Mike Kopman hitches a ride on the Caribbean's hottest race boat for the first day of Angostura Tobago Sail Week. Also see results here.
Tobago cooks as Storm blows in
The first day of Angostura Tobago Sail Week was characterised by tight racing in perfect conditions. The racing class undertook two short races while the rest of the fleet took off on a longer race along the coast.
I hitched a ride aboard the favourite, Les Crouch’s Reichel Pugh 44 Storm. With some top level sailing talent aboard, including North Sails San Diego manager John Gladstone calling tactics, we were set for a good race. We led the fleet unchallenged for both races, but with the second highest rating in the fleet we held our breath to see how we performed on corrected time. Just behind us competition was at it’s fiercest among the three Henderson 30 sportboats Enzyme, Pressure and Slippery When Wet, and the three Beneteau First Class 10’s Blazin’, Bacchanal Woman and last year’s winner and local Guardian Star. The Firsts usually enjoy even tighter racing with a fleet of at least six boats coming to Tobago most years. Ultimately Storm needn’t have worried however: a first and a second saw us snatch first overall by one point from Guardian Star.
The end of the racing class’s second race conveniently coincided with the end of the coastal race making for some exciting finishes as the two fleets converged on the same finish line. Fenix, Richard Balding’s Swan 60, predictably led the cruiser/racers around their longer course. Though the fastest boat by far (and so she should be, with the highest handicap) she wasn’t called to the podium at the end of the first day’s racing. Top honours went to local Rawle Barrow and his crew aboard the modified Beneteau 38 Petit Careme after a ding dong battle with fellow Trini Jerome McQuilkin aboard his Beneteau 43 Wayward. Wayward’s colourful crew included several airline pilots, a golf course superintendent and YW marketing exec Sarah Shepherd.
The Charter class is made up predominantly of UK teams including Anthony Mack’s Team McFly (swapping their Swan 45 for a Gibsea 43) and Antonia Gripper’s omnipresent GirlsForSail on a Bavaria 49. But the real tussle was between two Jeanneau 50 footers, both also UK entries, Robin Toozs-Hobson’s Annie T and David Downie’s Saga Boy, with Annie T eventually taking it by a nose.
Results at the end of Day 1
Racing 1. Storm 2. Guardian Star 3. Slippery When Wet
Cruiser/Racer 1. Petit Careme 2. Wayward 3. Titan M
Cruiser 1. Business Machine 2. Mayumi 3. Nirvana
Charter 1. Annie T 2. Saga Boy 3. Team McFly
Comfort Cruiser 1. A La Mer 2. Scot Free 3. Udjat