Thursday, May 5, 2011
(English Harbour, Antigua)- For the last day of sailing, Friday’s 18-knot easterly seemed almost benign compared to the rush of trade winds that have been blasting through Antigua Sailing Week. There was some intense action. The Race Committee set a series of tight coastal courses that had the competitors vying for clear air in the tightly compressed fleet for the last race of Antigua Sailing Week. The days before, it was a full blown easterly with trade winds touching 25 knots that provided for some high speed thrilling action on the pristine blue waters along Antigua’s leeward coastline. Foaming surf with waves breaking over two metres was all about staying under control, especially off Turtle Beach which was prone to gusts approaching 30 knots.
Class 3 produced an intense battle between the top five yachts, with virtually every other race going to the wire. Jim Dobb's "native son" boat, the J/122 LOST HORIZON and the J/120 EL OCASO sailed by Rick Wesslund from Miami, Florida were amongst the contenders. After the first three races, the J/122 LOST HORIZON was in a virtual three-way tie with the regatta leaders with a 2-4-1. But, thereafter, the boys "lost the horizon" and couldn't manage to finish higher than 4ths, 5th to drop to fifth overall at the end. Conversely, Rick's EL OCASO team sailed stronger every race to overcome a slow start and finish third in class.
In Class 6 Peter Bainbridge’s J/122 SKY HUNTER II enjoyed the beat in big seas in the last race far more than their competitors to hang onto the lead for overall honors, taking three firsts in six races! Third was the J/95 SHAMROCK VII sailed by Tom Mullen. And fourth was Peter Lewis' J/105 WHISTLER.
An easy class leader in Class 7 was the J/30 BLUE PETER sailed by Tanner Jones and their local crew from Antigua, having won two of six races. However, a DSQ in race #2 severely hampered their chances to win the overall prize. The final results saw BLUE PETER finish in second just barely over one of their tougher competitors.
This year’s Antigua Sailing Week was blessed with outstanding racing conditions and beautiful weather. The shoreside events and logistics have required the energy and hard work of an army of volunteers led by Alison Sly-Adams and Paddy Prendergast. The outstanding race management team led by Kathy Lammers has been getting rapturous applause from the competitors for its preparation and execution of racing.
After the prize giving ceremony, Laviscount Brass rocked out Antigua Sailing Week. But despite no further racing the fun doesn’t stop Friday night! Saturday is Dockyard Day followed by the Cavalier Rum Street Party and the closing event is on Sunday with the Big Beach Bash at Dickenson Bay. For more Antigua Sailing Week sailing information Sailing photo credits- Tim Wright- photoaction.com