Good start to first day of 38th Sailing Week

As the fleet in the 38th annual Antigua Sailing Week made its way to Dickenson Bay today, the bad weather that sliced through the fleet as they prepared for the regatta yesterday, held off. A dark sky welcomed participants but 14 knots of wind, with some 18-20 knot gusts, drove the fleet north and sunshine was eventually the staple for most of the day.

The fleet started off English Harbour and after a short beat east, headed west and then north with those that could, carrying spinnakers for much of the way. Division B boats were given a little dog leg into Curtain Bluff and Division A was sent further out to sea. At the end of the day no protests were heard.

Tom Hill’s R/P 75 Titan XII romped home first taking the day on elapsed and corrected time in Big Boat II. She beat Mari-Cha’s time last year by 12 minutes with an elapsed time of 2 hours and 21 minutes. Showing good form today, Bill Alcott’s Andrews 68 Equation was second. Les Crouch’s R/P 44 Storm from Trinidad topped Racing III. Antigua’s Jamie Dobbs and his Lost Horizon crew on their Olson 30 – the smallest boat in their class – surfed their way to a win in Racing IV.

Danilo Salsi’s Dasian, the Swan 75 on her first regatta outing and loaded with Italian talent, got elapsed and corrected in Performance Cruiser I. Dasian’s crew includes America’s Cup veteran Lorenzo Bortolotti as tactician, round the world sailor and Star Olympian, Pietro D’Alt, as mainsail trimmer, and Gigio Russo of North Sails Italy as headsail trimmer. Second-placer Genesis, a Next 57, is now full of Maximus crew after her delivery delay and includes co-owners Charles St Clair Brown and Bill Buckley.

There was upset in the Bareboat class where last year’s all-conquering Phil Otis placed fourth in class sailing BVI Yacht Charters/HIHO. His class, Bareboat V, was won by an all-girl crew on Seabiscuit.

As the fleet anchored in Dickenson Bay the Virgin Atlantic Beach Bash kicked off with a water ski demonstration by the Stars of Florida water ski team accompanied by the pumped up and pumped out James Bond theme on the beach side sound system. Virgin Atlantic’s Sir Richard Branson made a guest appearance in the Bath Tub Derby but didn’t rank in the final three – throwing his crew overboard and jumping ship himself may have had something to do with that. After the Derby prize giving, which saw some leg wrestling for additional tickets on Virgin Atlantic, Abba One closed the proceeding for the afternoon by opening their set with Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!

Tomorrow, division A yachts will race Olympic courses off Dickenson Bay and Division B will race to Jolly Harbour.

Class winners

Racing Big Boat II – Titan XII, Reichel/Pugh 75, Tom Hill, Puerto Rico

Racing III – Storm, Reichel/Pugh 44, Les Crouch, Trinidad

Racing IV – Lost Horizon II, Olson 30, Jamie Dobbs, Antigua

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

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

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

Performance Cruiser II – Wayward, Beneteau 43, Jerome Mcquilkin, Trinidad

Performance Cruiser III – Finn, Finngulf 391, Diederik de Mesel, Belgium

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

Cruising II – Arc Angel, Swan 36, Elizabeth Jordan, Antigua

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

Bareboat III – Heliodore,Dufour 50, Christophe Nielsen, Germany

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

Bareboat V – Seabiscuit, Sun Fast 37, Pat Nolan, British Virgin Islands

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