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Breeze up

Conditions get more challenging at Antigua Sailing Week

Wednesday May 1st 2013, Author: Louay Habib, Location: Antigua and Barbuda

After two days of relatively calm weather by Antiguan standards, full Trade Wind power returned to deliver for day three of Antigua Sailing Week. Big breeze and blazing sunshine whipped up the sea, especially for the big boat classes. The race committee responded by altering the schedule for CSA 1 & 2 to a brace of races on a long windward-leeward course off the southwest corner of Antigua.

With ten yachts, 60 feet or over, this year's Antigua Sailing Week has one of the largest big boat fleets for many years. With solid breeze throughout the day, the fleet was a spectacular sight pounding to windward along the rocky shoreline.

In CSA 1, Eduardo Wong Lu Vega's Peruvian Kuankun may be the smallest boat in the fleet but the team continued to nail the start line to avoid the bigger yachts. However, in the first race of the day, HM King Harald of Norway's RP78 Whisper took the gun and the win on corrected time by nearly 10 minutes. Kuankun fought back to win the second race and retain the class lead.

HM King Harald of Norway was very complimentary about Antigua Sailing Week, as he spoke dockside after today's racing. "I have not been to Antigua Sailing Week for a few years but I am very pleased with the race management and the conditions have been wonderful, especially as it is very cold in Norway at this time of the year. The racing has been very competitive and I must say that the Whisper crew is sailing extremely well and we are looking forward to racing in windy conditions. Today was a typical day in Antigua - warm, sunny and strong Trade Winds."

In CSA 2, Hector Velarde's Nelson Marek 92 Locura had a fantastic battle on the water with Frers 94, Bristolian. The two biggest yachts at the regatta had a magnificent encounter in both of today's races. "We are really enjoying the racing, especially against Bristolian," smiled Velarde. "We have a gentlemen's bet with them for the regatta and racing against a yacht with similar speed makes it all the more exciting. Locura is really a cruising yacht but we came to Antigua Sailing Week last year and had such a good time that we decided to return and we are very happy that we have."

Bristolian's Race Skipper, John Burnie echoes the same sentiment. "Although we have to give Locura a time handicap, the racing on the water is very close. Bristolian is just that bit quicker upwind in good breeze, but Locura is faster downwind, so it all makes for a great tussle on the water which both crews are really enjoying. Locura is extremely well sailed and although Bristolian is a Corinthian crew, the improvement over the last three days has been exceptional. Hopefully we can build on that and finish off the week in style."

After five races in CSA 2, three yachts are now on equal points. Locura leads the class, but only on countback from Christian Potthoff-Sewing's JV53 Auliana with the X-612 Nix in third. Unfortunately Alan Edwards' Swan 65 Spirit had to retire from the last race of the day with a torn mainsail.

There were several notable changes to the leaderboard today. In CSA 4, Philippe Falle's Quokka started the day well, winning the first race, but was deemed OCS at the start of the second race of the day. Southern Child skippered by Lucy Reynolds had another consistent day, scoring a second and a first to take the class lead. Jeremy Thorp's Lancelot II moved up to second in class while Quokka slipped two places to third.

In CSA 5, Richard Wesslund's El Ocaso also fouled the start in the last race of the day to lose ground on archrival Phil Lotz's Arethusa. The young team on the National Sailing Academy's Digicel Challenger had another good day and retained third in class, after five races.

In CSA 6, Ross Applebey's Scarlet Oyster reveled in the windier conditions. Scoring a second and a first today, Scarlet Oyster is now tied on points with Carlo Falcone's Caccia alla Volpe, but Scarlet Oyster is just ahead on countback.


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