Friday, February 26, 2016

J/Sailors Lovin’ Antigua Valentine’s Regatta

Antigua Valentine Regatta (Jolly Harbour, Antigua)- With fun dinghy racing for all the family, three days of competitive round the cans keel boat racing plus a new offshore race, the Jolly Harbour Valentine's Regatta was the place to be in Antigua for President’s Day weekend. The fun continued ashore for everybody, with top live acts and a vibrant party scene supported by Mount Gay Rum and Banks Beer. The Square at West Point Bar had a Happy Hour each evening that got the party started, and then some!  The live music came from top Antiguan bands- Spirited, Sound Citizens and Asha Otto & Itchy Feet.

J/11S sailing Antigua Valentine's RegattaThe only problem, mon, is that people gotta work sometime!  That’s what befell the crew on the new J/11S SLEEPER sailed by Jonty Layfield.  “We have just spent two days doing the regatta, but we could not finish the last day as most of crew are working,” commented Layfield.  “On the first day we had a 4th, 3rd and 2nd.  We had crazy long fetching legs where the 40 footers just sailed away.  The last race we got a 2nd as it was short windward-leeward.  Then on Sunday we got 2 firsts and 2nd, all windward-leewards.  We love the boat, she sailed really well in a wide variety of conditions- lots of control with those two rudders!”

First day report
The first day of racing at the Jolly Harbour Valentine's Regatta was held in one Antigua's most beautiful locations. Five Island Harbour is renowned for its clear turquoise water and stunning coastline with rolling green hills and remote white sandy beaches. The sheltered location, just outside Jolly Harbour, produces flat water conditions but the wind oscillated sporadically during the day, with the wind speed pumping up from 15 to 20 knots. With the wind in the south, the higher hills of the west coast of Antigua produced unstable conditions and when the wind backed to the east, stability returned, as well as the wind speed whipping up to 20 knots. Three races were held for all four classes racing under the Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) rating rule.

J/122 Liquid sailing AntiguaIn the CSAS One class, it was Pamala Baldwin's J/122 LIQUID that scored two bullets and a second to lead after the first day's racing by three points. Jonty Layfield's J/11S SLEEPER was third overall.

“A fabulous day for everyone,” smiled Ms. Baldwin. “I think about the cold weather back home in New York and I just think we are all so lucky to be sailing in such a beautiful location with gorgeous weather. This is the first real regatta of the season for LIQUID, but we have been racing with Jolly Harbour Yacht Club for several months now. The team isn't always the same but we have been spending some time on the water and maybe that showed to day. Winning is always nice, but I just love to go sailing, whether it is cruising or racing. I hope we do well tomorrow, but we will enjoy it all the same.”

The CSA Two class saw some veterans move to the forefront of the fleet.  It was highly competitive racing on the first day and it produced a three-way tie for the lead that include Tanner & Shari Jones' J/30 CARIBBEAN ALLIANCE INSURANCE.

Second day report
It was a very, very blustery day on Jolly Harbour.  The second day of racing was held just outside Jolly Harbour Marina, unsettled weather with numerous squalls provided difficult conditions for race officer, Paul Miller and the competing yachts. With gusts of wind topping out at 25 knots, boat handling was at a premium today and those competitors that stayed under control reaped the rewards. Three races were held for all four classes racing under the Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) rating rule

Antigua J sailorsAt the end of the day, it was Baldwin's J/122 LIQUID that remained at the top of the class but the day's best performer was Jonty & Vicky Layfield's J/11S SLEEPER, taking two wins and a second, lifting the team into second for the regatta.

In CSA Two, three very competitive races resulted in a change of leader for the regatta with Tanner & Shari Jones' J/30 CARIBBEAN ALLIANCE INSURANCE now leading.

Third day report
By the final day of the regatta, it appeared that most of the competitors realized there was not much they were going to change in the standings.  Why? Simply looking at the attendance of the disco/party/reggae marathon the evening before meant that few crews were going to be playing at the top of their game for the last day.  Indeed, that was the case, with Baldwin’s J/122 LIQUID winning CSA One class with Layfield’s J/11S SLEEPER settling for third overall due to his A.W.O.L. crew (from sailing, that is!) having to go back to work and having to score three DNS’s for the day.  In CSA Two, the Tanner’s J/30 CARIBBEAN ALLIANCE INSURANCE just crushed it, scoring triple bullets to beat their fleet by a significant margin!  Thanks for contribution from Louay Habib.   Sailing photo credits-  Tim Wright/
For Jolly Harbour YC Valentine’s Regatta sailing information.