SUE PELLING'S DOCKSIDE STORIES DAY 3
30 Apr, 2008
Sue Pelling's Dockside Stories Day 3
Hi flying with On Deck
On Deck, the British yacht charter company, and the preferred charter partner here at Stanford Antigua Sailing Week, have made it possible to sign up and race a high-performance yacht regardless of experience and ability.
Over the past couple of years On Deck have really expanded their operations with event charter as well as individual charter and now have a wide range of top performance racing yachts on their books including the likes of the VO60 Pindar Alphagraphics (racing in Racing 1 class with ICAP Leopard, Rambler and Panthera), Beneteau 40.7s, Farr 65s and, over the last year, have introduced Farr 40s which are popular in the US and the Caribbean. There are a total of seven yachts racing here this week and according to Simon Hedley – On Deck’s Business Development Manager – 70 per cent of those who sail with On Deck have never sailed before.
Chatting about the operations and the introduction of the Pindar, Hedley, commented: “Basically we’ve done a package for this event which includes the racing on the boat (ex flights, transfers and accommodation) but include all the mooring fees, fuel and hospitality throughout the week. For £1,750 for the week you literally just turn up and get on board regardless of experience and ability. The skippers and crew on the Farr 65s can virtually get a novice crew racing the boat within a matter of hours.
“The Pindar connection is a strategic partnership. I think the last season that Pindar were chartering they realised they need better route to market that we have and the internal events team. The VO60 previously Team News Corp, now Pindar Alphagraphics extends our offering. We can now put world-class sailors on the boat including Brian Thompson and Ian Williams onboard. This week we have very experienced Ollie Smith skippering the boat. We opened the boat up so individuals can race on her which is something that has been quite special. We have some very, very keen sailors experiencing the high end of racing.
Northern Child – Stanford Antigua Sailing Week ‘old timer’
Julian Sincock from the UK is one of the event’s biggest fans. He first started racing here at Stanford Antigua Sailing Week 12 years ago but for the last eight consecutive years he’s been bringing his boat, a classic 1984-built Swan 51, Northern Child with a crew of charter guests. He says he brings 12 or 13 people into Antigua all of whom spend a couple of thousand pounds a week, so he believes that it’s worth something to Antigua Sailing Week that he keeps coming back.
Sincock who always sails the boat across on the ARC runs a charter business with his wife who manages the office back home. They base the boat in the French island of St Martin during the winter and compete in the Heineken Regatta before heading to Antigua. After this regatta she’ll head back to the UK.
Sailing this week in the Performance Cruiser V class, the team are enjoying the highly competitive racing in the 18-strong fleet. Interestingly Sincock and the chef are the only core crew, and some of the team are total novices. Sincock commented: “To be honest we couldn’t do without them and to be fair some of the novices are the best on the boat sometimes an 18 year old will listen and apply much better than someone who’s 40 and thinks they know everything. Half, a dozen crew on here are repeat clients the rest are new. The are all individuals onboard this time but sometimes we take a whole corporate crew.”
Commenting on today’s racing Sincock concluded: “It’s been a fabulous day – cracking winds and beautiful sailing. We have a good competitive fleet, probably eight or 10 in our class capable of winning like Legacy and Hugo who have a fantastic rating on the boat, they are cleaning up. We had a second and a fifth today so I imagine we’d be around third.”
Watch out… Girls for Sail crack open the Champagne
Annie O’Sullivan and her team aboard the Sunfast 37 Girls for Sail may have started the week fairly low key on the social front but something tells us, judging by the popping of Champagne corks after today’s race, there about to start living up to their lively reputation.
Sullivan who set up the Girl’s for Sail business nine year’s ago has been overwhelmed by the popularity of this girls only race charter idea, with client seeing it as the perfect way to learn to sail in a relaxed environment. Apparently 60-70 per cent of the women who sign up with Girls for Sail are single, the rest have partners but join up knowing they won’t be shouted at while they’re learning!
O’Sullivan chatting about the girls, said: “I’ve never sailed with any of the girls apart from one before. I skipper the boat and as you can imagine it’s quite hard work mentally, but certainly not stressful. The most experienced person we have is a Day Skipper so you do have to make sure everyone is safe. That’s the reason we don’t win.”
The objective says O’Sullivan to bring crews together and give them lots of confidence and of course, lots of fun.
Commenting on the girl’s social activity so far this week O’Sullivan added: “We’ve all been so tired we haven’t really been partying yet. I got home early evening last night and they were all in bed. Think that might change tonight though because it’s lay day tomorrow.”
As far as the racing goes they are hanging in with some respectable middle of fleet results although apparently today was their worst so far. “We had a good breeze about 17kts and had a great start. We were right on the line but so was everybody else and we didn’t do so well finishing 14th out of 21.”
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