Lots of wind predicted for 192 entries at Stanford Antigua Sailing Week which starts tomorrow 28/4/07

A massive 192-boat entry is expected on the startline tomorrow for the opening day’s racing of Stanford Antigua Sailing Week. And the good news is, the fresh breeze is predicted to remain constant for at least the next few days.

This regatta, which this year celebrates it 40th anniversary, promises to be the best yet with top competition expected from the event’s biggest ever international fleet. Of the 192 entries there’s a massive 70-boat contingent from the UK, 25 from Germany and the USA with other entries from France, Belgium, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, Australia, Zimbabwe, and of course Antigua and Barbuda and the other local Caribbean islands. Altogether there are 25 nations represented.

With the introduction of the multihulls for the first time this year it’s interesting to see who’s on the entry list. The South African-built Gunboat catamarans seem to be the biggest supporters with three Gunboat 48s in the line-up including John Kwitek’sSailing Lickety Splitfrom the US, Hubertus Brockhaus’sAn Jellafrom Switzerland, and Antigua’s own Xavier Ross onCream. They’ll be joined by a Gunboat 62 – Bruce and Nora Slayden’s bright silver-paintedLooking for Elvisfrom the UK, and the Formula 40Somasailed by Nils Erickson of the US Virgin Islands.

One of the most significant races for the big boat classes this week is theYachting World Round the Island Racefor the fastest elapsed time. This race which now runs in two stages starts tomorrow giving the fleet a dash half way round the island to Dickenson Bay. The race to complete the circumnavigation of the island will take place on Monday.

Tom Hill and his team aboard the Reichel Pugh 75 footer Titan 12 have won the YW Trophy two years in succession so it will be interesting to see if they can make it a hatrick. There’s going to be some tough competition though with the likes Ger O’Rouke’s Cookson 50Chieftan(winner of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race last year), and Volvo Ocean Race winner VO70ABN AMRO Onewith Mike Sanderson at the helm, in the line-up. This boat has already won the St Maarten Heineken Regatta and the BVI Spring Regatta this year and is hoping for a good overall result here in Antigua to clinch an overall win in the 2007 Caribbean Big Boat Series.

Andrew Pindar’s Volvo 60Pindar Alphagraphicswill also be one to keep an eye on. Onboard for the week there’s a host of top British sailors including skipper Ian Williams – number 1 in the ISAF match racing rankings, plus Open 60 sailors Alex Thomson and Brian Thompson.

Swans are, as usual, making a big impact on the fleet here at Stanford Antigua Sailing Week, spreading throughout most of the racing classes. Some that could be making the headlines over the next few days includeSelene,Duke Steinemann’s Swan 80,ChippewaClay Deutsch’s Swan 68, andSchider, Barry Sampson’s Swan 62. The hot team aboard Sir Peter Odgen’sSpirit of Jethouincluding British tactician Ian Budgen are also hoping for some good results particularly if the wind holds up. Other Swans to keep an eye out for are Leonardo Ferragamo’sCuordileone, and Jim Swartz’sMoneypenny, plus Russian Mikhail Mouratov and his all-star team on the Swan 48,Murka.