Antigua Sailing Week burst back into action after Presidente Lay Day with some terrific rock and roll action off the South Coast of Antigua on the Peters & May Race Day 4. The trade winds were back with 16 knots from the south-east, piping up to full-on foam up in 20 knot gusts. Brilliant blue skies with warm Caribbean water and a two metre swell; these are the conditions that any sailor wants to experience and over a 1,000 salt encrusted yachters were grinning from ear-to-ear after a wicked day of racing.
With 28 yachts 50ft or over at Antigua Sailing Week, there were some seriously hair-raising starts as the goliaths powered to windward off Rendezvous Beach. Tony Langley’s TP52, Gladiator was fully launched, covering the 16 mile windward leeward course in just over an hour. Belting along at top speed upwind, pounding through the waves before pulling the trigger downwind, hitting the turbo charger to accelerate past 20 knots on the surf. Try as they might, Piet Vroon’s Dutch Ker 51, Tonnerre 4 could not hold onto the powerful British TP52’s coat tails, but seized the opportunity in the first race of the day when Gladiator shredded a spinnaker. Tonnerre 4 passed Gladiator only to see their own kite blown to bits. Gladiator took both races to win CSA 3, even with a race to spare tomorrow. Tonnerre 4 is assured of second place and the only battle remaining in the class is for the last podium spot. Bernie Evan Wong’s Antigua TP52 Team Taz-Conviction has a point advantage over Adrian Lee’s Cookson 50, Lee Overlay Partners.
CSA 6 has also been decided. Ross Applebey’s Royal Southern Yacht Club team racing Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster is untouchable with a race to spare. Scarlet Oyster won both of today’s races. Kay-Johannes Wrede’s German Swan 44, Best Buddies is assured of second place and Carlo Falcone’s Caccia alla Volpe will take third, regardless of the result of tomorrow’s last race.
Sir Hugh Bailey’s CS40, Gypsy-UGo, along with Gladiator remain the only two teams to post straight bullets for the series. Chris Body’s J/122, El Ocaso lost their winning streak, placing fifth and third in today’s races. Hot on their heels is Richard Matthews’ Team Oystercatcher racing Grand Soleil 43 Quokka which won both of today’s races. El Ocaso needs a top four finish tomorrow to be sure of winning CSA 5.
The action in CSA 4 is red hot, with just four points separating the top four teams. Jim Hightower’s Texan King 40, Hot Ticket found it tough going against the lighter displacement yachts in the class today, resulting in two fourth places. However Hot Ticket is still leading the class. Ian Hope-Ross’ St. Maarten Melges 32, Kick ’em Jenny II caught up a massive four points on Hot Ticket today, by placing first and third and is now just a point off the lead. Mark Chapman’s Trinnie Ker 37, Dingo also made ground on the leader, finishing the day third in class just two points off the lead. In fourth place for the class is Jonty Layfield’s Antiguan J11s, Sleeper which was top boat of the class today with a win and a second. Sleeper is just four points off the lead.
Racing in the Bareboat classes was incredibly close today. In Bareboat 1, Hans-Robert Nitsche’s KH+P Bavastro leads the class. Frits Janssen’s Team Kadans from the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble, UK made the podium today, taking third in Race 7 and Richard Gie’s Cape Stormers from the Royal Cape Yacht Club, Cape Town, South Africa had their best day yet, scoring two second places. Francois Kunz’ s Swiss team racing Lascaris is in second place, just a point ahead of Craig Sutherland’s Xeres, also from the Royal Cape Yacht Club.
Bareboat 2 and Bareboat 3 are going to the wire. Herbert Muenzel’s German team racing KH+P Cayenne leads Bareboat 2 by a single point from Thomas Mueller’s Swiss team racing Sea You Later. In Bareboat 3, Eric Stallings Booty Fish Racing Team from Atlanta Georgia is just a point ahead of Gillioz Vincent’s Swiss team racing Mau Bisa 1. In Bareboat 4, Mario Bakker’s Dutch team, Hatse Flatse scored its sixth straight bullet to win the class with a race to spare.
Today’s racing sponsor, Peters & May was very popular at the daily prize giving, providing free English Harbour Rum punch for all. This seemed to fuel some early dancing as DJ Undercover spun the tunes and the Presidente Beer Garden lit up with sailors taking to the stage for a dance-off. Seafood Thursday was also in full swing at Nelson’s Dockyard with dining under the stars. Racing at the 49th edition of Antigua Sailing Week will come to a conclusion tomorrow, Friday 29th April.
Full results, videos and pictures at: www.sailingweek.com
Report: Louay Habib
Images: Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com