia, Narcissus and Rosemary. Of that group Jon James' Magnolia leads going in to the last day. Teranga Sailing Roma leads the class with its third win today, Belle Isle Sailing Roma is second and Recisa is third.
Andreas Kadelbach from Germany is leading Bareboat I sailing Enos; Juniclara, skippered by Dieter Kuhn, is leading Bareboat II; Dieter Von Orlow leads Bareboat III on Milos; and Deimos, skippered by another German Christophe Neilson, is headlining Bareboat IV.
Tomorrow will see the fleet in their "Ocean Races" once again off the south coast of Antigua.
For full results click here
To see some of Tim Wright 's excellent photographs of the action see page two or a complete gallery here ...