VOR race winner ABN AMRO One leads big boat racing class and Yachting World Trophy 29/4/07

Competitors at Stanford Antigua Sailing Week enjoyed spectacular racing on day one of the regatta. A stiff breeze reaching 17-20kts from the east provided near perfect conditions for the likes of the VO70 ABN AMRO One who romped away from the start and led the Big Boat racing I fleet to the finish. see previous news story here. 

Mike Sanderson and his super-slick team put into practice their valuable training from yesterday and pulled off not only first overall on elapsed time, finishing the race 25 minutes ahead of second-placed Titan 12, but finished first overall on corrected time. Second overall on corrected time in Racing I fleet was Ger O’Rourke and team aboard Cookson 50 Chieftan.

Chatting after the racing a satisfied Mike Sanderson said: “We blew a few cobwebs out yesterday during training including breaking a 16,000 US dollar kite to the state we had to put it in the rubbish bin, so today was a real bonus for us. The guys were all mentally ready for today’s race and the boat was really going well. The conditions were perfect for us. Had it been under 10kts it may have been different. They [Titan 12] are as fast against us in the lighter stuff as we are against them in the breeze.”
According to Sanderson ABN AMRO spends a lot of time sailing at windspeed so 20kts offwind in 20kts of breeze so today was ideal for a boat built for fast offwind sailing.

Sanderson and his all-star team including four members of the VOR winning team, a couple of ABN AMRO Two, Chris Nicholson off Movistar, and couple from Team New Zealand, now lead the Yachting World Round the Island Race. The second half of the race – from Dickinson Bay back to Falmouth Harbour takes place tomorrow.

The British team on Open 60 Artemis Ocean Racing, skippered by Johnny Malbon also had a spectacular race today notching fourth overall on corrected time. Malbon chatting after the racing was clearly pleased with the boat’s performance commenting: “After our cracking start the boat just flew and we actually made ground on all the Swan 601 which we were really pleased about. At times we were higher and faster which we were shocked about because we weren’t even ballasting.
“Halfway round when we had to bear off there was lots of broaching going on ahead so we kept out shoot in the ‘bag’ and just kept the boat going fast and as soon as the computer said yes, we just put the shoot up and smoked it downwind.”

One boat conspicuous by her absence on the starline today was Andrew Pindar’s VO60 Pindar Alphagraphics. Apparently during a windy training session yesterday the crew encountered a rigging problem which nearly the mast down. Consequently the team was forced to stay ashore for today’s opening race. Pindar commenting on the problem said: “They broke the boat, a D2 in the rigging and I was assured by some of the most talented riggers and sailors that it would fixed by today but I’m still waiting, I’m still waiting for them to turn up now with a line of excuses!” Pindar laughing over a rum punch at today’s Dickinson Bay Beach bash said that he’s a powerboater at heart so he wouldn’t be totally disappointed if they motored round the course, adding: “Maybe if we motor the boat round the course, it’ll prove that nothing goes upwind better than a powerboat.”