38TH ANTIGUA SAILING WEEK WRAP UP REPORT
24 May, 2005
"This year's Sailing Week may not have been one of the most spectacular
but it was certainly memorable," added vice-chairman Jan Santos. "We're
used to perfect conditions here but managed to get as much racing as we
could under the circumstances. It was still a good year and we're
looking forward to welcoming everybody back next year including all the
big boats that are undertaking other endeavours this year."
Titan XII, Tom Hill's Reichel/Pugh 75 from Puerto Rico and always the
favourite this year, won Big Boat Racing II with four points, the Lord
Nelson's Trophy for fleet overall by four points and set the inaugural
Round Island Race record with an elapsed time of 5 hours, 4 minutes and
45 seconds to win the Yachting World trophy. Titan also won Best
Caribbean Yacht (Division A), Best Yacht Over 60 Feet and Racing Class,
Caribbean Big Boat Series. The much-anticipated participation of the
'fresh out of the box' New Zealand supermaxi Maximus was foiled by
engine problems with the transport ship and she arrived in Antigua as
Sailing Week finished on Sunday morning.
"It wasn't the windiest day ever but it was a good trade wind day and
there weren't any holes," said Titan's tactician Peter Isler on how
long he thought the Round Island Race record would hold. "The key is
keeping the marks in the same place. That [racing against the clock]
has been the constant challenge for us throughout the Caribbean
series," continued Isler, "except for St Maarten where we had Carrera
to play with. The clock has always been foremost in our minds
especially in Tortola where we were always within a minute on corrected
time. We knew we had to keep the pedal down and that's the way we have
been sailing all week. We didn't leave much on the table."
After her fifth place on the penultimate day of racing, Equation
managed to take Sir Peter Ogden's Swan 601 Spirit Of Jethou to a
tiebreak with a second place finish on Friday, the final day of racing.
Bill Alcott and his Equation came out better to take second in class
with Ogden taking the third place spot.
Les Crouch's R/P 44 Storm with the boat's builder Paul Amon at the helm
also beat Edgar Cato's Hissar on a tie-break in Racing II - both had
seven points each. Filip Balcaen's Swan 56 Aqua Equinox was third.
However Cato took home the coveted Asprey trophy for winning the
NetJets Swan Caribbean Challenge after a demanding week of racing
against 22 other Swans.
Enzyme, the Trinidadian Henderson 35 comprised of old Legacy crew, paid
Dougie Myers, their skipper who passed away last year, the respects
they had hoped by winning Racing IV, the "Caribbean class". Antiguan
Lost Horizon II was second having suffered a disqualification the
previous day. EIB-Marina Bas du Fort, the Beneteau First 10 from
Guadeloupe, was third. Russian Swan 48 Murka topped Racer/Cruiser III.
Tarka, the Cork and Cowes Week class winner, can now add Antigua
Sailing Week to the list. The UK-based First 40.7 bested fourteen other
boats including five other First 40.7s in Racer/Cruiser II and took the
Sanhall Trademarks Trophy for best overall racer/cruiser. Having
cruised and raced the Caribbean since crossing the Atlantic with the
ARC, Antigua Sailing Week was the prize. Nick Jones, owner and bowman
for the week said: "This [Antigua Sailing Week] was always the big one
and this was the one that we went ball's out for to try and get all the
boys out from home and do well. It's always nice to finish up a regatta
with four points from four races even beating the mighty Titan which I
think had six [in fleet] in the end."
Next 57 Genesis - full of Maximus crew, including co-owners Charles St
Clair Brown and Bill Buckley, left high and dry by the 100-foot
supermaxi's no-show - took the class win in Performance Cruiser I and
Danilo Salsi's Swan 75 Dasian, was second. Swan 46 Milanto was third.
Dasian, on her first regatta outing since her launch last year and
loaded with Italian talent including America's Cup veteran Lorenzo
Bortolotti as tactician, round the world sailor and Star Olympian,
Pietro D'Ali, as mainsail trimmer, and Gigio Russo of North Sails Italy
as headsail trimmer, saw her class lead in Performance Cruiser I
disappear before her eyes on the last day of racing. Some of the larger
faster boats, including Dasian and YDL 96 Symmetry, suffered from the
shifting winds on the Division B course when the beat back to the
finish turned to a fetch for the boats at the back of the fleet. Swan
651 Burggolf took the day and Dasian was relegated to tenth place,
Warren Batt's Australian Farr 46 Mustang Sally took home two trophies
for winning Cruising Class I and the overall prize for Cruising.
In a hard-fought week, Beneteau 44 Seabiscuit with an all-woman crew,
took the overall Bareboat fleet prize and Bareboat V. "It has been a
hard week all week long," said skipper Pat Nolan. "We concentrated
really hard. We paid a lot of attention to our navigation, we worked
very well together as a team and we kept our eye on our competitors the
whole time to try and stay between them and the mark. We just tried to
sail as fast as possible and as smart as possible – at the same time!"
The third annual Bareboat Championship Race (BCR) for the top three in
each of the six bareboat classes was held on Saturday and saw Hans
Petersohn and his crew onboard the Sun Fast 37 Ora emerge victorious in
the three-hour race. With Seabiscuit having already won Bareboat V and
the overall fleet prize, Petersohn managed to block Seabiscuit's hat
trick with a BCR victory; Ora was second to Seabiscuit in Bareboat V.
For the first day of racing the fleet made its way to Dickenson Bay and
the bad weather that sliced through the fleet as they prepared for the
regatta the day before, held off. A dark sky welcomed participants but
14 knots of wind, with some 18-20 knot gusts, drove the fleet North and
sunshine was eventually the staple for most of the day. The fleet
started off English Harbour and after a short beat East, headed West
and then North with those that could, carrying spinnakers for much of
the way. Division B boats were given a little dog leg into Curtain
Bluff and Division A was sent further out to sea.
Surprising few, Titan XII romped home first taking the day on elapsed
and corrected time in Big Boat II. She beat Mari-Cha's time last year
by 12 minutes with an elapsed time of 2 hours and 21 minutes. Showing
good form, Bill Alcott's Andrews 68 Equation was second. Storm topped
Racing III. Antigua's Jamie Dobbs and his Lost Horizon crew on their
Olson 30 – the smallest boat in their class - surfed their way to a win
in Racing IV.
In Division B, Dasian got elapsed and corrected time in Performance Cruiser I. Next 57 Genesis was second.
As the fleet anchored in Dickenson Bay the Virgin Atlantic Beach Bash
kicked off with a water ski demonstration by the Stars of Florida water
ski team accompanied by the pumped up and pumped out James Bond theme
on the beach side sound system. Virgin Atlantic's Sir Richard Branson
made a guest appearance in the Bath Tub Derby but didn't rank in the
final three – throwing his crew overboard and jumping ship himself may
have had something to do with that. After the Derby prize giving, which
saw some leg wrestling for additional tickets on Virgin Atlantic, Abba
One closed the proceedings for the afternoon by opening their set with
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!
The weathermen struck for the second day as the light wind that was
forecast settled on the fleet. Unseasonably light wind postponed the
races for Division A and B fleets for an hour and while it eventually
filled in enough to start races, it never really held.
On the Division A course - further out to sea than Division B - the
wind was in the region of 8 knots and 220 degrees. By the time the
start sequence had completed the wind had dropped to four knots. When
the racing was finally abandoned for the day, the wind was down to two
knots and had shifted to 340 degrees – it reached all other directions
in between. Titan XII was 300 yards from the finish when the first race
was abandoned due to the wind shifts. Yachts heading to, and from, the
leeward mark with their spinnakers up was the clincher for the race
Further inshore, Division B sat in rain, which took the wind with it.
The rain held off until the fleet had rounded the marks off Blue Waters
on the northwest tip of Antigua. After an unusual spinnaker run to
these marks, the fleet was heading back on an equally unusual beat when
the heavens opened and the wind disappeared. The fleet sat bedraggled
looking for wind, facing each and every direction. This same
rainsquall, which had headed up along Antigua's coast from the south,
hit the committee boat on Division A from the north. The yachts in
Division B slowly escaped the wind vacuum and the race committee
shortened the course.
Although it looked like a lottery on the water, a number of class
winners from the previous day's racing also won in these trying
conditions including Dasian, Mustang Sally, Nanuk, Justice, Seabiscuit
and Durley Dene. Those that headed inshore got the wind when it
returned first. "We just kept trickling along. A lot of the others just
parked up," said Ollie Alsop, crew member on Durely Dene.
Another boat to head inshore was Dufour 47, SAP Lycee Blanchet. This
yacht, crewed by students from Guadeloupe that had never flown a
spinnaker before this event and skippered by their teacher, racked up a
"The rain and wind went left and right and we played good," said
skipper Frederic Fernandez. "After the rain came, everyone took their
spinnakers down but we kept ours for three or four minutes more. During
the rain we stayed in the right direction for the next buoy and we had
a little wind, but enough, to go on. After we go to the left, inshore,
we kept the wind and doubled [the distance] on all boats. We stayed in
the wind but we were a little bit lucky."
None of the old-hands that have run Antigua Sailing Week were able to
recall a similar race day for the event. "Late-80s or early-90s" was as
close as it got. The race committee cancelled the inaugural Round
Island Race due to take place the next day and the yachts in Big Boat
Racing II and Racing 3 joined the rest of the Division A fleet on the
South Coast Race.
The wind returned for the third day of racing and although not as
strong as some Sailing Week days, the 12-20 knots that greeted the
Division A racing boats was a pleasant surprise as they raced on the
South Coast Race between Curtain Bluff and Shirley Heights. The
Division B Falmouth Harbour Race started with lighter winds off Jolly
Harbour. The course started with a short beat, which was followed by
some deep downwind sailing, a reach and then a good solid beat in a
freshening breeze with twenty-knot gusts to the finish off Falmouth
In Division A, as it was for Division B towards the end, sailing the
shifts - of up to 30 degrees - was the order of the day. As the fleet
headed upwind "good size puffs" came off the island to the left and
while following them was the thing to do, the key was to not get too
close to the cliffs and get becalmed below Shirley Heights. Downwind
these same puffs held further offshore and so the winning boats stayed
further out where there was also a little more current to carry them
back to the leeward mark.
Both divisions converged towards the end of racing at the Legacy mark
off Curtain Bluff, the last windward mark for Division B, and the
leeward mark for Division B.
Titan XII racked up another win to go into LayDay leading class and
fleet with two points in each. Edgar Cato's Swan 56 Hissar won Racing
III and shared class lead with Swan 56 Aqua Equinox and Trinidad's R/P
44 Storm, each with six points
"We got a good start and got out in the fresh air before the other
boats did and then we had really good speed and legged out from the
other boats" said Hissar's tactician Jack Slattery. "Once we got about
50 yards out we stretched from there and stretched all day."
Disco Inferno II, the UK-based First 47.7, racked up her first win in
Racer/Cruiser I and Tarka won racer/Cruiser II to solidify her class
In Performance/Cruiser I, Abbott Brown's 96-foot Symmetry finally got
the better of the Italian Swan 75 Dasian. So did Genesis, Capercaillie
and Burggolf. Dasian found herself fifth but remained top of the class
with Symmetry only one point behind.
In the Bareboat classes, some yachts had started to entrench their
positions: Patrick Festing-Smith's Nanuk Of The North racked up a third
win and was leading Bareboat II by three points. Justice also racked up
her third win to lead Bareboat IV by seven points as did Durley Dene in
Racing returned on Thursday after the Layday high jinks which included
beach antics on Pigeon Beach and hockey Canadian-style on the Falmouth
Harbour basketball court. The fleet was greeted by 14 knots on the
start line and twelve boats in Racing Big Boat II and Racing III
undertook the 44-mile challenge of the inaugural Round Island Race for
the Yachting World Trophy which was re-instated after its cancellation
From Titan's race-winning perspective, the weather was good for the
entire way around the island: 14-18 knots as they beat up the south
coast, 15-20 knots along the east side of the island on a jib reach
that opened to a spinnaker reach and then a spinnaker run in 16 knots
along the north side. By the time Titan had turned the corner at
'Sandy' on the north west side of the island, Titan hadn't seen the
wind fade at all. A five-minute wind hiccup to 10 knots after 'Sandy'
quickly built back up to 14-18 knots for the beat around the bottom of
the island back to the finish.
In Racing III, Michael Finn's J/160 Kativa from the USA obviously
revelled in the round island conditions and got her first gun with
Hissar second and Storm third.
The rest of Division A sailed a South Coast Race looping between buoys off Falmouth Harbour and Curtain Bluff.
Racing IV saw some upset for the Antiguan boats. Jamie Dobbs' Lost
Horizon II was disqualified for missing a mark which sent them to
fourth in class. After a dismasting on Tuesday, Geoffrey Pidduck's
Mermaid II did not return to the start line and neither did Caccia Alla
Volpe after a disqualification on Tuesday. Trinidadian Henderson 35
Enzyme won to go into the last day leading the class by one point.
Mikhail Mouratov's Murka turned the table on First 47.7 Disco Inferno II to take the lead in Racer/Cruiser I by three points.
Division B beat to 'Standfast' out to sea and headed back inshore on a
spinnaker reach to 'Willoughby', followed by another beat to 'Halfmoon'
and a long downwind leg back to the finish off Falmouth Harbour. By
Willoughby, the wind and seas had started to die a little and as the
afternoon wore on the wind was down to 9 knots with puffs taking it to
The Italians onboard the 75-foot Swan Dasian, powered away from a good
start and held off the YDL 96 Symmetry until the last windward mark but
Dasian was faster downwind and beat the higher-rated Symmetry over the
water to earn another first place.
In the bareboat classes, Nanuk and Durley Dene of Horizon Yacht
Charters, together with Justice, topped Bareboats II, VI and IV
respectively for the fourth time. The battle was on for the fleet prize
with one race to go. Justice was leading Seabiscuit by one point, with
Durley Dene five points behind her. Last year's clean sweep winners in
class, fleet and the BCR, Phil Otis and crew, were third in class and
tenth in fleet. Jan Soderberg was tied for first place in Bareboat III
with fellow Swede Pereric Berggren with nine points each. Both were
sailing Dufour 50s.
The light winds that had been threatening to return to Antigua Sailing
Week did so for the last day of racing. Both divisions raced off the
south coast of Antigua but Division A, on the eastern side of the
island with a course that took them further out to sea, had a little
more wind. By the afternoon, fifty-foot bareboats were traveling
downwind at 2.5 knots. Although light, the wind did hold to give a
final tally of four races for Division A and five for Division B.
The Lord Nelson's Ball held at the Copper & Lumber Store marked the
end of the 38th annual Antigua Sailing Week. Rain brought an abrupt
finish to the prize giving but filled the dance floor early. Stragglers
were still heading home as Maximus' transport ship docked in Antigua
the early hours of Sunday morning.
Dates for Antigua Sailing Week 2006 are April 30 to May 6.
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