A force five provides the ideal finish to racing at the 44th Sailing Week.
Today’s 18-knot easterly seemed almost benign compared to the rush of trade winds that have been blasting through Antigua Sailing Week. There was some intense action amongst Start Boat A boats. The Race Committee set a series of tight coastal courses that had the competitors vying for clear air in the tightly compressed fleet for the last race of Antigua Sailing Week. Start Boat B boats raced back from their over night stay in Jolly Harbour to the finish off Rendezvous Bay.
Hugo Stenbeck’s Dubois 90, Genuine Risk, left it until the last race to snatch overall victory in Class 1 from Richard Matthews’ Humphries 54, Oystercatcher XXVIII by a single point.
Stenbeck shared the driving role this week with Olympic medalist and America’s Cup helmsman, Andy Beadsworth who has sailed at prestigious regattas throughout the world and he was very complimentary about the 44th Antigua Sailing Week. “On Genuine Risk, we said at the start of the week that we would improve as the regatta went on and I can safely say that we sailed our best race today. The Genuine Risk team has really learned a lot this week. The fantastic conditions have definitely helped our development but also the excellent race management, which has provided us with excellent courses.”
Antigua Sailing Week has witnessed some awesome multi-hull madness all week. The cool cats from Cape Town have been zooming around the coastal waters with white water hissing along the carbon fibre hulls. Puerto Rican, Eduardo Perez-Bengochea has been spotted having barbeques on board as his Gunboat 62, CucuBelle, was fizzing around the racecourse. The well-fed crew has pulled out an impressive string of races to win the class. Lloyd Thornburg’s Lamborghini Orange Gunboat 66, Phaedo, was second and the St. Barth’s resident sounds like he really enjoyed the week. “That was just fantastic sailing and really cool to be in a pack of Gunboats. CucuBelle sailed well but we have learned a few things this week and we are pretty sure we can get the boat going a lot faster, especially with a bigger kite, which was the big difference today.”
In Class 2, Peter Harrison’s Farr 115, Sojana had a tremendous week, taking a sixth win today to seal overall victory. “I have been coming to Antigua since 1995, it is like a second home to me”, explained Peter Harrison. But I can never remember a better week – the crew has performed extremely well, a lot of them are old friends and that is so important. We all love a good battle on the water but tonight we will all meet up and share each other’s company regardless of which team we are on.”
Class 3 produced an intense battle between two yachts, Phillip Lotz’s Arethusa won the class by a fair margin, but Dig Van Der Slikke’s Grand Soleil 43, D-Trip was a worthy adversary that scored just as many race wins as Arethusa. A rudder problem in Race 4 forced D-trip to retire and in the end that was a deciding factor, with virtually every other race going to the wire.
Class 4 was won in style by Tampa Florida based First 40.7, Elandra. Calvin Reed and his team sailed smartly and had very impressive boat speed all week. Carlo Falcone’s Caccia alla Volpe finished the regatta in style with its first win of the regatta. Falcone was no doubt helped by son, Shannon trimming the spinnaker for his father today. Shannon Falcone raced with Puma in the last Volvo Ocean Race and was part of the BMW Oracle team that won the last America’s Cup.
Jonty Layfield’s immaculate Swan 44, Sleeper, scored its fifth win at Antigua Sailing Week to take the Class 5 title. Gennaro Aversano’s First 47.7, Alcor V was second overall having held off a strong challenge from Andy Middleton’s Global Yacht Racing. Middleton has had a busy and highly successful season, including winning class in the ARC and placing well in the RORC Caribbean 600.
Division B headed back from Jolly Harbour and Peter Bainbridge’s Sky Hunter II enjoyed the beat in big seas far more than Geoffrey Pidduck’s diminutive Six Metre Biwi Magic to hang onto the lead in Class 6.
Stephen Carson’s Dehler 34, Hightide won today’s race in Class 7, and Stephen had a big smile on his face as he tied up in his home port of Falmouth Harbour. The top three boats in class were all Antiguan. The overall class win went to Rick Gormley’s First 38, Elethea. The owner has been sailing in Antigua for decades and has done many Antigua Sailing Weeks. Tanner Jones managed to retain second place overall from Bernie Evang-Wong’s Cal 40, Huey Too.
In Class 8a, Andre De Smet’s Jenneau 54, Derbisolar, came back with a fine win in today’s race to go back to the top of the class. David and Anne Chatterton’s Jeanneau 49, Resting Goose, was leading the class overnight but could only manage a third today. Perhaps the water-line length disadvantage was a telling factor.
Class 8b was decided yesterday but that did stop Vincent White’s O’Day 35, Seal, from making it eight wins on the bounce in Class 8. Perhaps today’s long beat back from Jolly Harbour would have been the toughest for Seal to win, at 35-feet it is easily the smallest boat in its class but on corrected time the O’Day 35 won by over half an hour.
Christoph Nielsen and his crew on KH+P Pinel returned to their winning ways in Bareboat 1 but they were pushed all the way by Tony Mack’s Sugar Cane which was less than a minute behind on corrected time. Nielsen and his German crew on Pinel are class victors of Bareboat 1. In Bareboat 2, Alfred Geisser’s L’Oiseau des Iles won the race back from Jolly Harbour to seal its class victory.
Alexander Pfeiffer’s KH+P Sea You Later has been battling all week in Bareboat 2 and it returned to its winning ways today. The race from Jolly Harbour took over three hours and KH+P Sea You Later won by just 23 seconds. However Bareboat 2 winner overall is Alfred Geisser’s L’Oiseau des Iles.
Tonight’s prize giving will be held in the confines of the Event Village in Nelson’s Dockyard. This year’s Antigua Sailing Week has been blessed with outstanding racing conditions and beautiful weather. The shoreside events and logistics have required the energy and hard work of an army of volunteers led by Alison Sly-Adams and Paddy Prendergast. The outstanding race management team led by Kathy Lammers has been getting rapturous applause from the competitors for its preparation and execution of racing.
After the prize giving ceremony, Laviscount Brass will rock out Antigua Sailing Week. But despite no further racing the fun doesn’t stop tonight! Saturday is Dockyard Day followed by the Cavalier Rum Street Party and the closing event is on Sunday with the Big Beach Bash at Dickenson Bay.