Slick tactics do the trick in the sparkling but baking hot conditions at day two of racing in Antigua.
The racing yachts in Division A sailed two round-the-buoys races on courses set along the south coast of the island, while the cruising classes and charter yachts had a relaxed race from Dickenson Bay to Jolly Harbour on the north-west coast of the island to enjoy some more beach based activities.
As reported yesterday (see here), Racing Class 3 is the one to watch this week, and at the top of it are two J/122’s doing battle – so YW got onboard the local one, Lost Horizon, belonging to James Dobbs and Nic Pears today, receiving some first hand schooling on how to triumph. Slip-ups are penalized in this class thanks to tight competition: the Reichel Pugh 44 Storm continues to battle it out for line-honours with Oystercatcher XXV1, while the King 40 White Heat from the US has been sailing consistently well – and Calvin Reed’s Beneteau First 40.7 Elandra, and Barry Sampson’s Swan 42 Long Echo are in the fray too. But after three races it’s still the J’s that head the class, and lying second and third (behind ran) overall in the Racing Division.
Again the winds were slightly lighter than predicted for the first race of the day – only around 10 knots for the long windward/leeward based courses, but it did fill in to the mid teens by late morning. And it was a stiflingly hot day on the water. (One doesn’t wish to whinge when one’s out here racing in the Caribbean, but during the hour-long downwind leg mid morning I thought my fair skin would shrivel up like crackling).
We had a poor(ish) race this morning by the Lost Horizon’s high standards – to put you in the picture, they have won or come second in pretty much every regatta on the Caribbean circuit for the last couple of years, and that’s despite her owners living aboard the yacht – and a couple of tangled kite gybes and missed shifts dropped us down to fourth behind White Heat, our arch-rivals Catapult, and Storm.
But it was the second race that proved this boat’s class. At the end of the long downwind leg we were again down the leaderboard after being caught on starboard on the top mark. To the south west of the island lies a reef a few hundred metres offshore (off Curtain Bluff), and while all the other boats sensibly stood off this for the upwind leg, we ducked inside: with local sailor and trimmer onboard ‘Anders’ calling the tacks on depth, we got the shifts off the land and in flat water, bought ourselves a couple of minutes over the fleet, sneaking out at the reaching mark in first (corrected time) place. Keeping it tidy for the rest of the race, again milking the shifts in the shallows up to English Harbour, we maintained our lead over our rival J for the downwind finish, winning our class by a full two minutes on corrected time!
Yes, the J/122’s seem to rate well on the Caribbean CSA system, but watching how Dobbs can keep the boat going so consistently, (over seven hours of racing) – plus the blend of experience offered by having locals like Anders, Hans and Cathy Lammers and Alfred Koolen onboard, who know the waters so well – is a winning combo.
Here’s the reports of what happened in the other classes today:
Tom and Dotty Hill’s custom Reichel/Pugh 75 Titan 15 and Niklas Zennstrom’s 72ft Judel Vrolijk-designed Ran continued their match-racing style battle in Racing 1 fleet as they headed off from the line neck-and-neck in the first race of the day in a 8-10kt easterly breeze. These two engaged themselves in such a close battle they ended up on the wrong side of the beat, which gave Austin Fragomen’s well-sailed JV52 Interlodge an opportunity to benefit, securing an overall class win. Ran was second and Titan had to settle for third.
In the second race of the day, wind increased to 15-16kts, and Ran was able to keep Interlodge under control, while being given one minute 16 seconds an hour by Titan was enough to secure a corrected time win.
Lindsey Duda and team on Sin Duda the American Santa Cruz 52 have made their intentions clear by taking their third win of the regatta in Racing 2. They had a good start just behind Andrea Casale’s Swan 90 DKS Pioneer Investments in race one today and sailed a tactically good beat putting them in a good position well ahead of the gaggle of Farrs, which give her time. Increasing her lead further she not surprisingly went on to win, with DKS Pioneer Investments second, and Stefan Lenert’s Bill Trip/Turner 56 Passion4C in third.
In this fleet, round the world yachtsman Brian Thompson from the UK has teamed up with Safe Passage Sailing (SPS) as a key coaching member aboard one of Ondeck’s four Farr 65s. This ‘fleet within a fleet’ is enjoying some extremely close racing with, often, just seconds separating them as they cross the finish line. Today’s racing was no exception. Thompson and team aboard Spirit of Minerva enjoyed a boat-for-boat, race-long battle in Race 2 and 3 with Spirit of Isis, and finished just 40 second ahead on corrected time in Race 2, and just over three minutes in Race 3.
In Division B, racing was equally close within the fleets with just seven minutes separating the top six boats in Performance Cruising 1. Tyke, Marco Serfini’s FY61 stole the show today beating Han Schmitt’s Swan 48 by just over two minutes. Peter Morris and his team aboard the Frers 43 Jaguar who won yesterday’s opening race, had to settle for sixth. Hugh Bailey sailing his First 456 Hugo B from Antigua won Performance Cruising 2 today, with another local hero – Carlo Falcone – aboard his one-off Caccia Alla Volope finishing second.
The British Jeanneau 49 Sunbeat IV sailed by Steve Kuhl and team took their second win in succession in Cruising 1, beating Dave Perkins’ Jeanneau 54 Windward Spirit for the second day in a row. Burt Keenan and team sailing the Frers custom 48 Acadia also sailed an exceptional race again today clocking up their second win of the regatta in Cruising 2.
The Bavaria 42 Match Moonlight, one of KH+P Yachtcharter’s 12 boats from Stuttgart, Germany won Bareboat 1 today, while Bareboat 2 saw four KH+P charterboats within the top five of Bareboat 2 including yesterday’s winner the Dufour 44 Sea you Later taking another win. Michel Ruyter in his Sunsail-chartered Beneteau Oceanis 39 Dynaf beat yesterday’s winner KH+P Sun King in Bareboat 3.
Robbie Ferron who runs the Heineken Regatta in St Maarten is at Antigua Sailing Week racing his Lagoon 410 – Katzenellenbogen – and has so far put two wins in the bag in Cruising Multihull fleet, beating Joe Walsh on his Lagoon 470 Escapade by two points.
The schedule for Antigua Sailing Week continues tomorrow with Division A yachts racing two races in the south-east corner of the island off Willoughby Bay. Division B will race from Jolly Harbour round the coast back to Falmouth in time for the English Harbour Rum Street Party where competitors and visitors to the island can enjoy traditional Antiguan hospitality with performances from some of the best bands on the island and a taste of Antigua Carnival.