Maximus, the new 100ft supermaxi from New Zealand officially entered Antigua Sailing Week 2005 on February 28 and will be shipped from New Zealand to Antigua on 18 March.

Maximus, the new 100ft supermaxi from New Zealand officially entered Antigua Sailing Week 2005 on February 28 and will be shipped from New Zealand to Antigua on 18 March. With Maximus’ attendance, the first Round Island Race race for the Yachting World Trophy looks set to be a fast one.

“Maximus is being shipped to Antigua and is expected to arrive in the harbour on the 22nd of April so the schedule is very tight,” said Charles St Clair Brown one of the founders of EBS Yachting, the company behind the yacht’s development. “As long as we have good cooperation and assistance from the authorities and can get the rig stepped in time we should be racing by the 24th. “Maximus is performing to the owners’ expectations. We have an excellent New Zealand crew and are looking forward to the event.”

Although line honours may be certain for Maximus throughout Sailing Week, Titan XII, the Reichel Pugh 75 hailing from Puerto Rico and now in her second season of racing will be the one to watch. Last year she stole races from the maxZ86s Pyewacket and Morning Glory and won the Caribbean Big Boat Series. She recently smashed the Montego Bay Race record and just won her class in St Maarten’s Heineken Regatta. Tom Hill and crew, including Peter Isler as tactician for this Caribbean season, will the have the Lord Nelson’s Trophy for best overall performance firmly in their sights this year.

With Antigua Sailing Week just under two months away (24-30 April), Antigua Sailing Week’s entry list is starting to fill up. Racing Big Boat II will see a new name on the Antigua racing roster. Swan 86 Dreamland plans to arrive in Antigua on 20 March after a four and a half year circumnavigation. She was last seen racing in the 2002 Sydney to Hobart Race.

“I have been coming to the Caribbean and Antigua for the last 12 years and have many friends there and it is like my second home,” said skipper Jeff Hanlon.

“The owner Brook Lenfest, besides cruising, loves racing and we did the Sydney to Hobart race in 2002 while down in NZ for the America’s Cup. Unfortunately it was a soft race that year – exactly what we didn’t want – but we still came a creditable fifth by eight minutes from first – seventy tonnes parks up real fast in no breeze!

“That style of race – long distance – is more to the liking of Dreamland, she’s a big boat to throw around the race course on short windward/leewards requiring loads of crew, but the owner is keen to give it a go and have some fun.”

Dreamland is currently in Brazil leaving early March for Antigua. After Sailing Week, Dreamland heads up to Newport for a haul-out and refit before returning to the Caribbean for 2006.

Overall winner of this year’s Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race, Ker 55 AERA, returns this year to improve on her second place last year and will be up against 2003 overall winner Lolita in a different guise. Swan 56 Lolita returns as Hissar chartered by Farr 40 and 12 Meter racer Edgar Cato. Les Crouch’s Storm, the Trinidadian-built Pugh 44, joins this class.

Racing IV, the traditional “Caribbean class”, sees old rivalries in new boats. Enzyme, the old Crash Test Dummies, a Henderson 35, will be sailed by the old Legacy crew with sights firmly set on the crown in Dougie Myers’ honour. Dougie, Legacy’s owner/skipper who passed away last year was a perennial favourite at the event. Antigua boats Caccia Alla Volpe and Lost Horizon II will be fighting hard – in the nicest possible way – to make sure that they don’t.

In the Bareboat class, last year’s Phil Otis will be returning with a brand new Beneteau 423 launched in St Maarten for the Heineken Regatta and fully intends to repeat last year’s performance. Sailing DSD Carnival, a Beneteau 46, Otis got a record-breaking clean sweep. Winning six out of six races, Otis and crew took their class (Bareboat III), overall bareboat and the Bareboat Championship Race. Nanuk of the North, winner of Bareboat I was the first boat to sign up for the 2005 event and Durley Dene, the Bavaria 36 that won Bareboat VI, is also returning. Expect a tough fight from this group of boats with BVI ties.