YW were onboard Titan 15 to witness some intense maxi-style match racing in Tuesday’s brisker conditions

The Antiguan coastline witnessed some intense ‘match racing’ in Racing Class 1 today as Ran and Titan 15 went head to head in a display of brute force and speed, involving two of the closest race finishes likely to be seen. YW were onboard the striking red hull of the ‘titanic’ Reichel Pugh 75, and with America’s Cup legend Peter Isler calling the shots, it wasn’t long before we were involved in some shrewd tactics (even stealth-tacks) to try and get the better of Zennstrom’s ever-consistent 72foot Ran. The first race was a windward-leeward sprint, and after 6nm it would have needed a slow-mo camera to distinguish the split-second that divided these maxi beasts at the finish line. With Tom and Dotty Hill’s Titan 15 conceding just over a minute to Ran each hour on handicap though, the bullet went to Ran.
If that wasn’t enough to send the pulses racing, the second race, an 18nm triangular course set off Willoughby Bay, again went to the wire for line-honours. Unfortunately, pushing to get the better of Ran at the top mark we tacked too late on port, picking up a costly penalty turn. This, coupled with a foul-up on the kite drop (it’s nice to know things can still go wrong even at this level) meant Titan 15 had conceded valuable boatlengths. At this stage Tom Hill described it as the worst they’d done all season, but his core crew who have sailed together for the last six years, weren’t about to give up. Having nailed the last beat at a consistent 10.5knots and chewed back some of the lead – under the expert downwind driving of North Sails’ Jim Allsopp, we surfed the last leg at up to 18knots under jib-top and A-sail, blanketed Ran’s kite, and crossed the committee boat just two seconds behind.

Intense, adrenaline-fuelled stuff and hats off to Ran who now with four wins and a second are sitting pretty at the top of the Racing fleet.

There will be a generic sigh of relief that tomorrow is layday, as the days have been long and hot so far, with two races both yesterday and today. Here’s what happened in the rest of the fleet today:

It seems like nothing is going to stop Lindsey Duda and team on Sin Duda – the American Santa Cruz 52 – in their quest to win Racing 2. They bagged yet another two wins today beating Andrea Casale’s Swan 90 DSK Pioneer Investments in both races. With five wins in a row, and first place overall more or less guaranteed, the race is on now on for second place overall.

The extremely well-sailed RP44 Peake Yacht Services Storm showed her true colours today making short work of the windward/leeward course this morning beating Elandra, Calvin Reed’s Beneteau First 40.7, by over a minute on corrected time. Another win for Peake Yacht Services Storm in the afternoon’s race shifts her to top of their clas after Catapult were protested for a startline incident and dropped to ninth in the first race today.

While the Division A racing yachts had two-races off Falmouth, crews in the cruising and charter boats in Division B – many nursing sore heads from last night’s big party at Jolly Harbour – enjoyed a 29nm coastal race from Jolly Harbour back to Falmouth where they will remain for the remainder of the week.

Marco Serafini and his team aboard the FY61 Tyke scored their second win of the regatta today putting them in a strong position atop Performance Cruising 1. Erik Lindgren from Sweden sailing a Baltic 500 Spirit scored second in the Jolly Harbour Race today, which now confirms his position in second place on the scoreboard. However, British sailor Christian Reynolds in the chartered Swan 51 – Northern Child – is on equal points, which mean when racing resumes on Thursday, an interesting battle will no doubt develop.

The Antiguans are dominating the top end of Performance Cruising 2 with five boats in the top six. Hugh Bailey’s Hugo B scored his second win of the regatta today, which puts him two points ahead of the Six Metre Biwi Magic – winner of the first day’s race. The only non-Antiguan boat in the top six is Robert Jones’ Oyster Lightwave Amandlakulu who scored a respectable third place today which leaves him and his team in fourth overall.

Steve Kuhl and team on the British Jeanneau 49 Sunbeat IV notched up another win today, making it three in a row in Cruising 1. In second place, also for the third day in a row are Dave Perkins and team on the Jeanneau 54 Windward Spirit. Another British sailor keen to fly the flag is Burt Keenan sailing the Frers custom 48 Acadia who posted his third win of the series and confirmed his position at the top of Cruising 2 with just three races to go.

Jakob Oetiker and his all-Swiss team aboard Moorings-chartered Beneteau Cyclades 50 – Monumental Dream – sailed a good tactical race today in Bareboat 1 to take their first win of the regatta. With a fairly poor scoreline going into today’s race including a sixth and fifth place respectively, the team were pleased with their performance today. Marcus Webber – tactician – chatting as he stepped ashore, said: “It was a fabulous race in 15-16kts of breeze and fairly tough. We had a good start and chose a course fairly well inshore, which seemed to be a good option.” Elsewhere in the fleet Grazzi – the Beneteau Oceanis, who has added another second to her consistent scoreline, has knocked Vivaldi -Michael White’s Harmony 52 – off the perch at the top of the fleet.

The seven-strong team on KH+P Girl in Bareboat 2 had an exceptional day’s racing by leading for the majority of the race and winning their class on corrected time. A downwind start from Jolly Harbour in good winds gave team KH + P Girl the chance to demonstrate her speed off the line although tactician Sasha Jaeger was a little disappointed that they were pipped at the post by Herbert Muenzel’s KH+P Sea you later, in the closing stages. Commenting, Jaeger said: “We led the race from the start but 100 metres from the line we were overtaken and missed line honours by 27 seconds. However, we’re having a great time sailing with people we’ve never sailed with before and we’ve proved we can really sail the boat fast.”

There was more success for KH+P charter boats in Bareboat 3 today with KH+P Sun King, a Dufour 385 sailed by Beate Mohn and team taking their second win of the regatta.

Roman Paszke and the Polish team on the sole Racing Multihull R-Six Team suffered a shredded mainsail in today’s Division A, first race. Just when the wind picked up sufficiently for the giant, 90ft carbon-fibre catamaran to fly a hull, the lower half of the main came tumbling down on the crew, leaving them no option other than to retire. Paske said he was keen to get the sail sorted in time for Thursday’s penultimate race.

There was no surprise in the Cruising Multihull class to see Robbie Ferron and team on the Lagoon 410 catamaran Katzenellenbogen taking yet another win from Joe Walsh’s Lagoon 470 – Suave.

Tomorrow is Antigua Sailing Week lay day, which means there’ll be plenty of festivities taking place not only tomorrow at Antigua Sailing Club, but also tonight at the English Harbour Rum Street Party in Nelson’s Dockyard. Competitors and visitors are lining up to enjoy traditional Antiguan hospitality with performances from some of the best bands on the island and a taste of Antigua Carnival. Serious racers competing in the Antigua Ocean Series will compete in the final race of the series – Round Redonda Race – tomorrow, a 40nm sprint to the neighbouring, uninhabited island and back.