George David's 90ft Rambler heads fleet on first leg of Yachting World Trophy at Stanford Antigua Sailing Week 28/4/07

The first leg of the Yachting World Round the Island Race from Falmouth Harbour to Fort James took place today on the opening day of Stanford Antigua Sailing Week.

This two-leg, 34.5-mile race for the fastest boats in Division A is based on the total fastest elapsed time round the island of Antigua. Not surprisingly Mike Slade’s 100ft ICAP Leopard took line honours. The second leg will be completed tomorrow when the fleet head down the west side of the island back to Falmouth Harbour.

Unfortunately with just 12 kts of breeze there will certainly be no records broken this year but Rambler, the 90ft custom-built flyer, owned and helmed by George David from the USA gave Leopard a good run for her money by taking the leading position in the big boat racing class on corrected time. Benny Kelly’s TP52 Panthera is close behind.

Rambler had a good start and maintained her position ahead of Leopard, the 100ft Farr design. They took a handy lift round the Shirley Heights headland and kept pace all the way up the east side of the island.

Vick Harvey the programme manager on Rambler explained what happened. “The conditions around 10kts favoured us a bit and we didn’t have to worry about Leopard getting too powered up. They are two feet longer but are twice the weight of us, so in the lighter air we can hang on better. We did a nice job of staying in touch and they were only about four minutes ahead of us at the top of the island and then we hung on to the end. There was a bit of a confusion about where the B boat finish line was, our finish line we believe was out of position and we were getting ready to cross the B line on our way to our finish line and we heard an announcement on the radio explaining that if we cross that line we will be disqualified, so we bore away hard and crossed our finish line.”

Elsewhere in the 185-strong fleet close racing ensued on a good, working beat out towards Shirley Heights corner. Peter Harrison’s Farr 115 Sojana skippered by Marcus Fitzgerald shadowed all the other classes around her and, within Racing II class, she clocked up her first win of the week.

The glamorous-looking ORMA 60 Region Guadeloupe (ex Primagaz) skippered by Claude Thelier, weaved her way through the fleet but was unable to hold off True Look, the speedy Seacart 30. This boat sailed by a Swedish team and skippered by Calle Hennix took their first win of the week in the Multihull Racing Class.

The Dragon class, sailing as a fleet for the first time in Antigua Sailing Week, enjoyed fantastic racing up to Fort James. A total of eight teams from Carlo Falcone’s Harmony Hall Yacht Club fleet of Dragons was led by Olga White and team on Murka Dragon. Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen on Compass Point finished second.

For results go to