Skipper Philippe Falle looks ahead to Saturday’s Yachting World around Antigua Race aboard Quokka, a race his team won last year

After the excitement of the Voiles de St Barths it is now time to focus on our next campaign, Antigua Sailing Week, which is preceded by the Yachting World Round Antigua Race on Saturday. With a forecast of 12 to 15 knots Easterly wind the 45 mile race will provide us with perfect training conditions to fully prepare ourselves for the week of racing in Antigua.

Our triumphant team from last year is back and keen to defend their title. They have been training for the last three days and have now acclimatised to the Caribbean heat, re familiarised themselves with Quokka and are ready for action.

Whilst we intend to be competitive the primary objective for the Round Antigua Race is for training purposes, as our focus is very much on Antigua Sailing Week. The race will provide us with a great opportunity to pace ourselves against our rivals on varying points of sail using several different sails including our new code zero.

Quokka has been meticulously prepared and we now have a rest/prep day to ensure that she is completely ready. Attention to detail is key to the success of any race campaign as every job is gradually ticked off the list. A final hull polish and re calibration of the instruments will be the last jobs of the day before we leave the Dockyard for a quiet and relaxing evening in the team villa.

For me the last day before racing is always a difficult day as pre-race nerves start to creep in. Normally that is offset by the excitement of the building atmosphere as the buzz around the race village builds throughout the day. This year is no exception as there is a certain amount of pressure with high expectations from everyone. Quokka has won her last two Caribbean regattas, been on the podium for the other two and is defending her title as she won the Round Antigua Race overall last year.

The forecast will certainly suit Quokka and it will be good to get used to the lighter conditions again. The last two regattas have been very breezy but with light winds predicted for the next week it is necessary to get Quokka up to speed again in the light winds. Pacing ourselves against our main rivals will allow us to fine tune the rig and gain vital experience in the conditions we will race in at Antigua Sailing Week. There is much to learn in the next 24 hours as we continually try and improve performance and boat speed and the Round Antigua Race is the perfect opportunity for that.