Ocean racers and Olympic medallists to spice up this year's Antigua Sailing Week
There’ll be no shortage of superstars on the racecourse at the 43rd edition of Antigua Sailing Week (24 – 30 April 2010). Round the world British yachtsman Brian Thompson has teamed up with Safe Passage Sailing (SPS) as one of the key, coaching members aboard Ondeck’s Farr 65s and 40.7. Thompson has notched up 25 sailing records to date as either skipper or watch captain, including breaking the non-stop world speed sailing record in 58 days, 9 hours, 32 minutes, 45 seconds aboard Cheyenne (ex-PlayStation) in 2004.
Joining Thompson on the eight day training/racing initiative are fellow professional sailors Sally Barkow and Doogie Couvreux. Barkow is one of the world’s leading match racing skippers and was the USA representative in the Yngling class at the Beijing Olympic Games in has twice won the USA Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year (2005, 2007).
Randee Fowler, Executive Director of Safe Passage Sailing says the idea was created to provide a turn-key holiday and opportunity for the intermediate to advanced sailor to participate in world class regattas, on high performance yachts with world class racing pros serving as skippers and mentors. “Basically, SPS has taken all the hassle and headaches out of coordinating this type of sailing holiday – no boat responsibilities. The objective: to show up and have fun,” explained Fowler.
Rock-up-and-race opportunities at Antigua Sailing Week are a highly popular option, with sponsor Ondeck gearing up for their biggest Antigua Sailing Week ever with15 yachts entered so far. Business Development Manager, Simon Hedley commented: “We are over the moon with the take up this year and have been sourcing additional quality yachts outside our own large fleet to keep up with demand. Our ethos is that we can involve virtually anyone in this fantastic regatta regardless of ability or experience in a safe and controlled manner. We are even taking orders for 2011 at this point which is a great position to be in.”
Regulars at Antigua Sailing Week, KH+P yachtcharter from Stuttgart, Germany, have also reported good business with 18 boats being chartered for the event. This German charter company has been participating at Antigua Sailing Week for 19 years offering high performance racing for international teams from as far afield as Russia. The company has a reputation for notching up respectable results including last year success when the 19 yachts competing went home with 18 cups.
Other entries indicating an interest at the event once again are the fleet of nine Petticrow-built International Dragons on charter from Harmony Hall Yacht Club. The club, which runs regular racing for Dragons throughout the year, was set up two year’s ago and masterminded by Carlo Falcone and double Olympic Gold medallist – Poul-Richard Hoj-Jensen.
Look out for
One of the biggest head-turners at the regatta will undoubtedly be the 90ft maxi-catamaran Gemini 3 skippered by round the world yachtsman Roman Paszke. This carbon-fibre flyer built in 2007 did The Race, broke the 198 mile Polish coast record in 8h55mins, and after a week of intense round-the-cans style racing in Antigua, will complete preparations for her forthcoming westabout singlehanded circumnavigation.
Antigua Sailing Week regular Barry Sampson (GBR) has been attending the regatta since the early 1980s and says it’s been interesting to see how the regatta has evolved without losing its special friendly appeal. Sailing his Swan 42 – Long Echo – Sampson stressed the reasons he returns to the regatta every year: “I love Antigua because I always have fun racing with my friends and family on good courses. It’s a friendly island and we feel very at home there, and I’m also pleased to hear that the organisers have listened to the competitors’ views and reintroduced the lay-day this year. It’s also a great way of doubling the number of summers. My close friends and I have come to the conclusion that we have about 15 summers of racing left in us, so by coming to Antigua it doubles the number of summers we have left. It’s as simple as that really.”
The schedule for Antigua Sailing Week starts with Race 1 of the Ocean Series – the Guadeloupe to Antigua Race – on Friday 23 April, with racing for ASW series kicking off on Saturday afternoon following an early morning breakfast briefing at Antigua Yacht Club. The Yachting World Around the Island Race (Race 2 of the Ocean Series) is on Sunday 25 April, and the Round Redonda Race (Race 3 of the Ocean Series) takes place on Wednesday 28 April (lay day).
For regular, updated information, racing schedule, and to secure a place on the start line of Antigua Sailing Week and the Ocean Series 2010 go to www.sailingweek.com.