Split seconds apart
Today’s conditions confirmed exactly why Antigua Sailing Week is so special: 15-18 knots of breeze from the southeast, sparkling sunshine under a crystal clear blue sky, and big, surfing turquoise blue waves rolling in from the east, are the sort of conditions sailors’ dreams are made of.
For Division A racing yachts it was another two-race day on courses set just off Falmouth. The first race of the day (the postponed race from Saturday) was a one-round, windward/leeward sprint with three-mile legs, which lasted less than an hour, to give enough time to complete the scheduled Race 5 (Willoughby Bay Race) in the afternoon. Crews in the cruising and charter boats in Division B – many nursing sore heads from last night’s big party at Jolly Harbour – enjoyed a 29nm coastal race from Jolly Harbour back to Falmouth where they will remain for the remainder of the week.
Three days into the regatta, the situation is starting to hot up now in many of the fleets including Racing 1 where Tom and Dotty Hill’s custom Reichel/Pugh 75 Titan 15 and Niklas Zennström’s Judel Vrolijk 72 Rán, together with Austin Fragomen’s JV52 Interlodge, and Ron O’Hanley’s Farr 50 Privateer are enjoying some of the closest racing. This was confirmed in both races today when Rán crossed the finish line just one second ahead of Titan 15 in race one, and two seconds ahead in race two, despite Titan 15 having to execute a penalty turn for a port-starboard incident at the top mark.
Rán spent the morning keeping tags on Titan 15 as they once again headed offshore on their own two-horse race. As hard as she tried, Titan 15 was unable to break cover upwind and with just one round, could not extract herself from Rán, even downwind. Interlodge and Privateer had an equally close race, with yesterday’s winner, Interlodge, managing to take third place, while in the second race Privateer got the upper hand and finished less than a minute ahead.
It seems like nothing is going to stop Lindsey Duda and team on Sin Duda – the American Santa Cruz 52 – in their quest to win Racing 2. They bagged yet another two wins today beating Danilo Salsi's Swan 90 DSK Pioneer Investments in both races. With five wins in a row, and first place overall more or less guaranteed, the race is on now on for second place overall.
The extremely well-sailed RP44 Peake Yacht Services Storm showed her true colours today making short work of the windward/leeward course this morning beating Elandra, Calvin Reed’s Beneteau First 40.7, by over a minute on corrected time, and closing the gap between current class leader Catapult, the brand-new J/122 sailed by Marc Glimcher and team. Another win for Peake Yacht Services Storm in the afternoon’s race shifts her nearer Catapult on the overall scoresheet.
Marco Serafini and his team aboard the FY61 Tyke scored their second win of the regatta today putting them in a strong position atop Performance Cruising 1. Erik Lindgren from Sweden sailing a Baltic 500 Spirit scored second in the Jolly Harbour Race today, which now confirms his position in second place on the scoreboard. However, British sailor Christian Reynolds in the chartered Swan 51 Northern Child is on equal points, which mean when racing resumes on Thursday, an interesting battle will no doubt develop.
The Antiguans are dominating the top end of Performance Cruising 2 with five boats in the top six. Hugh Bailey’s Hugo B scored his second win of the regatta today, which puts him two points ahead of the Six Metre Biwi Magic, winner of the first day’s race. The only non-Antiguan boat in the top six is Robert Jones’ Oyster Lightwave Amandlakulu which scored a respectable third place today leaving them in fourth overall.
Steve Kuhl and team on the British Jeanneau 49 Sunbeat IV notched up another win today, making it three in a row in Cruising 1. In second place, also for the third day in a row are Dave Perkins and team on the Jeanneau 54 Windward Spirit. Another British sailor keen to fly the flag is Burt Keenan sailing the Frers custom 48 Acadia, who posted his third win of the series and confirmed his position at the top of Cruising 2 with just three races to go.
Jakob Oetiker and his all-Swiss team aboard Moorings-chartered Beneteau Cyclades 50, Monumental Dream, sailed a good tactical race today in Bareboat 1 to take their first win of the regatta. With a fairly poor scoreline going into today’s race including a sixth and fifth place respectively, the team were pleased with their performance today. Elsewhere in the fleet Grazzi, the Beneteau Oceanis, which has added another second to her consistent scoreline, has knocked Vivaldi, Michael White’s Harmony 52, off the perch at the top of the fleet.
The seven-strong team on KH+P Girl in Bareboat 2 had an exceptional day’s racing by leading for the majority of the race and winning their class on corrected time. A downwind start from Jolly Harbour in good winds gave KH + P Girl the chance to demonstrate her speed off the line although tactician Sasha Jaeger was a little disappointed that they were pipped at the post by Herbert Muenzel’s KH+P Sea you later, in the closing stages. Jaeger said: “We led the race from the start but 100 metres from the line we were overtaken and missed line honours by 27 seconds. However, we’re having a great time sailing with people we’ve never sailed with before and we’ve proved we can really sail the boat fast.”
There was more success for KH+P charter boats in Bareboat 3 today with KH+P Sun King, a Dufour 385 sailed by Beate Mohn and team taking their second win of the regatta.
Roman Paszke and the Polish team on the sole Racing Multihull R-Six Team suffered a shredded mainsail in today’s Division A, first race. Just when the wind picked up sufficiently for the giant, 90ft carbon fibre catamaran to fly a hull, the lower half of the main came tumbling down on the crew, leaving them no option other than to retire. Paszke said he was keen to get the sail sorted in time for Thursday’s penultimate race.
There was no surprise in the Cruising Multihull class to see Robbie Ferron and team on the Lagoon 410 catamaran Katzenellenbogen taking yet another win from Joe Walsh’s Lagoon 470 Suave.
Tomorrow is Antigua Sailing Week lay day, which means there’ll be plenty of festivities taking place not only tomorrow at Antigua Sailing Club, but also tonight at the English Harbour Rum Street Party in Nelson’s Dockyard. Competitors and visitors are lining up to enjoy traditional Antiguan hospitality with performances from some of the best bands on the island and a taste of Antigua Carnival. Serious racers competing in the Antigua Ocean Series will compete in the final race of the series, the Round Redonda Race, tomorrow, a 40nm sprint to the neighbouring, uninhabited island and back.
Full results here