Jez Fanstone who's usually seen at the back end of Nick Lykiardopulo's Kerr 55 Aera is currently in Antigua keeping an eye on things aboard a Swan 62 in the Racer/Cruiser class

Jez Fanstone, who’s usually seen at the back end of Nick Lykiardopulo’s Kerr 55 Aera, is currently in Antigua keeping an eye on things aboard a Swan 62. Fanstone, who also helmed Team News Corp in the last Volvo Ocean Race and won this year’s Sydney Hobart race with his Aera team chatted to Yachting World about his latest job in Antigua aboard Gienah.

The boat, which is part of the Swan charter fleet that sails out of Guadeloupe, has been chartered for the week by Hugh Morrison and Brian May who, according to Fanstone, are using the regatta to improve their skills. “Although they’ve both been long-time crew aboard Aera, this is the first time they’ve taken on a race boat themselves, so it’s quite a good learning experience and a great opportunity for them to improve their helming skills and bring their families and friends on holiday too. I’m really just here as the sail master and to keep an eye on everything. We also have Chris Mason [mainsheet trimmer aboard America’s Cup Team GBR] helping with the trim, and Sarah Webb – Olympic gold medallist in the Yngling class – who’s experiencing big boat racing for the first time.”

Interestingly however, Fanstone was all lined up for the regatta aboard Aera but, like Maximus, the new Elliott 98, Aera was delayed while being shipped out and was unable to make the regatta on time. “I was basically called in at the last minute to help out aboard Gienah and it seems to be working out well. I actually really like this regatta because know what you’re going to get when you come here and it’s a great kick start to the season.

“We’ve all come out of an English Northern Hemisphere winter and being here in Antigua is a great way to get back into it. You could see that there where there were a lot of silly mistakes made out there on the first race yesterday that wouldn’t be made in the middle of the summer when people have sailed a lot more. It’s also a good chance to get away from the English weather for a bit.” Talking about the first day’s racing Fanstone added: ” We had excellent conditions averaging 15kts of breeze. Overall we weren’t flash but it’s early days.

“It’s a shame we’re not going to have the opportunity to compete in the round Antigua race for the big boat Yachting World Trophy [only top two big boat classes are eligible]. Last year would have been a good one for that with the likes of Mari-Cha, Pyewacket, Morning Glory and Sojana on the start line. For sure it’s a great idea it’s just a shame there aren’t too many big, fast boats here this year.”

Talking about his plans with Aera this season, Fanstone concluded: “When we get Area back to the UK we’ll do quite a low-key UK-based season and concentrate on Cowes Week. The last two years have been fairly hectic with the boat so it’s going to be good to take a bit of time out.”