The 215-boat fleet competing at Antigua Race Week experienced some of the best conditions seen so far this week with glorious sunshine and a building breeze which reached in excess of 18 knots at times yesterday.

Shredded spinnakers, dismastings and sunken marks all added to excitement of the racing and, with some fleet s sailing a course of over 30 miles, there were more than a few exhausted looking crews to be seen relaxing under the palm trees after the racing.

On courses laid off English Harbour, the fleets all got away first time with the big boat racing and sportsboat classes in division A, sailing an extended course and division B sailing a shorter course in the same vicinity. Roy Disney’s Pyewacket did her usual gallop across the start line in the Big Boat Racing Class leaving the rest of the fleet in her wake and after a tough race took first place from the well-sailed Spirit of Jethou. Titan, who’d had a few bad results earlier in the week, had a good start and sailed well to clinch third place from the Chippewa. The course set with plenty of beats was once again not ideal for the Open 60 downwind flyer, Ocean Planet, and with a reef in her mainsail, had to settle for seventh place.

The British boat Noonmark VI won her battle against her rival Lolita which now gives her in a slight advantage in the overall scorings. The week-long battle has provided some of the closest racing in any of the fleets and all eyes will be focussed on the final race which starts (on Friday) in a couple of hours time.

Although the big boat racing fleets are stealing the show out on the racecourse, one of the hottest fleets this week, is Racing Class III with the likes of Jamie Dobbs’ Lost Horizon II and Montebello, a Guadeloupean Beneteau battling for top honours. Lost Horizon revelled in the fresh conditions to win the fourth race ahead of Montebello by just four seconds.

Antrim 27 Rhumb Squall recorded and DNF today but still leads her one-boat Sport Class.

The Bermudan boat, Starr Trail, won her third race of the week in the Racer/Cruiser 1 class which puts her in a solid position going in to Friday’s final race. Last year’s winner Encore took second despite a blown out spinnaker off in the gusty conditions off Bluff mark.

In Racer/Cruiser II class, Timbalero 2 scored another win also putting her in a strong position going in to the last day’s racing. Jus’ Do It who took second, is lying in second overall, with Hinano in third overall.

Antigun boat Trouble racked up another first in Racer/Cruiser III while Pipe Dream, Peter Haycraft’s Sirena 38 from the BVI, was second beating its nemesis Hullabuloo. Following a DSQ on Monday, Pipe Dream, can only hope in the nicest possible way, for a small problem to befall Trouble, Hullabuloo, Flechette and Huey Too to get on the winners’ rostrum on Saturday evening at the Lord Nelson Ball.

With another first in Division B, Hugh Bailey’s HuGo from Antigua leads Racer/Cruiser class and Bravo, the other yacht in the Dolan stable skippered by Carroll Garland, is second in class with another second but only 30 seconds behind HuGo. Sky Hunter was third and is third in class.

Cruising I continues to be dominated by Richard Matthews and his crew aboard Oyster Catcher XXIV. King’s Legend is second in class and Kimosabi is third.

In Cruising II, Alliance, a French Jeanneau 44 now has second place after a fourth-race win and some clarification on Gaid Pratt’s finish times in previous races. It appears that the boat may have been starting in the incorrect class 20 minutes ahead of its own. However, she has now retired and returned to Guadeloupe for steering repairs after T-boning the committee boat. Galatea of Southampton is now winning the class and Nick Maley’s Pumkin is third. In the Bareboat classes Jan Soderberg is now well on his way to Bareboat V victory as well as overall after another win today sailing Waisters. Monet is second and Beril is third.