By Louay Habib
ST JOHN’S, Antigua — The third day of racing at the 50th edition of Antigua Sailing Week was once again blessed with glorious conditions. Squally pewter skies cleared shortly after the first warning gun and the breeze slowly woke up as the skies cleared, touching 17 knots at times. Ten teams went out to the race course unbeaten, but only three returned with their perfect score intact after some intense racing; hotter than jerk chicken!
The big boat CSA classes were treated to long windward leeward courses off the spectacular cliffs on the south coast of Antigua. The bareboats and smaller CSA classes raced in more sheltered conditions off Rendezvous Beach with short sharp legs testing boat handling skills and boat-on-boat tactics. Two races were held for the majority of the 150 yachts racing at Antigua Sailing Week.
Sergio Sagramoso’s Puerto Rican Melges 32, Lazy Dog © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com
A shuffle in the results on Tuesday meant that the leaders have changed in several classes, but not amongst the undefeated teams: Peter Harrison’s Sojana in CSA1, Ross Applebey’s Scarlet Oyster in CSA 5 and Robert Szustkowski R-Six in Offshore Multihull. Race winners today included Kialoa III; Conviction; Rebel-B, Dingo; Perseverare Diabolicum; Spirit (Antigua National Sailing Academy); L’Esperance and Hightide.
The closest race on Tuesday was Race 4 in CSA 4. Mark Chapman’s Trini Ker 11.3, Dingo was the winner by just 5 seconds from Ian Hope-Ross’ St Maarten team racing Melges 32, Kick ’em Jenny 2. Dingo now leads the class with Douglas Ayres’ American J/122, Team Skylark/El Ocaso in second, just a point ahead of Sergio Sagramoso’s Puerto Rican Melges 32, Lazy Dog.
A close win in CSA 4 for Mark Chapman’s Trini Ker 11.3, Dingo © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com
“We got holed on the first day and the whole team stayed up on the first night to get us back in the game,” said Dingo’s Mark Chapman. “Today we really clicked together and we had great boat speed which is a real weapon in a close class. After the terrible first day we are just delighted, but this regatta is far from over.”
In CSA 7, Sir Bobby Velasquez’s St Maarten team racing First 45, L’Esperance had a perfect day on the water scoring straight bullets to lead the class after five races; just half a point ahead of their long-time rivals, also from St Maarten; Byerley & Ferron’s J/39, Micron 99 Lord Jim.
“We had a problem with our propeller folding on the first day and we went round the wrong mark on the second day, so we didn’t have the best of starts to the regatta,” explained Sir Bobby Velasquez. “The racing today could not have gone better as we made some good decisions that worked out well. However, the regatta is only half over.”
CSA 1 fleet to windward of Willoughby Bay © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com
In CSA 8, the class lead has changed hands every day. Steve Carson’s Dehler 33, Hightide is the latest yacht to wear the bullseye, posting two wins today to open up a five point lead at the top of the class from Geoffrey Pidduck’s Modified 6 Metre, Biwi Magic and Tanner Jones’ J/30, Caribbean Alliance Insurance.
“Four of the boats in the class race together in Antigua on a regular basis, so it is no surprise to me that we are so closely matched and we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Today it was our turn to get the upper hand, but it is never over until the fat lady sings,” says Carson.
Wednesday is President Lay Day Beach Party featuring the Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge. Eight teams will race for the top prize of a week’s all-inclusive accommodation for two people in a deluxe suite at the fantastic Nonsuch Bay Resort.