Gold watch up for grabs
The overall winner of the Cruising fleet at the 43rd edition of Antigua Sailing Week (24-30 April 2010) will be going home with a solid gold Leinfelder watch. This limited edition Leinfelder Meridian Antigua 2010 watch, specially developed for Sailing Week, was the result of an idea put forward to Leinfelder by Dr Ulrich Rohde – overall winner of Cruising 1 class last year sailing his Swan 53 Dragon Fly Plus.
Titus Wolf, Managing Director of Munich-based Leinfelder Goldschmiede, said the company listened to Dr Rohde’s ideas and decided it was the perfect platform in which the company could market their brand. “We’ve designed and produced a watch especially for sailors in mind and specifically for Antigua Sailing Week 2010. It’s a top of the range, gold, hi-tech, dynamic and extremely functional watch for the racing sailor. We are only producing 63 which makes the winner’s watch even more special.”
Those who do find themselves in the Cruising fleet at this year’s Antigua Sailing Week, competing for the gold, Leinfelder Meridian Antigua 2010 watch, will undoubtedly find this generally less competitive fleet one of the most cut-throat at the regatta. Entries are already bulking up and, with over a month to go before the start, there’s still plenty of time to sign up.
Elsewhere on the racecourse there’s plenty of stiff competition expected in the big boat racing classes. Niklas Zennstrom’s JV72 Ran, Austin Fragomen’s JV TP52 Interlodge, and Tom and Dotty Hill’s custom Reichel/Pugh 75 Titan 15 will be among those vying for top honours. America’s Cup match racing legend Peter Isler, and team, aboard Hill’s new, stunning-looking, ultra lightweight racing machine Titan are hoping to repeat the sparkling performance they achieved at the recently held St Maarten Heineken Regatta where they took an overall class win.
Ron O'Hanley’s Farr/Cookson 50 Privateer is also one to watch out for, as is her sistership Lee Overlay Partners owned by Adrian Lee. Lee and his race winning team from Ireland will not only be looking to defend their Antigua Ocean Series winning title from last year (a three-race series within the overall series, incorporating Guadeloupe Race – 23 April, Yachting World Round the Island Race – 25 April, and the Redonda Island Race – 28 April/lay day) but will also be hoping to keep the well-ranked Privateer on her toes throughout the week.
According to British sailor Nick Bubb, who’ll be skippering a Swan 56 for Chris Marsden of Aggmore Property Group, competition will be strong in the Performance Cruiser class. Bubb, who’s better known for his Mini Transat and Figaro campaigns, sailing Tony Bullimore's maxi cat around the world in the Oryx Quest and as a crewmember aboard the Russian Volvo Ocean Race boat, says although it will be lower key style racing than he’s used to, there’ll be no shortage of competition. “Marsden has given me one objective for the week; to beat his brother who’s racing an identical Swan 56. No pressure or anything.”
Another British round the world yachtsman – Brian Thompson – will also be racing. Thompson has teamed up with Safe Passage Sailing (SPS) as a key, coaching members aboard one of Ondeck charter company’s Farr 65s. Thompson is one of the world’s most successful offshore racers having notched up 25 sailing records to date as either skipper or watch captain, including breaking the non-stop round the world record in 58 days, 9 hours, 32 minutes, 45 seconds aboard Cheyenne in 2004. Commenting on Antigua Sailing Week, Thompson said: “I am really looking forward to my 5th Antigua Race Week; it’s always a great regatta, with fabulous sailing conditions, plenty of fast boats and a superb atmosphere on and off the water. Antigua feels a little like a second home to me, as I have lots of great memories of the island and so I cannot wait to get back there in April.”
Chatting about his connection with SPS, Thompson says he is looking forward to imparting some of his experience in a coaching capacity. “I enjoy the challenge of getting a new team up to full speed in a short time, and it’s going to be great fun to race around the buoys with a full crew in the Caribbean sunshine.”
On the dockside, Antigua’s legendary party scene is lining up to be one of the best yet with plans well underway for not only the Dickenson Bay beach bash and the Jolly Harbour party but also the Antigua Sailing Week welcome party on the first Saturday night. One of the biggest events however, is the English Harbour Rum Street Party on the Tuesday night where competitors and visitors to the island can enjoy traditional Antiguan hospitality with performances from some of the best bands on the island and a taste of Antigua Carnival. Lay day will be lots of fun too with water games and festivities at Antigua Yacht. On Thursday evening the party will move to Shirley Heights, before the final grand prizegiving at Nelson’s Dockyard on the Friday, all in all making Antigua Sailing Week 2010 another week to remember.
The schedule for Antigua Sailing Week starts with Race 1 of the Ocean Series – the Guadeloupe to Antigua Race – on Friday April 23, with racing for ASW series kicking off on Saturday afternoon following an early morning breakfast briefing at Antigua Yacht Club. The Yachting World Around the Island Race (Race 2 of the Ocean Series) is on Sunday 25 April, and the Round Redonda Race (Race 3 of the Ocean Series) takes place on Wednesday 28 April (lay day).