CRUNCH TIME: SOJANA AND LOLITA COLLISION HIGHLIGHTS FULL DAY OF ACTION ON DAY 2
28 Apr, 2008
English Harbour, Antigua (April 28) – Racing under clear blue skies and fueled by ideal northeasterly tradewinds coursing across the Caribbean, seventeen classes of race boats took to sea this morning for Day 2 of competition in the 41st running of Stanford Antigua Sailing Week. And while there were multiple surprises across the board in the respective fleets, the main story lines were scripted in the flat-out Division A racing fleets, where a winner was crowned in the two-stage Around the Island Race, and two of the pre-regatta favorites in Racing II and Racing III, respectively, ended the day in a long protest hearing after a messy collision in the early going of today’s action.
When all was said and done, Peter Harrison’s Farr 115, Sojana, competing in Racing II, was disqualified after colliding with Frank Savage’s Racing III entrant, the Swan 56, Lolita. Savage’s 56-footer dropped out shortly thereafter, and at press time, the boat’s status for tomorrow’s racing was unknown.
“We arrived at the little (offset) spreader mark and jibe set at the top mark,” said Sojana skipper Marc Fitzgerald, noting that Lolita had already rounded the mark making Sojana the windward, overtaking boat.
“Lolita went round in front of us and jibe set their kite just before us,” continued Fitzgerald. “They bore off and we went up to clear them but they came up really hard and then wiped out.... We were both on port. It shouldn’t really been a problem but they just lost it and then lost it again. We hit parallel, they came in at a very shallow angle and because we were traveling much quicker they just scraped all the way along the side of our boat and totally wrecked the end of the boom on our mizzenmast. It was really lucky they didn’t take out our rig. Basically I guess their argument will be we were windward boat so should have kept clear. It wasn’t so much we didn’t have an opportunity to keep clear; we just didn’t have a hope in hell.”
Sojana went on to win the race but it turned out to be a hollow victory after their disqualification, which opened the door for the Swan 68, Clay Deutsch’s Chippewa, to move atop the leader board in Racing II for today’s race. By virtue of a first yesterday and a second today, however, the overall class leader is now Stuart Robinson’s Swan 70, Stay Calm.
Meanwhile, in the second, 25.9 nautical-mile leg of the two-part, clockwise Around the Island Race, Mike Slade’s magnificent 100-foot canting keel ICAP Leopard took line honors for the second consecutive day to capture the Yachting World Trophy awarded to the fastest monohull to circle Antigua on elapsed time.
“We had a lovely race after a slight tangle at the start,” said ICAP Leopard navigator Hugh Agnew. “But in fact, it got us out to the right-hand side on the beat…which is exactly where you want to be because you get little right-hand flicks of pressure: the more right you are, the more right you get. We then had a cracking run down (the reach) with the A2 (asymmetric spinnaker). We got a nice jump on (George David’s 90-foot) Rambler – one and a half minutes round the windward mark -- which is well over what we needed on handicap. Then we basically extended on Rambler all the way and beat her by over a minute on handicap. It was our conditions. We need nice long legs to get the boat working.”
However, while ICAP Leopard may have won the boat vs. boat match-up with Rambler, at this stage of the regatta they’ve not yet won the Racing I war. For sitting atop the class after two days of racing is Benny Kelly’s TP52, Panthera, the new division winner after registering the victory in today’s contest.
Racing III is now wide open as both of Day 1’s top boats, Barry Sampson’s Club Swan 42, Long Echo, and Savage’s Lolita, both scored DNFs (did not finish) in Day 2 competition. Today’s Racing III winner was Peter Peake’s R/P 44, Storm, but by virtue of two consecutive third-place results, the overall division leader is Robert Swann’s Marten 49, Yani.
In Racing IV, skipper Paul Solomon’s Henderson 35, BMobile Enzyme, topped the field today but the class leader is the Anteros 36, Easy, after earning its second consecutive second-place finish in as many races. Racing VI remains unchanged from yesterday as Philippe Champion’s J/120, Paulista, and the Beneteau 40.7, Incognito, took first and second for the second consecutive day.
The top boat in Multihull Racing today was the 50-foot Crepes Whaou, while the first Gunboat across the finish line was last year’s winner, Bruce Slayden’s 62-footer, Looking for Elvis.
Other winners today included Marco Rodolfi’s Swan 62, Berenice, in Performance Cruising I; Richard Burbidge’s Swan 43, Pavlova II, in Performance Cruising III; and Hugh Bailey’s Beneteau 456, Hugo B, in Performance Cruising IV. The top International Dragon was Poul Jensen’s Compass Point. There were no changes in Bareboat I, II and III, where yesterday’s winners – David Abromowitz’s 51-foot Beneteau Cyclades, Lubi; Burt Keenan’s 46-foot Beneteau Oceanis, Arcadia’s Southern Comfort; and Sascha Jaeger’s Dufour 46, KH+P Oiseau, respectively – all repeated their winning ways today. Bareboat IV, however, had a new winner, Jamn Soderberg’s Beneteau 445, Chess.
The racing classes will continue to be sorted out tomorrow with two windward/leeward round-the-buoys races scheduled for Division A competitors. The Division B fleet will tackle a winding, 20.5 nautical mile course in Tuesday’s South Coast Race.
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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