COUNTDOWN TO COMPETITION:
15 Apr, 2009
Strong, Diverse Fleet Descends On Island For 42nd Annual Running Of Antigua Sailing Week
Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua – With a ground-breaking format and schedule, a brand-new race-management team, and a strong, diverse fleet ranging from the one-design Dragons to state-of-the-art Grand Prix racers, the 42nd consecutive edition of Antigua Sailing Week is shaping up as yet another memorable series. And with the competition scheduled to begin just days from now, on Saturday, April 25th, the event’s organizers are now bracing for the influx of old friends and fresh faces to the windswept Antiguan waters.
The format and the race committee may be new—as are many of the entrants making their debut at Antigua Sailing Week—but there are also many familiar boats and sailors descending on the dramatic and picturesque Caribbean isle. Among them are Mike Slade’s remarkable 100-foot canting-keel maxi, ICAP Leopard; the Grand Soleil 50, Mad IV; and the Rogers 46, Yeoman XXXII. The TP 52, Rio and the renamed Ireland-flagged Cookson 50, Lee Overlay Partners which raced in Antigua two years ago as Chieftain, will test all of them.
Those arriving from distant waters will need to watch out for a host of local boats and sailors, including Jamie Dobbs and his talented crew aboard the J/122, Lost Horizons, which recently earned the title for Most Worthy Performance Overall at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Another J/Boat that’s no stranger to the winner’s circle is Rick Wesslund’s J/100, El Ocaso.
As always, the Swan class will also be well represented at Antigua Sailing Week. Among the long list of Swans that will set sail for the event are the Swan 651, Seaside; the Swan 53, Dragon Fly Plus; the Swan 51s Star Chaser and Northern Child; the Swan 44, Crescendo; the Swan 43, Pavlova II; and the Club Swan 42s, Long Echo and Interlodge.
All the boats entered in the 2009 edition of Antigua Sailing Week will enjoy a new format for the event beginning with an opening contest for the racing fleets on April 25th. Along with the prologue Guadeloupe to Antigua Race on April 24th, the reinstated, traditional Round the Island Race for the Yachting World Trophy—once again a one-day affair, instead of a two-part cumulative race—and the Corum Round Redonda Island Race, will be scored as a separate competition, the new Antigua Ocean Series.
Meanwhile, the formidable bareboat charter fleets will begin their regatta on April 26th and carry on through the week with their series wrapping up on Friday, May 1st. As with the 2008 event, the top three boats in the respective bareboat divisions will once again be separated into a Bareboat Gold fleet for a Grand Finale on the last day of racing, with the winner recognized as the Overall Champion in the bareboat fleets.
Finally, for 2009, race organizers have enlisted the services of the UK-based race management team GWM Racing Ltd. The move was made with the intention to ratchet up the level of organization and competition. Altogether, it’s all part of the ongoing evolution of Antigua Sailing Week, one of the longest running and highly anticipated annual regattas on the international yacht-racing calendar.
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