Jonny Malbon announces departure of Antigua Sailing Week to prepare for big races ahead 30/4/07

Jonny Malbon, skipper of the Open 60 Artemis Ocean Racing currently competing in Stanford Antigua Sailing Week is pleased with the boat’s performance after day one of the regatta (fourth overall in Racing 1) but says they’re having to make the most of it because they only racing half the week.

Apparently Malbon will be bidding farewell to his top racing crew situated here in Antigua and setting off two-handed back to Europe later this week, and Gringo, who recently joined the boat from Mike Golding’s Ecover team, will be joining Malbon on the double-handed trip home.

Malbon commenting on the urgency of departure said: “We actually need to qualify for the Transat Jacques Vabre later in the year so we’re using this trip as a qualifier. Also, more and more importantly we have the Calais Round Britain and Ireland Race start on 3 June and we have to be there eight days before.”

Their early departure from this Caribbean regatta comes as a big blow to the crew including the likes of Simon Rogers, Gareth Rowley, Johnny Mordan and Pete Cumming who yesterday reveled in the superb conditions. With classic Caribbean Trade Winds blowing in from the east, and forecast to continue for the duration of the regatta this team could have really put Artemis Ocean Racing (formerly Hexagon then Pindar) through her paces and come up with a respectable result.

During yesterday’s Leg 1 of the Yachting World Round the Island Race she really showed her true colours by notching up fourth overall on corrected time crossing the line just eight minutes behind the Riechel Pugh maxi Titan 12.

Malbon continued: “Very pleased with the boat’s performance yesterday. She’s a very quick boat so it’s a bit of a shame we’re not doing the rest of the week because I’m a real fan of the regatta but we have to juggle it and do as much as we can in the time we have available. The boat’s in tip top condition so we’re ready to set off across the Atlantic.”