Less wind but still superb conditions to crown a glorious week for the racing and cruising divisions
Despite missing title sponsor Stanford, this year’s Sailing Week has been a great success, thanks to a combination of perfect weather and the smooth race management of GWM Racing (here for the first time).
With the Racing 1 division reduced to just two boat mini regatta, their pro crews could be forgiven for feeling a little lonely – but didn’t let that spoil their textbook performances, with TP52 Rio winning all eight races ahead of Brian Benjamin’s Rogers 46 Yeoman XXXII (despite Andy Beadsworth calling tactics). The big fanfare of Tony Bullimore’s ageing cat being re-branded Spirit of Antigua turned out to be a bit of a damp squib: he did make it here, but is unchallenged in the multihull racing fleet.
But the rest of the fleet more than made up for the lack of high profile race boats, with a week of hard sailing and hard socialising. Racing 4 class was better represented with 12 boats, but after local favourite Jamie Dobbs broke the boom on his J122 three wins in, the coast was clear for the Grand Soleil branded Curacao Marine to seal their victory.
Out of the three Performance Cruiser classes, it was the blue-hull of Crescendo, a Swan 44 chartered by Martin Jacobson and his gang of Etchell sailors from Hong Kong that stood out head and shoulders above everyone with a unprecedented eight straight bullets. They eclipsed David Cullen’s J109 Pocket Rocket who were equally as consistent with eight seconds. In PC1, it was the polished French crew on Mad IV, a 50ft Grand Soleil, who blitzed the class.
The third Performance Cruiser class saw the tightest racing with just five points separating the first three boats. Subject to an alleged protest, the trophy should go to local six meter sailor Geoffrey Pidduck (great name, nice boat!) in Biwi Magic, who saw off the significant threat of Richard Burbidge and crew aboard the red S&S Swan 43 Pavlova II (pictured), by winning the last race and therefore the week by a solitary point.
Wanting to get into the heart of the regatta, YW joined Frits Janssen and his band of merry men aboard ‘Boogie’s’ classic Swan 51 Star Chaser today – to race amongst the Swan, Oyster, and Beneteau crews who have really enjoyed themselves this week. Whilst we had a slow start in the lighter 10-15knot breeze (made up for by a credible crew performance during the four hour race back from Jolly Harbour to Falmouth Harbour), it was the tidy work of the all-American crew aboard the modern upstart Swan 53 Dragon Fly Plus, who did enough to keep the ‘carbonified’ Oyster 72 Spirit of Montpelier and Julian Sincock’s Northern Child at bay to top the Cruising 1 division.
The second Cruising class was not quite so tight, with local knowledge playing its part aboard the First 456 Hugo B (owned by Hugo Bailey of course, whose first boat was called Hugo after he bought it as a wreck after it was damaged in Hurricane Hugo) romping home all week.
As they didn’t start racing until the Sunday, the Bareboats still have another session around the cans tomorrow, and so far it’s Nifty that’s been her namesake and has scored the lowest points with five victories. Prize-giving for all follows on Friday night.
Photographers Tim Wright and Ted Martin have been doing the conditions justice with some beautiful shots during the week, a selection of which are available to view on our gallery here: Antigua Sailing Week
For a full list of results and news of the week go to the official website here:
Pic: Pavlova II dropping her spin while trying to chase down Biwi Magic in the PC3 class
Photo by Tim Wright