The highlights from Day 1 of racing at Antigua Sailing Week

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Sunday 29 April

Big breeze and lumpy
seas were the order of the day for the first race of Antigua Sailing Week 2012 with more exciting
action and drama to get the regatta off to a blistering start.


Peter Harrison’s Farr 115, Sojana corrected out to win CSA 1A today but
there was a dramatic rescue in CSA 1B. Stefan Lehnert was understandably
concerned when his son, Phillip went over board from Tripp 56, Passion
4C during a broach when approaching the Half Moon mark. The two Oyster
82s, Starry Night and Zig Zag were the closest to the scene and Richard
Matthews, steering Zig Zag was the first to spot the man in the water
and perfected a recovery. Philip Lehnert was unharmed in the incident,
however the quick action of Zig Zag in pulling him from the water and
the willingness of other competitors to assist was commendable. Richard
Matthews’ Zig Zag got their just rewards for their valour by winning
today’s race after a decision by the Race Committee regarding redress.


CSA 2 produced probably the best skirmish of the day, Chris Brand’s Swan
53, Merel Four took line honours but Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48, Scarlet
Oyster corrected out to win the first battle of the series. However,
the top six yachts were all very much in contention during today’s
three-hour race. Ulrich Rohde’s Swan 53, Dragon Fly Plus took the last
podium position. However, Christian Reynolds’ Swan 51 Northern Child,
Andy Middleton’s Global Yacht Racing and Gijs van Liebergen’s Swan 65,
King’s Legend were all very much in the running.


In CSA 3, today’s race was won by Richard Wesslund’s J/120, El Ocaso by
just six seconds on corrected time. Wesslund’s Florida based crew have
been in fine form all season but the team may well have a battle royal
on their hands this week. Mario Martinez skipper of Smile and Wave has
brought a Brazilian team to race at Antigua Sailing Week. “We all come
from Sao Paulo and we had heard about how great Antigua Sailing Week is,
so we decided to come. The sailing today was just fantastic! Back home
we rarely get to race in more than 12 knots of wind so we do not have
much experience in big conditions, so we feel a bit tired right now but
one of the other reasons we have come to Antigua is that we have heard
there is a great party atmosphere, so we are looking forward to


Nick Burns’ First 40, Lancelot II made a great recovery after turning
back to restart. Lancelot II was called OCS and it was at a big cost but
the team from the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club dug deep and managed to
climb back through the fleet to finish in third place.


In CSA 4, Calvin Reed’s First 40.7 Elandra is defending their class win
from last year and took the first race of the series. Sir Hugh Bailey’s
First 456 Hugo B was just a minute ahead of archrival, Carlo Falcone
steering Caccia alla Volpe.


In CSA 5, Geoffrey Pidduck’s Six Metre, Biwi Magic put in a polished
performance today, winning the opening race of the regatta by a
substantial margin. Tanner Jones’ J/30 Blue Peter corrected out to take
second place with Rick Gormley’s First 38, Elethea taking third. Biwi
Magic’s owner-driver, Geoffrey Pidduck was born in Dominica 74 years ago
but grew up in Antigua and is remarkably fit and agile for his age.
Geoffrey spoke dockside outside the Antigua Yacht Club shortly after


“I was a late starter to sailing, so I have only been coming to Antigua
Sailing Week for about 40 years,” joked Geoffrey, dockside at Antigua
Yacht Club. “Today was great fun, that’s what racing in Antigua is all
about – good breeze and warm water. We got away well and seemed to leave
the rest behind, which was very satisfying. I have invested in some new
sails and I was delighted with our boat speed today. However, it was
important to make the fewest mistakes today but we did have a bit too
much sail up on the last beat and took in a bit of water but all in all a
great day. Two of the crew have come all the way from Canada and I want
to make sure they have a challenging week, so we can all better


In the Bareboat division, there are 35 teams racing at Antigua Sailing
Week. Gold Sponsors Sunsail and other charter companies provide a
user-friendly way of entering the regatta and with virtually identical
boats in each division, racing is incredibly competitive. Stewart Reed’s
Dilligaf placed third in Bareboat 2 today. Stewart is racing with a
group of friends from the UK to celebrate his 50th birthday. It has been
25 years since Reed has come to Antigua Sailing Week and you can see an
interview with Stewart and on board action in the Day One Video wrap up
video on line.


The last paragraph of today’s report must mention the highly inventive
and extremely successful race course for the multihull class. Peter
Aschenbrenner’s 63′ trimaran Paradox is lightening quick, so much so
that the multihull is rated at twice the speed of the rest of the
competition. So Paul Miller, Race Officer for the multihull division for
the day, elected to send Paradox twice around the 14.5 mile course. The
decision paid off as the Paradox crew had a real race on their hands
and crossed the finish line less than a minute in front of Robbie
Ferron’s Lagoon 410 Katzenellenbogen.


Tonight the imobile Dockyard Festival kicks off with a special
appearance from the West Indian cricket legend Sir Vivian Richards.
Nelson’s Dockyard will be buzzing with live music from the Harmonites
Steel Orchestra and great local bands including Hygh Tempa, 1761°,
Claudette Peters & the Taxik Band and if that isn’t enough, Mindful
Movement will be bringing Zumba to Sailing Week!

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