YW are on the spot at the 41st Stanford Antigua Sailing Week

Over 180 boats of nearly every size and description – from the 100ft maxi ICAP Leopard, to a dedicated one-design fleet of 29ft International Dragons – make up the provisional entry list for the 41st running of Stanford Antigua Sailing Week.

The annual Caribbean festival of top-tier yacht racing and world-class ‘après sail’ parties is now just days away, with competition set to begin this Sunday.

The preliminary scratch sheet for the event divides the fleet into seventeen dedicated classes, with six Grand Prix racing divisions; three classes of Performance Cruisers; three separate categories of multihulls; a cruising class; four divisions of bareboat charter yachts; and the one-design Dragons.

The marquee class is Racing I, where Mike Slade’s ICAP Leopard will face battle-hardened Rambler. But while Leopard and Rambler will be pushing one another hard for first-to-finish bragging rights, on handicap the entire Racing I class must beware of Benny Kelly’s TP 52, Panthera, which won the Most Outstanding Boat award at the recent St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.

In Racing II, a trio of Farr 65s crewed by clients of the British sailing organization Ondeck will hope to topple a pair of well-known and well-sailed Caribbean presences, Peter Harrison’s Farr 115, Sojana, and Clay Deutsch’s Swan 68, Chippewa.
The Swan theme continues to be strong in Racing III, where US sailor Frank Savage has reunited his old crew aboard his Swan 56, Lolita, to race in the waters of past glories. Savage was the overall winner of Sailing Week in 2003. To win again, Lolita will have to stave off the advances of two Swan 48s, Hank Schmitt’s Avocation and Philip Wright’s Gigi, as well as Dr. Ulrich Rohde’s Swan 53, Dragon Fly Plus.

The largest single class at Stanford Antigua Sailing Week for 2008 is Racing V, with twenty-two entries, and could prove to be a showdown between two very similar designs: the Archambault 40, with five representatives, and the Beneteau 40.7, with seven entrants. These dual-purpose racer/cruisers are ideal for Caribbean racing.

Of course, racing is only part of the fun, since social events make up the other half of a long-standing equation. Among the parties scheduled for next week are the Fort James Beach Bash, on Sunday; Tuesday’s English Harbour Rum Crew Ball at the Event Village at Nelson’s Dockyard; Wednesday’s famous Sundown Party at Shirley Heights; the Pirates of the Caribbean Party on Friday; and of course, the Prize giving Ceremony that wraps up the festivities on Saturday, 3 May.

The Yachting World team will be afloat and ashore at the Caribbean’s premier regatta which begins with an opening ceremony on Saturday 26 April, racing starts on Sunday 27 April and continues until Friday, with the prizegiving on Saturday 3 May. Follow the racing with our daily online reports and stories at www.yachtingworld.com and see our full story in the July issue of Yachting World.

Yachting World is a Gold Sponsor of the regatta.