Good winds for penultimate day of Antigua Sailing Week

Racing returned today after the layday high jinks yesterday in the 38th annual Antigua Sailing Week and competitors were greeted by 14 knots on the start line. Tom Hill’s R/P 75 from Puerto Rico, Titan XII, set a record of 5 hours, 4 minutes and 45 seconds in the inaugural Round Island Race for the Yachting World Trophy which was postponed from Tuesday. Twelve boats in Racing Big Boat II and Racing III undertook the 44-mile challenge.

From Titan’s perspective, the weather was good for the entire way around the island: 14-18 knots as they beat up the south coast, 15-20 knots along the east side of the island on a jib reach that opened to a spinnaker reach and then a spinnaker run in 16 knots along the north side. By the time Titan had turned the corner at ‘Sandy’ on the north west side of the island, Titan hadn’t seen the wind fade at all. A five-minute wind hiccup to 10 knots after ‘Sandy’ quickly built back up to 14-18 knots for the beat around the bottom of the island back to the finish.

“It wasn’t the windiest day ever but it was a good trade wind day and there weren’t any holes,” said Titan’s tactician Peter Isler on how long he thought the record would hold. “The key is keeping the marks in the same place.”

“That [racing against the clock] has been the constant challenge for us throughout the Caribbean series,” continued Isler, “except for St Maarten where we had Carrera to play with. The clock has always been foremost in our minds especially in Tortola where we were always within a minute on corrected time. We knew we had to keep the pedal down and that’s the way we have been sailing all week.

“The boys sail hard. They play hard just like everybody here but when it comes to racing they push it hard. Maybe if there had been a sistership out there, a phantom boat, we would have sailed a little harder but not much. We didn’t leave much on the table.”

Michael Finn’s J/160 Kativa from the USA obviously reveled in the round island conditions and got her first gun today with Hissar second and Storm third in Racing III.

The rest of Division A sailed a South Coast Race looping between buoys off Falmouth Harbour and Curtain Bluff.

Racing IV, the Caribbean class, saw some upset for the Antiguan boats. Jamie Dobbs’ Lost Horizon II was disqualified for missing a mark today which has sent them to fourth in class. After a dismasting on Tuesday, Geoffrey Pidduck’s Mermaid II did not return to the start line today, and neither did Caccia Alla Volpe after a disqualification on Tuesday. Trinidadian Henderson 35 Enzyme won today and leads the class by one point.

Mikhail Mouratov’s Murka turned the table on First 47.7 Disco Inferno II and now leads Racer/Cruiser I by three points.

Division B beat to ‘Standfast’ out to sea and headed back inshore on a spinnaker reach to ‘Willoughby’, followed by another beat to ‘Halfmoon’ and a long downwind leg back to the finish off Falmouth Harbour. By Willoughby, the wind and seas had started to die a little and as the afternoon wore on the wind was down to 9 knots with puffs taking it to 11 knots.

The Italians onboard the 75-foot Swan Dasian, powered away from a good start and held off the YDL 96 Symmetry until the last windward mark but Dasian was faster downwind and beat the higher-rated Symmetry over the water to earn another first place.

In the bareboat classes, Nanuk and Durley Dene of Horizon Yacht Charters, together with Justice, topped Bareboats II, VI and IV respectively for the fourth time today. The battle is on for the fleet prize with one race to go. Justice leads Seabiscuit by one point, with Durley Dene five points behind her. Last year’s clean sweep winners in class, fleet and the Bareboat Championship Race (BCR), Phil Otis and crew, are third in class and tenth in fleet; they’ll have to keep their third place in class tomorrow to qualify for the BCR.

Jan Soderberg is tied for first place in Bareboat III with fellow Swede Pereric Berggren with nine points each. Both are sailing Dufour 50s.

Tomorrow conclude the 38th annual Antigua Sailing Week with the entire fleet racing off the south coast.

Division A, class standings after three races

Racing Big Boat II – Titan XII, R/P 75, Tom Hill, USA, 3

Racing III – Hissar, Swan 56, Edgar Cato, USA, 6

Racing IV – Enzyme, Henderson 35, Paul Solomon, USA, 7

Racer/Cruiser I – Murka, Swan 48, Mikhail Mouratov, GB/Russia, 4

Racer/Cruiser II – Tarka, First 40.7, Nicholas Jones, Great Britain, 3

Division B, class standings after four races

Performance Cruiser I – Dasian, Swan 75, Danilo Salsi, Italy, 8

Performance Cruiser II – Wayward, Beneteau 43, Jerome McQuilkin, Trinidad, 11

Performance Cruiser III – Finn, Finngulf 391, Diederik deMesel, Belgium, 8

Cruising I – Mustang Sally, Farr 46, Warren Batt, Australia, 5

Cruising II – Arawa, Columbia 50, Doug DeCluitt, USA, 6

Bareboat II – Nanuk of the North, Beneteau 50, Patrick Festing-Smith, Canada, 4

Bareboat III – Fifty Feet Ahead, Dufour 50, Pereric Berggren, Sweden, 9

Bareboat III – Dill, Dufour 50, Jan Soderberg, Sweden,

Bareboat IV – Justice, Beneteau 47, Justin Barton, USA, 4

Bareboat V – Seabiscuit, Beneteau 44, Pat Nolan, BVI, 6

Bareboat VI – Durley Dene, Bavaria 36, Alsop Thompson, British Virgin Islands, 4