Light winds made tight racing for the fifth and penultimate days racing
With the wind in the 8-12kt range for most of the day yesterday, competition in this no-discard series is really hotting up as leading boats start to emerge at the top of the score sheets and prepare for the final showdown today.
On courses set to the west of Falmouth Harbour entrance at Rendezvous Bay, Division A were treated to a couple of windward/leeward-style races which saw Tom and Dotty Hill’s custom Reichel/Pugh 75 Titan 15 and Ran, plus Ron O’Hanley’s Farr 50 Privateer and Austin Fragomen’s, JV52 Interlodge continue their week-long, two-horse, respective battles.
Tom Hill on the helm of his year-old, Titan 15 managed break what seemed like Ran’s complete domination of the class by beating her on corrected time in both races today. Niklas Zennstrom’s 72ft Judel Vrolijk-designed Ran has, up to now this week, produced an enviable score line of 1,2,1,1,1 but the impressive teamwork aboard Titan on the two windward/leeward courses, left Ran trailing in her wake both on the water and on corrected time. Tom Hill recovering from a busy day on the racecourse said it was spectacular racing: “With the way Ran has been beating us this week, we were surprised to beat them the first time today, then it happened again. To be honest we only do about six or seven regattas a year so it takes us a few days to get to this point. Plus I think we gave away a couple of races earlier in the week. The crew on Ran, on the other-hand, race constantly and they are really, really good. Today however, we were in the groove and flew, making up time on each leg of the course in both races.”
In Racing 2 Sin Duda – the American Santa Cruz 52 helmed by Lindsey Duda and team – have confirmed their position on the podium with an impressive seven out of seven wins, leaving Stefan Lehnert and team sailing a Bill Trip/Turner 56 Passion4C lying in second after another third place today. Lehnert, from Bremen in Germany, talking about today’s race said: “We are consistent that’s for sure. We have very good competition with Sin Duda setting the pace and we are really enjoying the week and looking forward to the last race tomorrow.”
The American J/122 Catapult skippered by Marc Glimcher and team were on fire today managing to outshine the super-fast RP44 Peake Yacht Services Storm in the first race of the day in Racing 3. In the second race however, James Dobbs in his J/122 Lost Horizon returned to form, leaving Catapult trailing behind. Catapult, which won the opening race of the series on Sunday, recovered well from a penalty score she received earlier in the week and is now lying in equal second place with Storm.
In the one-race, Division B fleet today, the FY61 Tyke sailed by the Italian Marco Serafini and team continued to give Erik Lindgren from Sweden with his Baltic 50 Spirit, and Hank Schmitt in the Swan 48 Avocation some good competition in Performance Cruising 1. Team Tyke took their second win of the regatta in the first race but had to settle for second in Race 2 when the team on Avocation sailed a smart race and bagged their first win of the week putting them in second place.
In Performance Cruising 2 it was great to see the locals including Hugh Bailey on Hugo B, Geoffrey Pidduck in his modified Six Metre Biwi Magic, and Carlo Falcone on Caccia alla Volpe exploiting their local knowledge by heading in as far as they could risk under cliffs just after the start. The well-sailed Caccia alla Volpe sporting new sails was one of the first to tack off into clear air and dominated proceedings from then on, beating Robert Jones’ Oyster Lightwave Amandlakulu by six minutes on corrected time. Caccia alla Volpe’s win today has closed the gap at the top of the fleet leaving her and Biwi Magic on equal points in second going into the final race, both just three points behind Hugo B.
Overnight leader of Cruising 1 Sunbeat IV – the British Jeanneau SO 49 sailed by Steve Kuhl and team – was among those in good positions on the startline in the light air, and disturbed sea this morning but an incident with Burt Keenan’s Acadia in Cruising 2 later on in the race, left her having to count a penalty. She’s now lying in equal first with David Perkins’ Jeanneau 54 Windward Spirit. Nicholas Gaynor’s start in his Farr 64 Satori was also impressive. He and his team went on to sail a good race and take their first win of the week.
The congested start in the sloppy sea and light airs resulted in a coming together between Andrea Haas’ Beneteau Oceanis 423 Escapada who was lying third overall going into today’s race, and Dubosq Olivier’s Sun Odyssey 44i Performance Ti Zef in Cruising 2. Both boats suffered damage and retired from the race. Elsewhere Rick Gormley in his First 38 Elethea enjoyed his first win of the week, which even with an OCS to count, still leaves him in third place overall going in to the last race.
The Sunsail-chartered Grazzi sailed by Margale retains an impressive first overall in Bareboat 1 while the Harmony 52, Vivaldi, skippered by Nick Rose and his team from the UK scored a second today which leaves them in second overall. Chatting about the week’s racing Rose said: “We’ve had a mixed week but came back today and had a really good race. We have also really enjoyed the week particularly as the organisers have centralised more social events back in English Harbour.”
Yachts from the German company KH+P Charter have produced some good results this week from their 12 competing yachts including an overall win from Alfred Geisser and team on the Dufour 455 KH+P Girl, and second overall from KH+P Sea you later, both on equal points in Bareboat 2. Dominic Buchholzer, however, on the Dufour 40 Ask Palle was the winner today which leaves him in third place overall.
Beate Mohn and her five-strong German team on KH+P Sun King sailed an impressive series with another win today to make it three in a row. They now have a clear overall win of Bareboat 3 class beating Michel Ruyter on his Beneteau Oceanis 39 Dynaf. Mohn from Kiel, who’s raced at Antigua Sailing Week three times now, talked about today’s race: “We recovered from a poor start and made up ground on the long beat so are really happy with today’s result and our overall win. Winning is a big surprise.”
Finally, Robbie Ferron on Katzenellenbogen, his Lagoon 410 catamaran from St Maarten has cleaned up in the Cruising Multihull class with a string of four wins over Joe Walsh in his Lagoon 470 – Suave.
After racing today, competitors and visitors to the regatta made their annual pilgrimage to Shirley Heights – one of the best vantage points on the island of Antigua – not only to watch the spectacular sunset but also to enjoy yet more Caribbean carnival with live music from the international reggae band – Third World.
The final day of Antigua Sailing Week is taking place tomorrow with Division A racing yachts completing their eight-race series with a windward/leeward sprint to the east of Falmouth. The Cruising Division will compete in their final race, and Bareboats will race in the Gold/Silver fleets on the same windward/leeward courses to the west.
For results and racing schedule go to sailingweek.com