The penultimate day of racing at the 50th edition of Antigua Sailing Week was held in near perfect conditions off the south coast of Antigua. The Caribbean surf and sea state had moderated in comparison to the start of the regatta, but the strength of the competition was undiminished. Apart from the Club Class, all classes have now completed six races or more, kicking in the discard rule which has caused yet another shuffle in the overall standings. The intensity of the racing at Antigua Sailing Week is confirmed by a single fact; after four days of competition only the Polish R-Six Multihull, skippered by Robert Janecki remains unbeaten out of 150 yachts.
It was all on in CSA 1 in Race 6. Stuart Robinson’s Stay Calm and Peter Harrison’s Farr 115, Sojana were involved in an aggressive start resulting in Stay Calm taking penalty turns and Sojana re-starting correctly having been over the line at the start. Stay Calm took the race win and was only 27 seconds off winning Race 7. Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster fell prey to Jonty Layfield’s Swan 48, Sleeper X in Race 7 by just three seconds, the closest victory of the day. “Sleeper is really quick,” said Applebey. “They have been so all regatta and today we got caught in a bit of traffic which slowed us down,” continued Scarlet Oyster’s Ross Applebey.
In CSA 6, St. Maarten’s Frits Bus and his young crew on Melges 24, Team Island Water World hold a two point advantage over the youth team from the Antiguan National Sailing Academy racing 1720, Spirit skippered by Jules Mitchell. With the discard now counting, Island Water World cannot be defeated regardless of tomorrow’s result.
“I have to hand it to the young Antiguan team as we have had to be at the top of our game to beat them,” commented Frits Bus. “It is absolutely fantastic to see young talent coming through like this and back in St. Maarten, I have donated my old Melges 24 to our young sailors. It would have been great to race the Antiguan youth team in another Melges 24; lets hope we have a lot of them racing in the Caribbean next season.”
The most competitive race of the day was in Bareboat 1. In Race 6, Stanislav Purolnik’s La Bella Vita took the gun just four seconds ahead of Francois Kunz’s Sambamba and five seconds ahead of Alice Martin’s Painkiller 3. With one more race scheduled for tomorrow, winners in several classes are already pretty much decided. However six classes will go to the wire tomorrow.
In CSA 7, Sir Bobby Velasquez’s L’Esperance and Byerley & Ferron’s J/39 Micron 99, Lord Jim, both from St.Maarten, will settle the duel tomorrow.
Cary Lee Byerley, co-skipper of Micron 99 Lord Jim reported: “It was a long sail out to Standfast where Bobby (Velasquez) and Carlo (Falcone) got away from us. We caught back up on the reach and looked like we were back in the game for the first part of the downwind leg, but it was not to be as Bobby got the win and we got second. So now our trusty knights are having to battle it out in the final race. Sir Bobby has 8 points, while Sir Robbie has 9.5. Wish us luck; we need it if we are going to beat Bobby as his boat is very fast.”
In CSA 8, Steve Carson’s Dehler 33, Hightide leads the class by two points from Raymond Magras’ St. Barths team racing Speedy Nemo. Geoffrey Pidduck’s Modified 6 Metre, Biwi Magic is still in with a chance of victory; four points off the lead. In CSA 9 Rodney Dodd’s Jeanneau 54, Blue Fin holds a three point cushion over second place Oyster 49, Porthmeor skippered by Neil Styler. In Bareboat 4, Cannon & Harvey’s KHS&S Contractors leads the class just three points ahead of Martin Sager’s KH+P Cayenne.
In the Club Class, Russ Whitford’s Tumultuous Uproar is leading the class and is just two points ahead of Simon Costain’s Xanadu. LJ Windward persists in third.
After a great day on the water, there was plenty going on for teams once ashore. During a lively daily prizegiving held at the historic Nelson’s Dockyard, a press conference was taking place for visiting international and local media at the beautifully restored 1783 Clarence House, just across the water. Callaloo Cay announced they are donning a prestigious new brand name – the Waldolf Astoria – for their next chapter as a premier luxury destination.
Later in the evening at Clarence House, competitors and some of the legendary Antigua Sailing Week veteran sailors were invited to celebrate the next 50 years of Antigua Sailing Week at a very special function sponsored by Callaloo Cay – The Lord Nelson Cocktail & Party.
Racing at the 50th edition of Antigua Sailing Week concludes tomorrow, Friday May 5 when one final race will reveal the winners in each class.
Full results and further information can be found at: www.sailingweek.com
Image © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com