03 May, 2008
The Grand Finale: Panthera, Stay Calm, Yani and True Look Top Roster of Class Winners in Closing Day of Stanford Antigua Sailing Week
Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua (May 2) – After a frustrating day in which light winds and overcast skies plagued the racecourse, order was resumed in the sailing universe today as the international fleet gathered here for the final day of racing at the 41st Stanford Antigua Sailing Week were greeted with ideal Caribbean conditions: steady easterly tradewinds building into the mid-teen range and a clear, blue ceiling above. Not surprisingly, in most of the 17 separate divisions, the top boats coming into the last day of competition found the perfect sailing weather much to their liking, wrapping up the regatta in fine, winning fashion.
Chief among them was Benny Kelly’s TP52, Panthera, which closed out the series in Racing I today with yet another win to seal the overall class victory in the premier Big Boat class. Kelly’s “heroes,” led by former British America’s Cup and Olympic sailor Andy Beadsworth on the helm, have posted an impressive string of results in the Caribbean this spring, having already won the Grand Prix racing division at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta earlier this year.
En route to their strong showing here in Antigua, Panthera vanquished George David’s professionally crewed 90-footer Rambler, which took third today but second in the class overall. Sam Fleet’s Swan 601, Aquarius, a runner-up today, finished third in class in the overall standings, with Mike Slade’s 100-foot ICAP Leopard taking a fourth today and overall.
The Racing I, II and III classes, along with Performance Cruising I and the Multihull Racing fleets, dueled over a looping, 26.6-nautical mile course on the south coast of Antigua today, and clearly it was a route much favored by Stuart Robinson’s Swan 70, Stay Calm. Robinson’s big Swan sailed an exceptional series, easily holding off the advances of another Swan, Clay Deutsch’s 68-foot Chippewa, to win the class by a relatively comfortable 5-point margin.
“We won again today,” said Stay Calm crewman Russell Peters. “The wind was very light to start off with, then kicked in a bit. We did really well off the start line. We got a good lead, kept it and managed to keep our closest rivals, Chippewa, well behind us.”
The margin of victory was much more substantial in Racing III, where Robert Swann’s swift Marten 49, Yani – which seemed to have pace on the entire 13-boat class in heavy and light conditions, upwind and down – scored a second today to win the division by a solid 12-points. The battle for second was much tighter, but it was Richard Matthews’s brand new 42-footer, Oystercatcher XXXVI, that ultimately prevailed in a tight tussle with today’s Racing III winner, Barry Sampson’s Club Swan 42, Long Echo, and Peter Peake’s R/P 44, Storm.
In Performance Cruising I, it was clear early on that the eventual winner would be one of two yachts: the 57-foot S&S-designed Charisma, flying a Spanish flag, and Marco Rodolfi’s Swan 62, Berenice, sailing under an Italian ensign. By virtue of their one-two finish today, Charisma justifiably sealed her victory over Berenice in the 12-boat class.
The Multihull Racing division started out the week as a two-boat competition between two blazing trimarans, the powerful 60-footer Region Guadeloupe, skippered by Claude Thelier, and Franck-Yves Escoff’s quick 50-footer Crepes Whaou. As the event unfolded, however, there was a third tri suddenly in the mix, Calle Hennix’s compact blazer, the SeaCart 30, True Look. It turned out, however, that the week’s champion was decided yesterday in unusual fashion after Region Guadaloupe and Crepes Whaou collided before the start of the day’s second race – ironically, a race that was ultimately abandoned due to dying wind. Neither of the boats made it to the starting line today, leaving Hennix and True Look to their own devices to negotiate the course alone and cruise to victory overall.
The Racing IV, V and VI fleets, along with Performance Cruising II, sailed a slightly shortened Ocean Race today of 22.6 miles, also along the island’s southern shores. In Racing IV, the Anteros 36, Easy, capped off a string of impressive races today to easily earn the class victory. The Henderson 30 bMobile Enzyme, with Paul Solomon skippering, held on to score second overall.
In Racing V and Racing VI, the always-competitive ranks of J/Boats served up a pair of winners. In Racing V, it was James Dobbs’s J/122, Lost Horizon, winning yet again – and finishing off a perfect 6-0 undefeated series – to put the cap on a most memorable Stanford Antigua Sailing Week. In Racing VI, the appropriately named Philippe Champion, sailing his J/120, Paulista, had a rather more difficult path to glory. Paulista, with a second today, and Paul McNamara’s Beneteau First 40.7, Incognito, with a third today (both behind the day’s winner, Calvin Reed’s 40.7 Elandra of Hamble) both finished the series deadlocked atop the standings with 12-points apiece. By virtue of more first-place results, however, Paulista was crowned the victor.
The Gunboat class was wide open coming into the final day, with the Gunboat 62, Lickity Split 2, holding a slim advantage over another 62, Bruce Slayden’s Looking for Elvis. Had Elvis won today – which it did – and John Kwitek’s Lickity finished worse than fourth, Slayden’s big cat would’ve squeaked into the winner’s circle. But Lickity took fourth and barely held on for a one-point win in the class.
In Division B, the remaining Antigua classes took part in the return trip from Jolly Harbour, Thursday evening’s party venue, in the 20.2-nautical mile Jolly to Falmouth Race. When all was said and done, the individual class winners were as follows: Pocket Rocket, David Cullen’s J/109, in Performance Cruising III; Northern Child, Julian Sincock’s Swan 51, in Performance Cruising IV; Olga White’s Murka Dragon and Sasha Eskov’s Half Moon, tied atop the International Dragon class; Blue Whale, Kent Mitchell’s Cape Fear 60, in Cruising I; and We Two Are One, Michel Teerlink’s Crowther cat, in Multihull Cruising.
One of the innovative features of Stanford Antigua Sailing Week is the way class organizers address the Bareboat charter fleets, which this year drew 42 boats in four classes. At the end of Thursday’s racing, the fleet was divided into the 12-boat Bareboat Gold fleet – consisting of the top three placers in each class – with the remaining boats separated into the Bareboat Silver fleet. The winner of Bareboat Gold is thus recognized as the champion of the Bareboat charter competitors.
This year, top honors in Bareboat Gold went to Carsten Jacob’s Sun Odyssey 49, Beluga V, in first; Phil Devereux’s Dufour 44, Just Du 4 It, in second; and Burt Keenan’s Beneteau Oceanis 46, in third. Topping the 30 boats in Bareboat Silver was Jan Soderberg’s Beneteau 445, Chess.
On Saturday, the 41st edition of Stanford Antigua Sailing Week will conclude with a prize-giving and awards ceremony at the Regatta Village at historic Nelson’s Dockyard.
For complete results, photographs and video, on-the-water features and much more, visit the Stanford Antigua Sailing Week website at www.sailingweek.com.
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