Mike Slade's record-breaking 100ft supermaxi wins YW Trophy on day two of Stanford Antigua Sailing Week 28/4/07

Classic Caribbean conditions with a good 15-20kts of breeze and temperatures up in the 90s made for spectacular sailing on the second day of Stanford Antigua Sailing Week.

Mike Slade’s 100ft canting keel Farr-designed supermaxi ICAP Leopard revelled in the conditions on the fabulous, mostly reaching 25.9-mile course down the western side of the island. Divison A for racing yachts completed the second leg of the Round the Island Race and the real battle was among the likes of ICAP Leopard and George David’s 90ft maxi, Rambler for the fastest elapsed time.

Rambler, having won the opening race of Racing Class 1 yesterday on corrected time, was in tip-top form today with owner 64-year-old George David on the helm but they were unable to hold on to ICAP Leopard in the slightly advantageous fresher conditions. At 22 tons, Rambler is virtually half the weight of ICAP Leopard at 47 tons so has to carry a hefty handicap penalty. In the lighter airs, like yesterday Rambler is more likely to benefit. But if the wind’s up, like today, ICAP will more often than not be at the top of the scoresheet.

Hugh Agnew – navigator – commented: “We had a lovely race but had a slight tangle at the start but in fact it got us out to the right-hand side on the beat out to the little spreader mark which is exactly where you want to be because you get little right-hand flicks of pressure, the more right you are, the more right you get. We then had a cracking run down with the A2. We got a nice jump on Rambler, one and a half minutes round the windward mark which is well over what we need on handicap, then we basically extended on Rambler all the way and beat her by over a minute on handicap.”

The ‘prize’ for the biggest collision today goes jointly to Peter Harrison’s 115ft Sojana and Frank Savage’s Swan 56 Lolita. While rounding the most northerly mark of the course the two boats – both on port tack – had a fairly brutal coming together which resulted in much damage to both parties. Fortunately no one was injured during the collision but both boats will need a lot of repair. As Sojana arrived back at Falmouth Marina this afternoon, we managed to catch up with skipper Marc Fitzgerald who explained what happened.

“We gybe set at the top mark with Lolita just in front of us. They set their kite just before us and bore off. We went up to clear them but they came up really hard and then wiped out. It shouldn’t really have been a problem but they just lost it and then lost it again. We hit parallel, they came in at a very shallow angle and because we were travelling much quicker they just scrapped all the way along the side of our boat and have totally wrecked the end of the boom on the mizzen mast.”

“We’ve got a lot of damage to our boat but they were lucky they didn’t lose some heads on their boat. The last we saw of them they were dropping their spinnaker and heading back. They must have had a lot of damage down their port side.”

As far as the team on Sojana can see there seems to be no structural damage to the hull but Fitzgerald admitted that such an accident is incredibly scary, adding “You know there is going to be a horrible impact and somebody might get killed. I was more worried for them [Lolita]. No one in our crew was any danger but for those on the rail of their boat could have been in trouble.”

A protest meeting held in Nelson’s Dockyard late this afternoon resulted in Sojana being disqualified from today’s race.

For results go to www.sailingweek.com